The following is a first-hand report from Julia Legume, the host of the vegan Pop Up! Taco Shop! on July 21st, 2013. The community cook-off was a fundraiser for the non-profit Vegan Iron Chef organization, which is currently location scouting and brainstorming for their third city-wide competition for the elusive, grand title. If you’d like to get involved, check this out. Read on for the details of the recent taco cook-off!
Â HEYâ€”LISTEN! Oh, sorry I opened by yelling at you…again. Last week I took a day off from Park Ranger-ing so that I could experience the wonder that was the Vegan Iron Chef community cook-off competition: Pop Up! Taco Shop!
You could say I had the best seat in the houseâ€”because that seat was on the stage, facing all the other seats. Â Remember me? Â I talked into the microphone and told you what was going on. Â I also got some face time with the chefs and interviewed the judges.
So many other things happened too! First, I met a young person in the audience who asked her parents to go veganâ€”and they did. Â Her mom was with her at the table eating vegan tacos.
Second, I finally met @VeganKitten!
Third (but not last), I hugged so many folks my arms fell off.
Let’s get to the point of this postâ€”WHAT HAPPENED?!
Just how many tacos did we have for lunch for the good of veganism!?!
Here’s your look inside that taco-filled day at Mt. Tabor:
9 CHEFS ENTERED THE TACO DOME:
- Alisha Pearson of Vegan My Way: Nori-battered tofu ‘fish’ tacos
- Nona Carrasco: Family-recipe inspired mushroom tacos and spicy, special sauce
- Lynn Sargent: ‘Rawsome’ Tacos. Her recipe can be found rightÂ here. Give it a go!Â Her full facebook album of the event shows off so much excitement and goodness.Â
- Maeve Connor of Portland’s vegan underground Heartichoke Supper Club: Saucey guisado-style mushroom & serrano filling
- Gregg Abbott of Whiffies Fried Pies:Â Korean Fusion soy curl & slaw tacos
- Sadie Bowman, host of The Intrepid Herbivores: Mexican hibiscus & onion tacos. Check out her unique recipe right here.
- Libby Mongue-Wymore of Â Vegan Poser: Â Two fillings! Chilled avocado & chickpea and Asian fusion smoked soy curls with mango slaw and green curry drizzle. Check out her experience and taco recipes over at her blog.
- ‘Rider Rosie’ of Portland Juice Press:Â Chili Lime con Coco raw tacos with chili-lime walnut meat, marinated raw vegetables and a homemade, dehydrated coconut corn chia tortilla.
- Chelsea Lincoln of Flavorvegan: Chipotle ‘Chicken” Potato filling with Beyond Meat
This was a community cook-off, so the call for Taco Slingers was 100% open to any home and restaurant chef, and these folks rocked it.
The chefs set up their taco fillings and special ingredients. Â Folks lined up at all the tables to taste the creations.
Here’s more from the Vegan Iron Chef Instagram #PopUpTacoShop hashtag roundup:
Back to taco business!
After a blind taste test (no descriptions or titles) of every single filling, a trio of esteemed, vegan food-obsessed judges discussed their favorites and sat back to hear descriptions from each chef as they presented to the crowd.
The Pop Up! Taco Shop! judges:
- Lauren Fitzgerald of White Owl Social Club and Vegan Supper Club
- The Spicy Vegan
- JessÂ SconĂ©, blogger, food writer and co-founder of Vida Vegan Con
After much deliberation and review, the judges determined Rosie of Portland Juice Press as the new Vegan Iron Chef Community Cook-off Champion!
The Vegan Iron Chef Audience Favorite was an enthusiastic win forÂ Gregg Abbott’s Korean Fusion Soy Curls & Slaw. Anyone else see the fried pie filling potential here?
Panda ran the raffle table like a boss and many happy audience members went home with great prizes such as 5 lbs of Beyond Meat, cookbooks, gift certificates to great Portland vegan eats, and more!
The audience member who won the box of Missionary Chocolates had to be escorted to her car after the event (yes! I am using that joke again!) We also had special volunteer-baked Mexican Hot Chocolate, Strawberry Margarita and Dulce de Leche vegan cupcakes and fresh-made horchata for a suggested donation. Vegan Iron Chef was able to raise much-needed funds for the future.
In conclusion, very similar to Anderson Cooper, reporting live at the scene, and now you know in case you missed it, or if you ate too many tacos and were too full to remember, what happened. Â
Stay tuned for the next Vegan Iron Chef event…
Will Gregg bring his baby back?
Will Maeve find a way to incorporate kombucha cocktails?
Will raw food reign supreme?
Or will mushrooms and soy curls take over? Â
Only time will tell.
The teeny-tiny, 100% volunteer run Vegan Iron Chef organization would like to offer the following Thank Yous! Staring with a big special thanks to new vegan-wonder-protein Beyond Meat, for donating so much greatness for our ‘Mystery Fillings’.
Check all our supporting companies out and show them some love:
Thanks to our host Julia Legume and everyone who attended and contributed to this sold out event!
If you’d like to get involved as a volunteer with organizing future events or helping out during one, please visit our Volunteer page.
On February 5, 2011, the record may have been broken for the number of hot vegan casseroles in one room at Operation Hotdish: Vegan Casserole Cook-off. This event was a fundraiser presented by Portlandâ€™s Vegan Iron Chef organization, and our space at Peopleâ€™s Coop was packed within a matter of minutes with hungry, patient vegans and more Pyrex than you can imagine.
Our three local vegan judges were Jared Ridabock of Homegrown Smoker Vegan BBQ, Suzette Fasching-Easton of Akemi Salon, and Morgan Grundstein-Helvey of Dovetail Bakery. They tasted each and every casserole, awarding their favorite the Judgesâ€™ Pick prize, while the audience collectively voted another their favorite.
We had a First Place Winner (below quote), a Runner Up and an Audience Favorite. The First Place Winning casserole was a Gnocchi Kickasserole by Millie Mills and Kevin Chambers:
“It was Kevin’s homemade gnocchi in a creamy, spicy, kinda smokey sauce. Then we added tempeh bacon, grape tomatoes and green onions. Oh, and it was baked with a breadcrumb & sesame-seed-parmesan topping.” — Millie Mills
Hard to believe that anyone had extra room in their bellies after all those casseroles, but The (Vegan) Caterer Josh Raymondâ€™s table was wiped clean of tahini tofu wraps, cinnamon swirl bread, and mini Boston cremes.
Photos provided by Stephanie Christianson