In honor of Earth Day 2021, Impossible Foods teamed up with the Careers through Culinary Arts Program(opens in a new tab) (C-CAP) to launch a first-of-its-kind recipe contest: The Plate to Planet Challenge. C-CAP is a workforce development nonprofit that provides underserved teens a pathway to success through jobs in the food sector. Annually, C-CAP provides culinary, job and life skills to over 15,000 middle-and-high school students across the United States to help further food and social justice, as well as equity and inclusion.
This year’s inaugural cooking competition, hosted by C-CAP, was dedicated to saving the planet – through recipe submissions made for meat lovers. The Plate to Planet Challenge was open to high school students in the greater Los Angeles area and throughout the state of Arizona – who were challenged to submit original Impossible™ Burger recipes that draw flavors, ingredients and inspiration from each chef’s family heritage – for a chance to win a $1000 (1st Prize), $500 (2nd Prize), and $200 (3rd Prize). Judges included Chef J. Michael Melton (Head of Culinary at Impossible Foods; Oakland, CA), Chef Rebecca Tillman (Executive Sous Chef at The Phoenician, Scottsdale AZ) and Chef Jayro Martinez (Executive Chef at Mayfield; Irvine, CA).
The judges selected six incredible winners from Los Angeles and Arizona, with one claiming the top spot for each location. Here’s a little bit more about our winners, and their delicious dishes.
Name: Aya Baker; Grade: 11th; Recipe: Impossible™ Sanshoku Don(opens in a new tab)
Literally meaning “three-colored rice bowl,” Sanshoku Don is a bright, colorful Japanese dish often made with chicken, egg and spinach. Aya brings it to us Impossible Foods-style with four main ingredients: the Impossible Burger, tofu, spinach and rice—a modified version of the recipe her mother often made for her family growing up.
“When I first saw this Impossible Meat challenge, I was immediately drawn to it because of the environmental benefits and because I wanted to share my culture. I am very proud and grateful of my Japanese heritage and am always looking for more vegan recipes to introduce into my life.”
Name: Abigail Quijano; Grade: 11th; Recipe: Impossible™ Pupusa Burgers(opens in a new tab)
For her award-winning entry, Abby created a hybrid between her favorite food -- burgers -- and her family’s own pupusa recipe. Instead of stuffing the masa, she shaped it into two masa “buns,” and griddled them to crispy-yet-chewy perfection. She stuffed the masa with a chicharrón-style Impossible™ patty, and topped it with curtido, a bright, acidic cabbage slaw, and salsa roja for a garlicky kick.
“My family is from El Salvador and we really love pupusas, a traditional Salvadoran dish. Whenever we make them, it always brings us together and we have a great time in the kitchen. Hamburgers are my favorite food and I wanted to create something that combines my favorite food with my heritage, so that’s how the Pupusa Burger idea came to be!”
Name: Hayden Kreipl; Grade: 12th; Recipe: Impossible™ Scottish Shepherd's Pie(opens in a new tab)
Hayden’s Shepherd’s Pie is stuffed with vegetables and Impossible Burger cooked in gravy and onions, and topped with cheesy, smoky mashed potatoes. The recipe reminds him of the Scots Fests he used to attend with his stepdad, where guests wore kilts, played bagpipes, and ate Scottish meat pies.
“The whole continent of Great Britain including Scotland, Ireland, and Wales have a bad rap in the rest of the world as having bland food... This is simply not the case as many herbs and spices are included in food that has come from peasantry to royalty in Great Britain.”
Name: Kaia Reyes; Grade: 11th; Recipe: Grandma's Impossible™ Gyoza(opens in a new tab)
Kaia’s take on this family favorite is made with Impossible Burger meat, cabbage, and garlic -- all stuffed in a crispy wrapper and dipped in soy sauce and chili oil. This family recipe pays tribute to her grandmother, who would gather their whole family together to prepare the dish.
“My grandma would always do a variety of things to say “I love you” without actually saying it, one of them was cooking. Family was everything to her so whenever she made gyoza our whole family would gather and prepare it together. When making this keep in mind that it does not matter if the gyoza looks perfect or not, it was made with love and that is all that matters.”
Name: Nicholas Snyder; Grade: 7th; Impossible™ Chiles en Nogada(opens in a new tab)
Nick’s Chiles en Nogada recipe is made with flame-roasted poblano chiles, stuffed with Impossible Burger, dried fruits, and a savory tomato sauce, then topped with a creamy nogada sauce. The dish was served throughout his grandmother’s and mother’s childhoods, when they sometimes substituted diced strawberries for the more seasonal pomegranates.
“This is a recipe passed down from my grandmother to my mother. It was a meal served constantly throughout her childhood. It was traditionally made as an Independence Day meal, as the colors of the peppers, the nogada sauce, and pomegranate seeds resemble those of the Mexican flag.”
Names/Grades: Sara Bohart, 11th grade; Logan Ott, 9th grade; Isabella Piriz, 9th grade; Recipe: Impossible™ Musubi(opens in a new tab)
Sara, Logan and Isabella’s version of Musubi replaces Spam with a savory spiced Impossible Burger patty and utilizes a musubi mold to make perfectly shaped musubi. The team had a ton of fun coming up with this recipe to highlight one of Sara’s childhood favorites, and they add helpful suggestions for how to keep your Impossible Musubi moist and fresh over multiple days.
“My dad grew up in Hawaii, and throughout my childhood he’d introduce me and my sisters to food from his childhood. We’ve tried haw flakes, rice candy, shoyu chicken, and these salty plum things, but one dish I’ve always liked was Spam Musubi. For this challenge, I decided to replace the Spam with a patty of Impossible meat to make an (almost) vegan take on my favorite food.”
Thank you to all of the students who submitted their amazing recipes, and stay tuned for more competitions like this one in the future!