Veggie Conquest Vegan Cooking Competition
Gear up for an evening of tasty culinary competition as aspiring veg chefs go head-to-head.
From county fairs to television cook-offs, would-be chefs across the country display an unflinching desire to be judged. While most competitors ultimately fade back into the safety and obscurity of their home kitchens, a crucial demographic is conspicuously lacking from the start: where are all the veg chefs? While vegan eating recently played a supporting role on Top Chef Masters, as embodied by the lovely Zooey Deschanel, the animal-free crowd is ready for a challenge all our own.
Look no further than Veggie Conquest, the explosive, strictly-vegan cooking competition straight from the brain of tofu-fueled foodie Jessica Mahady. The NYC-based contest kicks off August 22, providing a fun and exciting platform for amateur chefs to showcase their creativity and culinary skills. With secret ingredient challenges, all-star judges, and the promise of a delicious meal, chefs and spectators alike can expect a stellar show. VegNews caught up with Mahady for the inside scoop on the nation’s next cooking craze.
VegNews: Tell us about Veggie Conquest.
Jessica Mahady: Veggie Conquest is an amateur cooking competition in New York City, and you can sign up as a chef or a taster. Chefs create an original recipe based on a secret ingredient that’s revealed a week before the event. They prepare their dish at home and bring it to the event to be judged and devoured.
VN: What inspired you to start the event?
JM: Veggie Conquest started as an idea I had for a potluck. I talked with friends about it, and the idea grew. Before I knew it, I was planning a full-on cooking competition with a website, fabulous judges, and several tickets sold. We vegans like competitive cooking, too. Also, I think we’ve got to keep showing that vegan food can be much more than twigs and berries.
VN: Who can be involved?
JM: Anyone! Though we do ask that chefs at the competitions should be amateurs. If you’re a food industry pro, you can be a judge or taster, or compete later in our professional challenge. We have so many foodies in NYC. I think all foodies love a good healthy competition. Non-vegans should see it as an extra challenge, a way to push their skills and expand their palates. We want to show non-vegans that vegan food can be easy to make and taste fabulous, too.
VN: You have some pretty impressive judges for the first challenge: Joshua Katcher, Brian Preston-Campbell, and Kathy Patalsky. How did you get them involved?
JM: Yes, they’re fantastic! I just sent each a nice e-mail explaining what we are doing and how we would love for them to be involved. They didn’t need a lot of convincing. They share the love for good food and competition.
VN: What are the criteria for a winning dish?
JM: A chef wins by having the highest combined score from the tasters and the judges. The winning dish must be original, be vegan, feature the secret ingredient, and be finger-lickin’ good. Winning chefs will get fantastic prizes donated by local restaurants, grocers, or kitchen supply stores.
VN: How frequently do you hope to have the competitions?
JM: We are striving for every month. It might not be the normal amateur competition every month, though. For example, our upcoming professional challenge might feature a restaurant chef competing against a cookbook author!
Kraft Heinz Looks to Invest in Plant-Based Startups
The food corporation launches incubator Springboard Brands to support new companies creating foods of the future.
Read More »
Toronto's Vegan Bake-Off Crowns Best Plant-Based Bakers
Dessert lovers devoured cakes, brownies, and macarons in an effort to crown the city's best vegan bakers.
Read More »
MLB Ballparks Nationwide Debut New Vegan Options
This season, baseball fans can snack on vegan nachos, Impossible Burgers, cauliflower cheesesteaks, and more at stadiums across the country.
Read More »
Daiya Debuts Line of Vegan Ice Cream Bars
The vegan brand expands its product line to include ice cream, burritos, new yogurt options, and cheese sticks.
Read More »
Cory Booker Dishes on Whole Food Plant-Based Journey
The outspoken vegan New Jersey Senator takes to social media to encourage his fans to be kind to themselves and others.
Read More »
- World's Best Restaurant NOMA to Serve Vegan Menu
- Germany's First Vegan Kindergarten to Open in Fall
- Athletes Unite to Fight High-Speed Pig Slaughter Bill
- New Voodoo Doughnut to Sell 13 Vegan Options
- Doctors Lead Two-Day Vegan Nutrition Event in CA
- Fashion Giant Versace Ditches Fur
- Trump Eliminates Animal-Welfare Regulations
- Third Outpost of Plant Power Fast Food Opens in CA
- Accidentally Vegan Ferrero Rocher Now Available in UK
- Millennial CEO Launches Vegan Footwear Brand
- First All-Vegan Neighborhood Forms in Downtown Toronto
- 70-Year-Old Dairy Farm Debuts Its First Vegan Line
- Two St. Paul Eateries Form Plant-Based Powerhouse
- Will.I.Am Credits Veganism for Rapid Health Improvement
- Vegan Category Appears on Jeopardy!
- Detroit Ale House Debuts Vegan Comfort Food Menu
- Trade Group Urges Gov't to Back Plant-Based Industry
- Iconic Ice Cream Company Launches Vegan Mochi Line
- Melania Trump Urged to Serve Kids Vegan Easter Candy
- Topshop Creates Vegan T-Shirt That Isn't Vegan