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 Portland’s Vegan Iron Chef organization, and our space at People’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 Judges’ 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 Raymond’s table was wiped clean of tahini tofu wraps, cinnamon swirl bread, and mini Boston cremes.
Photos provided by Stephanie Christianson