A vegan Caesar salad—crafted by plant-based chef and instructor Benoit Coquand and his team at Culinary Institute Lenôtre—recently won the 34th Caesar Salad Competition in Houston, TX. The salad is the first time a vegan dish has won the competition in 34 years, beating 15 traditional salads by chef contestants in the longest-running culinary competition in the city. The Lenôtre team created the vegan salad dressing using ingredients such as cashews and marinated eggplant, and a vegan nut-based Parmesan cheese. “I never thought a salad without the favorite ingredients in Texas, like cheese and other animal proteins, could win this competition,” Chef Coquand said. “The recipe is completely vegan, so it does not have any of the ingredients of a traditional Caesar salad but it still maintains its flavors.” The event, hosted by the Houston Food & Beverage Managers Association, presented awards in four categories: Best Classic, Best Presentation, Most Creative, and People’s Choice. Coquand and his team took home the Most Creative Award.