The second annual Vegan Mac n Cheese Smackdown held in Baltimore on Saturday drew an estimated 3,000 attendees—an increase of nearly 300 percent from last year’s inaugural event. The cooking competition was held by vegan collection Pep Foods Inc., in partnership with Baltimore Vegan Drinks and hosted 28 chefs who concocted their unique vegan takes on the classic dish. Contestants used both ready-made cheeses—such as those from Daiya and Miyoko’s Kitchen—and their own nut-based varieties. Participants were judged in eight categories, with both first place and the people’s choice awards going to The GruB Factory Vegan Specialty Cafe. “Folks are just ready to try something different,” event organizer Brenda Sanders said. “People are ready to get healthier, people are ready to change what they’ve been doing and do something a little different. This whole health movement is really picking up steam in Baltimore right now.” The competition kicked-off the first ever Baltimore Vegan Weekend, where numerous events across the city promoted the vegan lifestyle.