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Fascinating facts about the invention
of the
Gardenburger by Paul Wenner in 1985.
GardenChef Paul Wenner™ created the Gardenburger® Original veggie patty in 1981 at his vegetarian restaurant, The Gardenhouse, in Gresham, Ore. Impressed by the overwhelming customer demand for his creation, Wenner began to offer it to other establishments. Eventually, he closed the restaurant and in 1985 founded Gardenburger, Inc., formerly Wholesome & Hearty Foods, Inc.
The company went public in 1992, and in 1993 it became the fastest growing publicly traded company in America. In 1997, the company's products became available in retail nationwide. The company reached record sales of $100.1 million during 1998.Gardenburger® brand veggie patties are distributed to more than 35,000 food-service outlets throughout the United States, Canada and abroad. Retail customers include more than 25,000 grocery, natural-food and club stores nationwide.


History of Snacks and Food    from The Great Idea Finder

Diet for a Small Planet (20th Anniversary Edition)
by Frances Moore Lappe
/ Paperback: Ballantine Books; Revised  & Updated edition (1992)

Twenty years ago and three million copies later, the extraordinary book that taught America the social and personal significance of a new way of eating is still a complete guide for eating well in the '90s. This 20th anniverary edition offers an all-new, even more fascinating philosophy on changing ourselves--and our world--by changing the way we eat.
Garden Cuisine: Heal Yourself Through Low-Fat Meatless Eating
by Paul Wenner / Paperback - 368 pages / Fireside - 1998
Paul Wenner created the Gardenburger, a mushroom-based veggie burger sold in food stores and restaurants all over the U.S. He is also a messianic advocate for eating a vegetarian diet and a businessman who believes "a dream too big is just the right size."
Lorna Sass' Short-Cut Vegetarian: Great Taste in No Time
by Lorna J. Sass / Paperback - 176 pages / William Morrow & Co Paper - 1997
In addition to the recipes, Sass names specific products useful for making speedy, tasty meals and recommends ingredients to keep in the pantry and freezer so there's always something to work with in the house. To prove that quick, good eating doesn't depend on recipes alone, Sass offers time-saving principles: adapt them and you'll quickly move from needing recipes to easily creating your own.
The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World
by John Robbins, Dean Ornish MD / Paperback: 340 pages Conari Press; (July 11, 2001)
Robbins, heir to the Baskin-Robbins ice-cream empire (he rejected it to live according to his values), takes on fad diets, the meat industry, food irradiation, hormone and antibiotic use in animals, cruel animal husbandry practices, the economics of meat consumption, biotechnology and the prevalence of salmonella and E. Coli.

The official site of Gardenburger, Inc., formerly Wholesome & Hearty Foods, Inc..

Paul Wenner Biography
Paul Wenner is the inventor of the Gardenburger veggie patty and the founder of Gardenburger, Inc., which produces the world's most popular low-fat and no-fat meatless patties.
Invention Dimension - Inventor of the Week
Celebrates inventor/innovator role models through outreach activities and annual awards to inspire a new generation of American scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs.

Food For Thought
How persistence and passion turned a new idea into a multimillion-dollar business. From Entrepreneur magazine - March 1997 by Paul Wenner/

Gardenburger founder Paul Wenner has been at the forefront of nutrition and healthy living since the mid 1960s. After 14 years teaching college cooking classes and presenting seminars on healthy eating, he opened The Gardenhouse, a vegetarian restaurant in Gresham, Oregon in 1980. One of the most popular items on The Gardenhouse menu was The Gardenburger® veggie patty, a moist and savory meatless burger made with whole grains and vegetables. Wenner began to offer the The Gardenburger® veggie patty to other eating establishments with great success. In 1985, he sold the restaurant and founded Gardenburger, Inc., dedicated to the healthy food product business.


  • Gardenburgers are now available in 14 countries in more than 35,000 food-service outlets around the world.
  • Today, the company says over 400 million Gardenburgers have been sold.


Reference Sources in BOLD Type This page revised March, 2005.

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