When do they have time to cook?
The celebrity chefs to be featured at the 7th annual NYC Vegetarian Food Festival, May 20-21, wear a number of different hats… in addition to their toques!
Victoria Moran will present a talk entitled “Peace, Love & Vegetables: Food Choices and the Spiritual Life.” She started her career as a freelance magazine writer and has gone on to publish a number of best-selling vegan books, starting in 1985 with Compassion: the Ultimate Ethic. Her 2012 book, Main Street Vegan, is the basis of her company and outreach, including the Main Street Vegan podcast, Main Street Vegan Academy, and Main Street Vegan Productions. Her most recent book, published in 2015, is The Good Karma Diet.
Another festival presenter, Adam Sobel, is the chef and owner of The Cinnamon Snail, a celebrated all-vegan food truck which serves New York City and New Jersey. He is also the author of a book filled with stories of the trials and tribulations of running a food truck. Now, he also runs a brick-and-mortar eatery at the Pennsy Market in New York City.
Chef J.L. Fields will appear at the New York fest for the first time, after wowing crowds at recent vegetarian food festivals in Arizona and California. Her cooking demo and talk is called "The Vegan Air Fryer: The Healthier Way to Enjoy Deep-Fried Flavors." Fields is an author, culinary instructor, columnist, speaker, activist, and radio personality. She is also the founder and director of the Colorado Springs Vegan Cooking Academy, the vegan cooking chef-instructor at the University of New Mexico-Taos, and a brands consultant for a variety of national companies and food associations.
Ethan Ciment and Michael Suchman (aka the Vegan Mos) will let festival-goers in on how to make iconic New York dishes cruelty-free and even more delicious than their animal-inflected counterparts. Brooklyn egg creams, Reuben sandwiches, blintzes, brisket, and chicken soup… they’re all about to be “veganized.” When not in the kitchen, Ciment is a podiatric physician in private practice, while Suchman is a lawyer and a certified vegan lifestyle coach. Together they run the popular blog, VeganMos.com.
The Vegan Roadie himself, Dustin Harder, will also be on the festival roster. A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, Harder has traveled America searching for vegan restaurants and local markets; he shares his discoveries on his popular social media sites. He has also served as a recipe developer in test kitchens, worked as a theatrical dog-handler, and performed as an actor, singer and dancer.
“Modern Caribbean Cuisine” will be the focus of Taymer Mason’s presentation at the festival. Mason grew up in a family of cooks who taught her to make and love traditional Caribbean cuisine. After graduating from the University of the West Indies, she moved to France where she started veganizing old West Indian favorites. A food scientist, organic cosmetics developer, and bilingual globetrotter, she now lives in Toronto.
Another chef with multi-cultural cred is Jacques Laventure, known as The Naked Chef. His healthy dishes mix flavors from Texas barbecue, the Caribbean, and Haiti (where he grew up). Laventure is part of the Haitian Culinary Alliance, a global non-profit educational and networking organization. He gives back to the community by participating in health and fitness programs for underprivileged children in both Haiti and the U.S. His demo at the festival will feature kale salad.
Craig Cochran is the Chief Operating Officer of Terri, the premiere vegan restaurant brand with three locations in Manhattan. Patrons enjoy his cruelty-free versions of dishes such as the meatball sub and the bacon-chicken-ranch sandwich. Though Cochran gave up meat more than 20 years ago, he specializes in recreating his favorite dishes from childhood. In addition to presenting a cooking demo at the festival, his restaurant is the festival’s Pear Stage sponsor.
Another cooking demonstrator will be Teresa Grace who has more than 10 years of experience as a professional and personal chef. She has worked with Michelin Kitchens, James Beard Kitchens, and Great Performances Caterers. Her specialty is healthy, organic cuisine.
Rounding out the cooking demo stage will be Hannah Kulberg (sponsored by Better Beans), Marina Benedetto (speaking on the magic of mushrooms), and Yovana Mendoza (known as Rawvana, because of her emphasis on raw foods).
But there’s much more to the festival than cooking. Physicians, athletes, and animal rights activists will be among the other speakers. Additionally, 100 vegan vendors will be on hand sampling and selling their wares. Festival-goers will find everything from organic skin care products and vegan-themed tee shirts to plant-based cooking kits and handcrafted dark chocolate.
A special area of the festival will be devoted to children’s activities such as storytelling, art projects, scavenger hunts, and animal-pose yoga. Entertainment will include a performance by the Edward Morgan Ballet and two screenings of a new documentary short film.
For more information on the upcoming festival or to purchase tickets, please visit http://nycvegfoodfest.com/index.php.