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Vegan Sushi Rolls into Town
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Vegan Sushi Rolls Into Town


Sushi – once an exotic addition to catering menus is today de rigueur at many events. Now, the trick for caterers is to “keep it fresh,” referring to much more than the fish. In fact, the way that Esprit Events in New York is keeping it fresh is by creating Beyond Sushi™ - sushi sans fish.

“Traditional sushi is not waning in popularity by any means, but there are three drawbacks to it,” says Ellen Vaknine co-owner of Esprit with her husband, Eli Vaknine. “One is that white rice is an unpopular ingredient with a lot of diets today. Two, some people aren’t comfortable with raw fish and three, pregnant women can’t eat it. They just look at us sadly when we serve it. My chef, Guy Vaknin, was playing around with organic and whole grains. He and our sushi chef started rolling different grains and vegetables until they had something that looked and tasted great.”

In April, Chef Vaknin and the Esprit team demonstrated Beyond Sushi at New York’s first vegan food show. “The response was fantastic,” Vaknine says. “They couldn’t roll fast enough. We knew we had something that could appeal on a wide-scale basis. The idea to trademark the name Beyond Sushi was the next step.”

The sauces are also tofu-based and when Esprit drops off a sushi platter, they are accompanied by tubes of different sauces. “People can mix and match,” Vaknine explains. “It’s a bit of a gimmick, but it’s fun. When we are at an event, the sushi is pre-garnished with whatever sauce that Guy feels is the best match.” And, at an event, the station is set up half with regular sushi and half with the veggie sushi.

Since, more often than not, trends begin in New York, get ready for vegan sushi to roll into your events soon!

Do you have a unique food concept such as this? A menu you created this year that was particularly inspired? Show them off by entering them in the ICA & Catersource CATIE Awards to be presented at the 2012 Catersource Conference, February 28, 2012, in Las Vegas. To enter, please visit and go to “CATIE Awards.”

Photo Caption

Grains used in Esprit Events’ Beyond Sushi include black rice, a six-grain medley of red, black and short-grain brown rice, purple and hull-less barley and rye berries and long-grain red rice.
Sauces include toasted cayenne, jalapeno wasabi, chili & mango, carrot ginger, tofu & miso, shitake & teriyaki.

Photos courtesy of Esprit Events

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