What: Vegan Iron Chef Competition After Party
Where: Backspace, Portland, Ore.
When: June 6, 2010
Why: To celebrate competitive vegan chefs!
The Scoop: Bragging Rights: I am the only staffer who resides in ultra-hip Portland, the number one vegan city in the country. Yes, Kokopelli dances regularly, but with such an established vegan community, the rain can’t dampen the attitudes and lifestyles here in progressive Portland.
A recent Sunday evening was no exception as Try Vegan PDX held their Inaugural Vegan Iron Chef Competition in front of a sold out audience of 125 drooling and envious on-lookers as they watched the five lucky judges sample appetizers, entrées, and desserts from three talented and skilled Portland chefs all vying to claim the title.
The esteemed chefs were Qausu AsaaseYaa, from Asaase Ital Palace, Wes Hannah of Blossoming Lotus, and Aaron Adams of Portobello. A secret ingredient that was to be integrated into every course was revealed to the chefs just 25 minutes before the cook-off and that coveted ingredient was—drum roll please—chocolate!
The announcers of the evening, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, author of Vegan with a Vengeance, and Michelle Schwegmann, co-owner of Herbivore Clothing Company, kept the masses entertained as the judges sampled to oohs and aahs and wrote down their secret scores. The event was live-streamed to an international audience of Portland WannaBes, rain and all, oohing and aahing from their dry couches.
After a close race and some tough decisions by the judges, Qausu AsaaseYaa, was crowned as the Winner of the Inaugural Vegan Iron Chef. Aausu graciously accepted the title for her three tantalizing dishes:
Caramelized Plantains And Chocolate Coconut Sauce With Micro greens
Chocolate Groundnut Stew With Onion Rice
Gari Peanut Candy Hearts With Cashew Chocolate Cream And Berries
After the nail biting competition, an after party was held at Backspace Café where Camping Party rocked the house and kept the vibe alive. Prizes were raffled off and appetizers for the food-deprived crowd were abundant. Wine donated by Hip Chicks Do Wine provided a close to a picture perfect cruelty-free evening.