Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Seattle Vegan Chili Cook-Off Wrap Up

Hooray! Hooray! Seattle crowned our winner of the Great Seattle Vegan Chili Cook-Off (ok, it might have been a plastic tiara). If you missed it, this post is for you! If you attended, what did you think?

Quick summary: the event was totally sold out with more than 210 people in attendance, all of the chili was killer, the cooks, attendees, and volunteers were HELLA dedicated, and we didn't run out of beer until the very end. Here here! In addition to getting to know our community even better, we raised $1000+ to help put on future events leading to a Seattle Vegan Iron Chef in 2012. Most importantly, we ate vegan chili!

  • The 3rd place prize was won by the dynamic duo of Lindsey Douglas and Candice Cannedy (above left) with their SPICY "Not Yo Mama's Chili"!
  • 2nd place was secured by local food blogger, Marti Miller-Hall (above right) and her "New Mexico Green and White 'Chickn' Chili."
  • And the big Grand Prize, with more than twice as many votes as any other chili, went to Traci Wilson with her "No One Suffered for My Pleasure Chili." I hear it was truly special. (above center)

All of these winners won baskets packed to the gills with vegan goodies donated by more than 25 generous donors, including 2 tickets to the Vida Vegan Con Galarama and Auction in Portland in August. The voting was counted twice separately to make sure no voting shenanigans went on behind the scenes. Heh.

All of the other chilis were not far behind 3rd place, all gathering up tons of votes and big fan bases. The corn bread, homemade by local vegans, Julia McCracken, Emily Spahn, Mo Wyse, Amber TeGantvoort, Peter Keller, and Sara Russert, was completely devoured by the end of the evening, not even a crumb remained.

Same goes for the desserts donated by vegan friendly businesses, Mighty-O Donut, Baked in Seattle, Sage Organic Cafe, The Crue Cart, Sweet Betty Cakes, and Wheatless in Seattle. Folks donated hard earned cash to eat these treats until not a single pie was left to give to Food Not Bombs.

Basically, we ate, and ate, and ate, and ate. But that isn't all. DJ Pelvis kept true to his word with the best party music of all time and there was even a last minute raffle for 3 pairs of tickets to see Forks Over Knives. Many attendees checked out the sponsor tables to learn more about NARN, Green Vegans, Action for Animals, Earth Residents United, and Seattle Animal Defense League too. Learnin and eatin. Eatin' and learnin'.

Our guests from Vegan Iron Chef gave out pins and told us about their mission to celebrate creative culinary achievements, unite the ever-expanding vegan community, and encourage and support regional Vegan Iron Chef competitions in cities across the globe, including and especially Seattle!

This entire night was made possible by a team of totally amazing volunteers who worked for weeks before the event picking up materials, selling tickets, posting fliers, making rosettes and buttons, etc. And they worked at the event setting up, decorating, refilling water pitchers all night, serving beer and lemonade to a very thirsty crowd, keeping the compostables cleaned up, dealing with a big line of ticket holders at the door (and even some folks who, sadly, weren't ticket holders), taking photos and video, and then cleaning up all of the mess. I'd like to officially dedicate the event to them: Michelle Shannon, Tyler Shannon, Brittany Leimbach, Emily Spahn, Jeff Morrison, Shawn McClung (who took all these lovely photos), Erin McClung, Rebecca Bolte, Johanna Miller, Simar Tate, Dawn Quinn, Rick Gratzer, Derrick Hachey, Helen Pitlick, Kirby Johnson, and Maré Odomo.

All in all, I think it was the best time I've had a vegan cook-off ever. (See all the photos on Flickr.) OK, I've never been to a vegan cook-off before, but I know it still ruled even without a comparison. Did you go? What did you think?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Listen up all you cats and kittens.

Oh say, what? You didn't know that mega radster DJ Pelvis is going to be entertaining us with his spins of 60's mod, psych, garage, Hammond-beat, tambourine-shakes, yé-yé, proto-punk, world-grooves, freakbeat, funk, fuzz, and Farfisa for the entire Seattle Vegan Chili Cook-off?

It is true. As DJ Pelvis himself says, "Listen up, all you cats and kittens, and freak out to the freak beat! I bring the funk and the fuzz, the grit and the grooves, the boss and the bitchin'. So quit bench-racing around the pad and beat feet to hear some choice tunes. Don't let some square chop you; tell' em to climb it, Tarzan, and cut out to hang loose with some wax and have a far-out time, dig? Easy, man."

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Yummy Sides for Chili

We just found out that Wayfare Foods has offered to donate some vegan cheeses and vegan sour creams for us to top our chili with during the event!

Spice wasn't so big in my house growing up so I remember putting milk in my chili when I young. I know, it sounds terrible now. I tried it once with soy milk, which was a big mistake. No more milk and chili for me. But I can't wait to find the spiciest chili at the event and top with a little vegan sour cream! Thanks Wayfare!

I love other toppings too: onions? yes! The best chili that I have ever had came with a dollop of pineapple chutney. The sweetness of the pineapple was a perfect addition to the spicy chili. I wonder if any of the chili chefs will be bringing unique toppings for their dishes?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Radsters from Portland Visiting for the Cook-Off

Seattle has an exceptionally strong vegan food culture - with more than 15 pure vegan restaurants, 20+ vegetarian restaurants, an untold number of vegan chefs toiling away in omni restaurants, and at least a dozen home-chef blogs overflowing with innovative vegan recipes - we have a lot to be proud of. I think it is time we took it to mat.

As you know, The Great Seattle Chili Cook-Off is just one of many feeder events raising money so that Seattle can put on our very own Vegan Iron Chef competition and enter in the regional competition too. We hope to have similar feeder events over the next 9 months, including a vegan BBQ competition this summer, perhaps a raw vegan competition in the fall, and more. Vegan Iron Chef organizers, Liz Miller, Michele Truty and Jess Scone are super supportive Seattle's vegan scene and can't wait to see us get into the Vegan Iron Chef regionals.

We are honored that Michele and Jess will be able to come to the Seattle Chili Cook-Off to hang out with all of us and will have a table with info. If you live in Portland (or anywhere I guess), they'll be giving away tickets to our Cook-Off later this month or early May, so stay tuned. I was able to catch up with Jess for a little Q&A.

Q:Where did the idea of holding a Vegan Iron Chef come from?
Jess: Try Vegan PDX founder and horror author David Agranoff* brought the idea to the group a couple years ago. It came to fruition last year with the crowning of our first winner, Qausu Asaase Yaa from the Asaase Ital Caribbean cart, who was up against head chefs from Blossoming Lotus and Portobello Vegan Trattoria. As we head into our second competition July 10 at Refuge, Vegan Iron Chef is now its own non-profit organization. We’re incredibly fortunate that Isa Chandra Moskowitz is returning to host in the Alton Brown role again, too!

Photos by Lucas DeShazer

Q: What is the best thing about living in Portland and so close to Seattle, the two very best vegan cities in the nation?
It’s just nice to know that there is always an Amtrak train, or a carpool between the two cities, where someone, somewhere, is eating a vegan donut, en route to another NW city home to more vegan donuts. I may be partial to the hometown VooDoo apple fritters, but damn, a French Toast Mighty-O makes any trip worth it.

Q: What ways do you see Seattle and Portland supporting each others vegan scenes?
Jess: I think this eventual build up to the Northwest Vegan Iron Chef Regionals in a couple years is one of the most exciting things - ever. What better way to showcase artisan, vegan cuisine, our energetic vegan communities, independent businesses, and impressive Northwest produce? Despite any rivalries, vegans in both cities make a point to support each others’ vegan businesses, and that’s awesome.

Q: After checking out the chili descriptions, who do you think is going to win?
Jess: I’m digging the charisma and mystery that Peter Keller is throwing out there, but I’ve gotta root for my lady, Marti, because I think she’s underplaying her talk of “nothing too spectacular” and I’m stoked to try her roasted green chili & white “chicken” chili!

Q: Chili etiquette? Hot or Not? Sides are OK? Vegan sour cream a must or a disgrace?
Jess: Promise me heat, a cold beer & tortilla chips, and I’m good. [Ed. note: I promise]

Q: What else should Seattlites know about Vegan Iron Chef and the future regional competition?
Jess: Start placing your bets and never underestimate the secret ingredient, or SI, as we like to whisper at our meetings. Get inspired and organize mini vegan iron chef events at dinner parties, potlucks, special ingredient themed picnics, etc. And someone, please build a venue that can hold this madness!

*David, in completely unrelated coincidence, is going to be in Seattle May 8, 2011 for a reading of his book, The Vegan Revolution with Zombies.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Toronto's Vegan Chili Cook-Off

Oh man is this inspiring. These Canadians really know how to get it done. So many good chilis, a good cause, and look how many people came out IN THE SNOW! According to this other video, they went through 130 bowls (one per person) in less than 2 hours. How amazing would it be if 130 vegans showed up to The Great Seattle Vegan Chili Cook-Off?

So let this be a reminder, The Great Seattle Vegan Chili Cook-Off is less than 4 weeks away and you really, really don't want to miss it. Pick up some tickets here.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Don't let this happen to you: Missin the cook-off

Don't worry, I would never try to keep it from you.

But don't miss it because you forget to buy your tickets! By the way, Homer meant to say, "juice ground tofu". Really.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Vegan Chili Cook-Off Mentioned on KPLU!

Oh yay! Nancy Leson chats with Dick Stein during KPLU's "Food for Thought about VegFest, Seattle Vegan Score, Chocolate Shoe Box, Sidecar for Pig's Peace, AND our very own Seattle Vegan Chili Cook-Off.

Have a listen (under 5 minutes):