Moringa is the secret ingredient in Chef Claudia’s award winning dish at Expo West
At this year’s Natural Products Expo West, moringa was one of the hottest ingredients — so hot that season 6’s MasterChef champion Chef Claudia Sandoval chose Kuli Kuli’s Pure Moringa Vegetable Powder as her signature ingredient during KeHe’s CareTrade Celebrity Chef Showdown.
The competition was the kickoff for KeHE’s CAREtrade initiative that strives to identify and promote brands with a higher purpose. As one of the leading natural products distributers in the United States, KeHE has created their CAREtrade program in an effort to work “shoulder to shoulder with likeminded suppliers and retailers.” After a careful selection process, five brands were chosen including 1) Divine Chocolate, 2) Growers Alliance Coffee, 3) Sunshine Nut Company, 4) Women’s Bean Project and last but not least 5) Kuli Kuli.
Chef Claudia, Season 6 Champion of MasterChef and author of La Cocina cookbook, competed against Chef Jeff Rossman, who runs the ever popular Terra Restaurant in San Diego. The showdown was quite lively, with the chefs making playful jabs at one another just to keep the audience on their toes. While Chef Jeff talked a lot of smack, in the end his goji berry & plantain risotto was no match for Chef Claudia’s unique pan seared corvina over cashew creme and moringa-poached fingerling potatoes and tomatoes. The judges, who hailed from B Lab, FairTrade, INFRA, New Hope Network, and New Seasons, unanimously chose Chef Claudia’s dish as the winner. “It’s just the kind of dish you want to eat slowly and savor,” said Andy Fyfe of B-Lab. As she savored her last bite another judge commented, “These earthy tones — it must be moringa that gives it that kick.”
This was not Chef Claudia’s first rodeo. She cleverly combined both cashew and avocado to make a delicious crème sauce, paired perfectly with a bed of raw zucchini salad tossed in a light lemon vinaigrette. A sprinkle of the fingerling potatoes and blistered heirloom tomatoes added color atop the corvina.
About Claudia Sandoval
Ms. Sandoval, a philosophy major and home cook, was born and raised in Sunny San Diego. Originally from Mazatlan, Sinaloa, her family now lives in San Diego. With a passion for all things Philanthropic, Ms. Sandoval continues to find ways to give back to the community she lives in. Ms. Sandoval has supported and been a board member of various non-profit organizations. She continues to form strong affiliations with organizations like MANA de San Diego, the American Cancer Society, Feeding America, and the San Diego County Latino Association, for which she held the position of President two consecutive years. More recently, Ms. Sandoval has supported organizations like the Berry Berry Good Foundation, Just In Time for Foster Youth, Center for Community Solutions, Mama’s Kitchen, and Veteran’s for Peace.