Vegan catering company Atlas Monroe’s wheat-based Cajun Fried Chicken and Waffles was declared best dish by Extra Crispy editor in chief Ryan Grim at this year’s National Fried Chicken Festival in New Orleans, LA. Atlas Monroe was the first and only vegan vendor at the two-day festival. As one of the festival judges, Grim tasted and evaluated fried chicken from all 35 festival vendors but ultimately chose Atlas Monroe’s dish as the “most enjoyable” fried chicken he had eaten. “The thigh and drumstick were super-crunchy and super-tender, even after sitting for a while,” Grim said. “The skin was thick, nubby, and crunchier than any fried chicken skin I’d ever encountered. And … it wasn’t even chicken. It was vegan.” Atlas Monroe founder Deborah Torres was thrilled about the news. “I’m getting emails and texts from strangers and friends all over the world announcing their congrats and cheering us on,” Torres posted on Instagram. The California-based company has also served its vegan fried chicken at festivals such as San Francisco’s Brew Fest ‘n’ Vegan Eats, Los Angeles’ Vegan Street Fair, and Vegandale Houston.