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!
London Chain Debuts Sourdough Vegan Doughnut Line
Crosstown doughnut shop in London spent months crafting the perfect vegan pastry after hearing their customers demands for three years.
Read More »
Two-Story Vegan Pizzeria Coming to Portland
This June, house-made cashew mozzarella topped pizzas, dairy-free ice cream, and locally roasted espresso will be on the menu at Virtuous Pie in Portland, OR.
Read More »
Obama Scolds Trump for Letting Schools Serve Junk
Former First Lady Michelle Obama asks Trump "What is wrong with you?" for his administration's attempt to dismantle her healthy school lunch program.
Read More »
Vegan Movies Win Big at Major Film Festival
Three vegan short films take home awards from the third-largest film festival in North America.
Read More »
Vegan Surf Camp Makes Waves this Summer
Surfers will be treated to organic vegan meals while surfing the Atlantic Coast of France.
Read More »
- Ringling Bros. Circus Holds Its Final Show
- Popular Tofu Company Ends Animal Testing
- LA's Umami Burger Unveils Impossible Burger
- Finless Foods Aims to Make Slaughter-Free Fish
- Hospital Staff in California Go Plant-Based for Patients
- 3D Printed Vegan Cheese to Soon Hit Store Shelves
- Government to Ban Dog Meat Sale at Yulin Festival
- Jeremy Corbyn to Fund Plant-Based Businesses
- Law Cutting Waterway Protections to Benefit Ranchers
- Vegan Soccer Club Reaches League Status
- Meat Alternatives Market Valued at $4 Billion in 2017
- High Death Rates from Nine Diseases Linked to Meat
- Vegan Company Closes Historic $1 Million Capital Round
- New Vegan Nail Salon Opens in NYC
- First Vegan Climbing Center Opens in UK
- Hand Injuries from Cutting Avocados on the Rise
- UK Couple to Brew Vegan Bacon Beer
- Ripple Launches Plant-Based Milk for Kids
- North Face Axes Fur, Angora, and Exotic Leather
- Vegan Shop Seattle Cookie Counter is Back in Action