Gastronomy & Food Service

Pulmuone and Culinary Institute of America Award $10,000 for Tofu Innovation Challenge

Pulmuone USA, maker of Nasoya tofu products, reveals it has awarded $10,000 in scholarships to three student winners of The Tofu Innovation Challenge, which it created in partnership with CIA Consulting, a division of The Culinary Institute of America (CIA).

Hosted at CIA’s New York campus, the contest was designed to showcase the versatility of tofu and plant-based dishes, and offered CIA students an opportunity to win scholarship funding toward their tuition. 

“Our finalists’ dishes proved that plant-based eating can be synonymous with fine dining”

Pulmuone says eight students out of 60 applicants were selected for the challenge, who subsequently spent two months experimenting with tofu and other plant-based ingredients while perfecting recipes. The panel of judges included CIA Chef Instructor Aaron Foglietta and Nasoya representatives, who evaluated the final dishes based on creativity, presentation, taste and accessibility of the recipe.

Winners of Tofu Innovation Challenge
©Pulmuone USA

The judges ultimately selected three dishes as winners:

  •  Tofu Mandoo Wrapped with Cabbage and Kale – Sewoo Yu, 1st place


  •  Tomato Mapo Tofu Pasta – Ye Ji Hong, 2nd place


  •  Tofu Flan Stuffed Toast – Jelly Ruiz, 3rd place

“We were so impressed to see the innovative dishes that these talented student chefs created,” says Ellen Kim, Director of Brand Strategy & Marketing Communications at Pulmuone. “They did an excellent job making tofu the star of the plate and illustrating how accessible and delicious plant-based eating can be.

“The CIA is a cornerstone of culinary education so it’s an honor to collaborate with them to not only spotlight the many ways to use tofu but also get a taste of how the next generation of young chefs and culinary professionals can elevate plant-based cuisine.”

Educating chefs

According to Pulmuone, which is a subsidiary of South Korean food company Pulmuone Co., the Tofu Innovation Challenge represents the latest collaboration in its long-standing history with the CIA. In 2022, the company also sponsored the CIA’s Global Plant-Forward Culinary Summit in Napa, California, which featured culinary demonstrations, tastings, and informational sessions. 

Plantspired product line

These initiatives are part of its commitment to educate chefs and the foodservice sector on the creative potential plant-based foods, Pulmuone states. 

Expanding techniques

“This contest encouraged our students to expand and flex their culinary techniques, demonstrating how easy and versatile tofu is to work with in the kitchen,” said CIA Chef Instructor, George Shannon. “Our finalists’ dishes proved that plant-based eating can be synonymous with fine dining as well as at-home everyday cooking, and we’re proud of the creativity our students showed.”

All eight Tofu Innovation Challenge finalists’ recipes can be found here.

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