Mission & History
The vision of the Vegan Iron Chef organization is 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. We are a Portland-based nonprofit network utilizing an artsâ€“entertainment platform to bring awareness and respect to the vegan lifestyle and cruelty-free cuisine.
As a popular vegan mecca, Portland, Oregon, hosted its first Vegan Iron Chef Competition in June of 2010. The inaugural event was presented by Try Vegan PDX, a vegan outreach network.Â We have since stemmed into our own organization.
Word of mouth rang out across the vegan Internet, attracting the interest and involvement of esteemed local chefs, cookbook authors, judges, business owners, press, sponsors and audience members. The event was hosted by Michelle Schwegmann, co-owner of Herbivore Clothing, and Isa Chandra Moskowitz of The Post Punk Kitchen served as our interactive Vegan Food Guru and Trivia Host. DJ Survival Skilz and The Jet Boat Adventurer provided the soundtrack.
The competing chefs were Wes Hannah from Blossoming Lotus, Aaron Adams from Portobello Vegan Trattoria, and Qausu AsaaseYaa from Asaase Ital Palace. The vegan celebrity judges were Food Fight! Vegan Groceryâ€™s Emiko Badillo, Brian Heck of Sip juice cart, vegan cookbook author Joanna Vaught, Jesse Ives of Sweetpea Baking Co. (now with Portobello Vegan Trattoria), and our lucky, random audience winner, Rusty.
The event itself sold out in less than three days and was live-streamed to a global audience of more than 1,000, including viewing parties big and small. Much of the Portland overflow watched at Backspace Cafe, where the subsequent Vegan Iron Chef After-Party was held, featuring a dramatic set by Camping Party.
Vegan Iron Chef is now an independent nonprofit organization based in Portland, OR. Please get in touch and visit our How-To Guide for information on how to plan a competition in your city and help our Vegan Iron Chef family grow.