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Vegan 'meat,' dueling champions flavor 2020 Taste of Education event

When it comes to cooking ingredients, there’s nothing new under the sun – unless they’re newfangled manufactured products like the vegetable-based Beyond Meat, Impossible Burger and Beefless.

Those novel foodstuffs and more “plant-forward foods” will be the focus of creativity and competition at the annual Taste of Education fundraiser from 6 to 9 p.m. March 10 at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens (6461 Transit Road, Depew).

Titled “Planted Proteins: A celebration of plant-forward foods,” the 16th annual effort of the Western New York Chapter of the New York Restaurant Association raises money to support local high school level culinary students in national competitions.

Three high school culinary programs will offer buffets prepared by their students. Here’s a few samples to give you a taste of their offerings:

From the Orleans Career and Tech Center, Medina: smoked carrots with lemon tahini yogurt, rye berry salad with roasted red pepper dressing, and s'mores made with vegan aquafaba marshmallows.

From the Niagara Career and Technical Education Center, Sanborn: taco bar with seasoned “beef,” polenta with mushroom sauce, “beef” and broccoli with rice and spinach feta phyllo bites.

From Carrier Educational Center, Angola: Beefless tips lo mein, beefless cheeseburger salad, Beyond Brats salad and chocolate panna cotta with orange sauce.

The event’s "Iron Chef"-style culinary competition offers a blast from the past this year, as the competing chefs will be program alumni who won past competitions. Alex Dispence, Darian Bryan, and Arthur Pepe will be going head to head, leading teams of three student assistants apiece.

Tickets are $25.

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