2010 Veggie Awards

It’s that time of year, the 2010 Veggie Awards are here! Here’s the reader and editor picks for today’s hottest vegan people, places, and products.

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Pop the Champagne—the 2010 Veggie Awards are here! More than 46,000 readers voted in the world’s largest survey of all things veg, and VegNews’ editors spent all year seeking out the most influential people, hottest trends, and innovative products to bring you the best of the best. Enjoy!

Reader Picks:

Favorite Restaurant: Loving Hut (Worldwide)
Favorite Bakery (storefront): Babycakes (NYC and LA)
Favorite Bakery (online): Sweet & Sara
Favorite Cookie Company: Alternative Baking Company
Favorite Chocolate: Endangered Species
Favorite Ice Cream: Turtle Mountain Purely Decadent
Favorite Non-Dairy Milk: Almond Breeze
Favorite Tofu: Trader Joe’s
Favorite Cheese: Daiya
Favorite Veg Meat Company: Amy’s Kitchen
Favorite Energy Bar: Luna Bar
Favorite Condiment: Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
Favorite Tea Company: Tazo
Favorite Vegan Tipple: Kombucha
Favorite Vegan Dog Food: Evolution Diet
Favorite Supplement: Garden of Life
Favorite Hair Care: Aveda
Favorite Makeup: Bare Escentuals
Favorite Body Care: Aveda
Favorite Shoes: Vegetarian Shoes
Favorite Cleaning Products: Seventh Generation
Favorite Vegan Storefront: MooShoes (NYC)
Favorite Online Store: Vegan Essentials
Favorite US City: New York
Favorite International City: Vancouver
Favorite Animal Sanctuary: Farm Sanctuary (NY and CA)
Favorite Celebrity: Ellen DeGeneres
Favorite Musician: Shania Twain
Favorite Athlete: Brendan Brazier
Favorite Chef: Angel Ramos (Candle 79)
Favorite Cookbook Author: Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Favorite Vegetarian We’d Love to Go Vegan: Paul McCartney
Favorite Vegan MD: Neal Barnard

Favorite Website: Happycow.net
Favorite Blog: Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen
Favorite Tweeter: Your Daily Vegan
Favorite iPhone App: Vegan Yum Yum
Favorite Dating Site: Veggiedate.com
Favorite Vegetarian Organization: Vegan Outreach
Favorite Animal Organization: Humane Society of the United States

Favorite Issue:
10th Anniversary Issue
Favorite Column: I Can’t Believe It’s Vegan
What You Love Most About VegNews: The magazine
Favorite Blog: Café VegNews

Editor Picks

Person of the Year: Bob Harper
Though he’s best known as one of America’s toughest trainers for kicking people into shape on The Biggest Loser, it’s Bob Harper’s compassionate side that makes him 2010’s biggest winner. The 45-year-old motivator made waves this year by formally announcing that’s he’s vegan. Through the launch of his branded website, posting videos encouraging veg eating, and working with groups such as Farm Sanctuary, Harper’s making America a more compassionate place.

Restaurant of the Year: Gracias Madre
This year has seen the explosion of Gracias Madre, a gorgeous restaurant serving up high-end, organic, vegan Mexican fare to rave reviews in San Francisco’s Mission District. Food critics have swooned over Gracias Madres’ menu—in particular the restaurant’s famous flan, which has been called indistinguishable from a non-vegan version.

Product of the Year: Gardein
Yves Potvin, creator of Gardein—a plant-based protein with a name that fuses “garden” and “protein”—set out in 2001 to develop a vegan protein that looked and tasted like chicken and could be used by chefs as a main course. In 2003, Garden Protein International was born, and can now be found in supermarkets everywhere, on restaurant menus, and touted by Oprah Winfrey in front of millions.

Company of the Year: Vaute Couture
Designer Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart took New York Fall Fashion Week by storm with her line of vegan, sustainable, gorgeous, and completely functional winter coats. The brand continues to expand, gaining celebrity clients such as Emily Deschanel, launching a line of men’s suits, and moving the company to New York. Proving that ethical and functional fashion is not just a dream, Vaute Couture makes doing good look good.

Cookbook of the Year: Viva Vegan!
VN Columnist Terry Hope Romero is bringing Latin food back to its plant-based roots by releasing Viva Vegan!: 200 Authentic and Fabulous Recipes for Latin Food Lovers, a gorgeous, comprehensive guide to tackling everything from crispy plantains to rich dulce de leche. The book is complete with helpful how-to illustrations and lessons on the history of the cuisine and must-have shopping lists.

Vegan Cinema Takeover
A year that began with nominee Food, Inc. losing the Best Documentary Oscar to The Cove proved cinematically fortuitous. Animal Planet announced Blood Dolphins, a Cove spin-off; the anti-fur documentary Skin Trade and the re-released Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home won multiple “best of” film festival awards; and the feature-length animal-rights drama Bold Native sold-out screenings—one hosted by Russel Simmons—coast-to-coast.

Global Powerhouse
In June, the United Nations Environment Program released a report calling for a worldwide shift away from animal products, stating that a plant-based diet was the best way to save the planet from world hunger and the impact of climate change. The report states the only sustainable diet is one rich in plant-based foods and details the damaging and far-reaching effects of eating animals, declaring that factory-farming practices are as harmful to the environment as burning fossil fuels.

Media Maven
Jane Velez-Mitchell, veteran TV journalist, 14-year-vegan, and host of the Emmy-award winning nightly Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell, has made it her mission to expose animal exploitation to the masses. Velez-Mitchell covers at least one animal-related story every week, ranging from the effects of the Gulf Coast Oil Spill to the historic animal-welfare legislation passed this spring in Ohio. With 100 million viewers in the US alone and 50,000 Facebook fans, there’s no denying the impact of this media powerhouse.

Humanitarians for Haiti
When a devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck just south of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in January, relief efforts mobilized across the world. In Portland, Ore., author and activist Isa Chandra Moskowitz posted a call-to-action on her blog at The Post Punk Kitchen: Vegans, let’s bake. Compassionate herbivores across the country banded together to host sales in their home cities to fundraise for relief. The result? An incredible $75,000 was raised and donated.

Retail Blunder
The enzyme and probiotic-rich Kombucha is naturally fermented—less than 0.5 percent alcohol per serving—with the buzz level kept under control by refrigeration. When shipped, if left unrefrigerated, the active product continues to ferment, raising the alcohol content slightly, and every brand of raw Kombucha sold tested above the 0.5 level. Certain litigation-wary health food stores and suppliers decided to pull all brands. You’ll soon be able to buy it again—with an ID.

Daddy Warbucks Award
This year, Bob Barker’s generous donations proved that the 87-year-old activist is as passionate as ever about helping animals. Barker gifted $5 million to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, $1 million to Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) to help end pigeon shoots, 2.5 million to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), and an additional $250,000 in matching donations to rescue animals used for “entertainment.”

DIY Revolution
Resilient Americans have rose to the occasion since the beginning of the recession, fueling a fast-growing trend of all things DIY. Gardens are sprouting up in backyards and on urban rooftops across the country, cash-strapped do-it-yourselfers are pickling, preserving, brewing, sewing, knitting, and cooking. Online store etsy.com has legitimized the homesteading trend and Vegan Etsy boasts more than 38,000 products in its vegan category.

Sanctuaries 2.0
From all-star events to ever-greater influence, animal sanctuaries have made their mark this year. Animal Acres stages a celeb-heavy gala each September; Animal Place, now in its 21st year, held a “barn warming” party on July 3 at its new 600-acre Grass Valley, Calif., sanctuary, the largest in the country; Catskill Animal Sanctuary’s co-founder Kathy Stevens has published two heartwarming books about her rescued animals; and Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary stages everything from sanctuary concerts to art shows.

Dynamic Duo
The upcoming launch of Spork Online will take Heather and Jenny Goldberg’s incredibly successful LA-based cooking classes worldwide, providing a welcoming, accessible community for anyone interested in healthy living—think how-to cooking videos, recipes, helpful Q&A, and beyond. Offline, a chic West Hollywood loft calls itself Spork Foods’ new home, playing host to not only the duo’s sold-out classes, but also film viewings, workshops, weekly yoga classes, and private cooking parties. With the majority of clients first attending as omnivores, the sisters are changing outlooks on a regular basis.

Best Day of the Week
In 2010, the move to reduce meat consumption one day per week gained unprecedented mainstream momentum, with endorsements from both cities and celebrities alike. San Francisco was the first US city to pass an official motion promoting a plant-based diet, with Washington, DC following. Celebrities are also doing their part to promote plant-based diets, including Mario Batali cementing his support for Meat-Free Mondays.

Pizza Explosion
For decades, pizza has been the Holy Grail of veganism for one reason: the cheese. It was one of the last remaining holdout foods for aspiring vegans. But now, according to pizzerias everywhere, one cheese has changed everything: Daiya, VN’s 2009 Product of the Year. Heralded as “meltable, stretchable, and delicious,” the popular dairy-free cheese is making believers out of both pizza eateries and its customers across the country.

Raw Reverie
Though brands such as Organic Nectars have been available via mail order since 2004, it wasn’t until the 95-percent raw cashew- and coconut-based Alkemie hit retail shelves last November that the category really took off. Henry’s Frozen Delight, Raw Ice Cream Company, and KindKreme are all now creating flavors and frozen concoctions to rival any traditional ice cream out there.

Bakery Bonanza
Simply put, baked goods are blowing up Champs, an old world-style bakery and café that opened its doors in Brooklyn this August, revolutionizes New York classics such as black-and-white cookies; and Babycakes NYC opened an Los Angeles this January. Chloe Coscarelli trumped her three non-vegan competitors on an episode of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars in June; and Cinnaholic, a vegan cinnamon roll store opened in July in Berkeley, Calif. Simply put, veganism has never been sweeter.

Locavore v. Vegan Controversy
Though the locavore movement first started gaining traction in 2007, the non-vegan aspects of its message have been debated this year in unprecedented ways. From classes on keeping backyard chickens to slaughtering your own rabbits, locavorism moved in a decidedly bloody direction. Media outlets from The New York Times to Mother Jones have covered the debate over whether locally raised, grass-fed meat is more ecologically friendly than ditching animal products all together. The one thing that emerges from the clutter of debate is the consistent horror over the ethics of needlessly slaughtering animals.

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