A prominent chef in Australia is urging his fellow citizens to become “blenditarians,” limiting their meat consumption while increasing their mushroom consumption. The announcement is part of the Australian Mushroom Growers Association’s (AMGA) recent “Mushrooms + Mince = The Blend” consumer campaign, which features television chef Adrian Richardson endorsing fungal cooking. Mr Richardson’s career has centred on red meat, and he rose to stardom as the star of TV programmes such as Good Chef, Bad Chef, Secret Meat Business, and Boys Weekend.
He’s also the creator of MEAT and the proprietor of Melbourne’s La Luna Restaurant, which is known for its hearty meat dishes. The campaign urges all Australians to create healthier, more plant-based meals at home, coining the term “Blenditarian,” which combines mushrooms and minced meat. The Australian Meat and Grocery Association (AMGA) have created a new website (www.blenditarian.com.au) with recipes, cooking videos, and Mr Richardson’s Blended Recipe eBook. However, before pro-meat organisations start writing venomous letters, Mr Richardson clarified that the issue wasn’t about telling people they couldn’t eat meat.
“I’ve been combining mushrooms with mince for years, not only because it’s healthier, but because it helps burgers and meatballs taste meatier and juicier,” says the author. According to Meat and Livestock Australia, the average Australian consumes 25kg of beef per year, with 30% of it minced. However, according to Food Frontier, the number of Australian meat-reducers or “flexitarians” has risen dramatically in recent years, with one in every three Australians (32%) now actively attempting to reduce their meat consumption, with health as the primary incentive.
Seniors are leading the way, with 43pc of meat-reducers being baby boomers. Dietitian Jane Freeman (APD) said the rise of alternate eating patterns opened an opportunity for mushrooms to be blended in minced meat recipes, to help Aussies reach their flexitarian health goals. “By substituting a portion of mince for mushrooms, the nutritional value of meals is instantly boosted, along with a reduction of fat and sodium,” Ms Freeman said. Mushrooms also have a unique advantage due to their umami flavour (which is the same flavour profile of meat); by adding mushrooms to minced meat dishes, the ‘meaty’ flavour is proven to be enhanced, and less salt is needed – this a benefit no other vegetable can claim.