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