Company officials at To-Jo Mushrooms recently declared their partnership with Southwest Minnesota State University’s culinology department a success.

To-Jo Mushrooms, student chefs promote ‘blendability’The Avondale, Pa.-based mushroom company provided all the raw materials for aspiring chefs in the culinary program to use during their food product development course work during the 2013 fall semester, according to a news release.

The students used To-Jo mushrooms to develop “mushroom blended recipes” for the 2014 Research Chefs Association annual student competition in Portland, Ore. “Mushroom blendability” is a concept that replaces a portion of protein with chopped mushrooms in familiar recipes to provide lower-calorie dishes, according to the release.

To-Jo president Anthony D’Amico said in the release that such collaborations are beneficial to all involved.

“It exposes the next generation of food technologists to the health benefits and functionality of mushrooms while giving consumers an opportunity to experience healthy alternatives to iconic menu items,” D’Amico said in the release.

“Mushrooms are one of the most versatile items in the produce aisle and can be used seamlessly in blended recipes with a variety of proteins.”

The culinary students used To-Jo’s line of value-added white and baby bella mushrooms. One of their recipes, which included a mushroom infused formulation, made it to the finals of the competition, according to the release.