Local venison wins top US burger prize

A burger featuring Alliance Group venison and created by American celebrity chef Elizabeth Falkner has won a top award at an international chefs’ convention. The ‘Last Year at Marienbad’ burger won the Blended Burger Battle title at the 13thannual StarChefs International Chefs Congress, held in New York.

Shane Kingston, general manager sales at Alliance, said the inclusion of Alliance venison in the burger highlighted the co-operative’s focus on developing differentiated high-quality products.

“World-class produce starts from the farm and Alliance is taking New Zealand’s best farmers’ produce to leading chefs and restauranteurs in global markets such as the US. Meeting the needs and expectations of this sector means understanding the end customer, chefs and the entire service chain along the way.”

There is growing interest in New Zealand venison from the US foodservice sector, he said.

“While the traditional European game season remains an important market for Alliance, we are also investing in the food service sectors in our key markets. Our goal is to increase out of season chilled consumption while at the same time continue to grow sales of our seasonal chilled venison. To have a leading chef select Alliance’s venison for her award-winning burger is a strong indication of the market’s recognition of its quality.”

Blended burgers are a major culinary trend in the US. Entries had to include at least 25 per cent mushrooms and the winner featured Alliance venison blended with ground oyster, crimini and shiitake mushrooms. It was served with microgreens, a cucumber-wasabi raita and Bourbon-habanero hoisin sauce, in freshly-baked focaccia.