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Last week, some of NYC’s top chefs and restaurants joined together for a fantastic tasting benefit for STREETS International. Held at the Astor Center, chefs whipped up delicious dishes inspired by Southeast Asia and streetfood fare, while guests happily noshed and watched cooking demos.

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STREETS International is a non-profit organization that is part hospitality school and part restaurant café based in historic Hoi An, Vietnam, an innovative social enterprise initiative with the purpose to develop and operate sustainable programs for street kids and disadvantaged youth in SE Asia and throughout the world. Through an intensive 18 month training program, disadvantaged, local youth are given the tools and skills needed to transform their lives and achieve financial independence.

This year, guests were treated to a special cooking demo by two lovely STREETS students from Vietnam, Nguyen Thanh Linh and Le Thi Thuy. Their talents showcased what many of these kids are able to do, and prove that the program is a great initiative that gives these students a path to a bright future.

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Chefs and restaurants came together to serve their Southeast Asian-inspired dishes. We loved King Phojanakong of Kuma Inn’s pan-fried rice crepes doused with an incredibly flavorful Kuma pork bolognese sauce. Robert Newton, Nightingale 9  served up some jasmine rice chao with ground pork, chiles, and green onion, while Edi Frauneder & Wolfgang Ban from Edi & The Wolf had an elegantly plated Bucheron with asparagus and picked ramps on rye bread with vinaigrette. Michael Chernow and Daniel Holzman from famed The Meatball Shop created some off-menu Shawarma balls with Tahini sauce and slaw.

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There was a line forming to wait for Josh Eden’s shrimp and pork pot stickers with vinegar dipping sauce from August, and our patience was well rewarded with steamy, juicy dumplings. Floyd Cardoz from North End Grill roasted turnips and with bean soup with chorizo. Kenny Callaghan from Blue Smoke & Jazz Standard infused some Southern love in the form of shrimp and grits with Red Eye gravy.

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Vegetarians did not need to worry about being left hungry with Ratha Chaupoly & Ben Daitz’s sandwich from Num Pang. Almost as filling as a burger, the roasted cauliflower with eggplant spread and chili soymilk “mayo” was a great addition to take a short break from all the meats. Joe Quintana of Rosa Mexicano served their signature guacamole by the plateful.

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While all the food was being bad, mixologist Pete Vasconcellos of The Penrose got the night shakin’ with cocktails. The generous flow of drinks and wine allowed people to be even more generous with their bids from the silent auction, which included a private cooking class, a staycation in NYC, restaurant reservations, and a fantastic 15-day Southeast Asian vacation in top-rated luxury resorts.

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Congrats to STREETS International for another successful year!