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Santa Clara High School Student’s Pastry Recipe Gets Upper Crust Treatment

Back in February, Tanvi Saki, 18, a senior at Santa Clara High School, took first place in the Food Innovations category at California FCCLA’s (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) 2018 Spring Leadership Meeting and Region Qualifying Competitions.

To prepare for the event, Saki had to develop a vegan product for teenagers. At the competition, Saki pitched her Southwest Savory Turnover under her “Lazy Vegan” brand as if the judges were investors. Although the judges didn’t sample Saki’s product, Saki was glad to describe how it tastes.

“It’s a vegan puff pastry that’s stuffed with black beans, bell peppers, onions and quinoa,” said Saki, who is a vegetarian. “It’s savory and a little spicy and it’s really filling, which is really good because usually vegan food is just a salad. It’s big enough to be a snack but it’s also enough for a meal. It tastes like legitimate home cooked food.  The puff pastry I bought from the store uses hydrogenated oils, like corn and vegetable, to avoid using dairy. The puff pastry is flaky, crispy and buttery, which is surprising considering there’s no butter in it.”

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“Tanvi is a super focused, mature and detail-oriented student who just went after this project fully on her own and figured out what all the requirements were,” said Kathy Hopp, Culinary Arts Teacher and FCCLA Adviser at Santa Clara High School. “She made a point of hitting all the marks and making sure it was what the competition required.”

With modifications to accommodate the school district’s nutritional guidelines, Saki’s recipe was mass produced at the cafeterias in the school district’s high schools and middle schools. It was sold as the Southwest Vegetarian Pie.

“Right after the Region Competition, someone from the district came to Ms. Hopp’s classrooms asking for new recipes and ideas for the cafeteria,” Saki said. “Ms. Hopp submitted my recipe and they made it at the schools on May 4 to celebrate Cinco De Mayo, which was on a Saturday this year. The schools changed my recipe slightly. They changed it from vegan to vegetarian by adding cheese and using a different puff pastry than what I had used.”

Also in May, Santa Clara High School’s Culinary 2 class prepared Saki’s recipe as part of its monthly Sneaky Snack fundraiser where teachers subscribe to a monthly surprise snack.

As Saki begins her freshman year at U.C. Riverside in the fall to study Neuroscience, the Creative Cookbook Company will be releasing a cookbook, “Healthy and Delicious,” with her recipe included.

“It’s a company that mass produces and sells cookbooks as fundraisers,” said Hopp. “Most recipes come from culinary teachers.”

“When I brought my product to the FCCLA meeting at my school, everyone seemed to like my product,” said Saki, looking back on far her recipe has come. “None of this would’ve happened without the support of my FCCLA chapter at Santa Clara High School and Ms. Hopp.”

To view Saki’s recipe, visit www.schsculinaryarts.com/sneaky-snack-recipes.html and click on the link for the “Lazy Vegan Southwest Savory Turnover.”

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