Jay Astafa, the 23-year-old celebrated vegan chef from New York City, took home the title last night at the Vegan Iron Chef All-Stars competition in San Francisco, inching out Northern California contenders and previous years’ winners Kevin Schuder and Lisa Books-Williams. The long-time vegan bested his competitors—and a nail-biting equipment-downing power outage—in the three-round cooking competition, crafting dishes in which two secret ingredients had to be incorporated. The epicurean showcased a BBQ jackfruit (the first secret ingredient) tostada with lime crema and purple cabbage slaw in round one; sautéed mustard greens (the second secret ingredient) in a blood orange-balsamic-agave agrodolce reduction for his second round side dish; and a rosemary-pecan-crusted jackfruit filet with mushroom risotto as his main course in the final round. “It was such a great experience to be back in San Francisco to compete in the All-Stars round,” Astafa told VegNews. “All the chefs were all so talented, and anyone could have won. I’m so happy to have won the title this year.” Astafa is the founder of Jay Astafa Catering, is the vegan chef for his family’s Italian restaurants on Long Island, and regularly hosts culinary pop-events around the country. VegNews Publisher Colleen Holland was one of the event judges, along with the Vegan Roadie’s Dustin Harder and 365 Days of Dance George Lin.
Photo courtesy of @jayastafa
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