Sunday, September 18, 2011

Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival !

Last weekend was the annual Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival, and as always, I volunteered at the event, this year as a cooking demo food prep assistant. I met so many vegan cookbook authors and chefs! 
It used to be called "Vegetarian Food Fair", but now its officially a "Food Festival"!

Free yoga demonstrations, live music, talks, and more!

Some famous vegan chefs, cookbook authors and bloggers who came--

Lisa Pitman and Nicole Axworthy of the famous vegan food blogs 

Terry Hope Romero, author of  Viva Vegan and co-author of Veganomicon, Vegan cupcakes Take Over the World, and Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar cookbooks

Doug Mcnish, owner of Raw Aura restaurant 

Jae Steele, author of Ripe from Around Here cookbook

and so much more... ...

Oh yeah! Vegan bodybuilder Robert Cheeke was here too!!
 I was about to go to his talk, but fortunately I dared myself to take part in the "Vegan Iron Chef" contest hosted by Doug Mcnish during his cooking demo. Amazingly my team and I won the challenge and we got SO many freebies!

The contest started off with a trivia game, and if we get the question right, we get the item. I was lucky! My team happened to be a smarty-pants-about-nutrition-and-food team, so we got some pretty good ingredients (hemp seeds, nutritional yeast, sweet potatoes, tofu, kale, extra virgin coconut oil, tahini)
The other team got brown rice, peaches, and avocadoes. Hmm.

I went into "cooking competition mode" (I've been spending too much time watching Food network lol) and started planning what we were gonna make.
I was in charge of the tofu (yay!).

I decided to make nutritional yeast and hemp seed crusted tofu (although I've never made or tried it before.) Not only have I been watching Food Network, I've been spending wayy too much time reading recipe books hehehe...
Here's what I randomly threw into the batter (includes some other items available to us from the pantry)

  • nutritional yeast
  • hemp seeds
  • sesame seeds
  • ground cashews
  • paprika, black pepper, salt, oregano
  • veg broth (to make it become batter-y)
I pan fried it in coconut oil and surprisingly it turned out very well! Even Doug said it tasted good. 
(Watch out, world! Vegan chef in the making!)

Leftovers that I took home. They tasted very similar to KFC chicken :D
Jason Charette, my teammate, was in charge of the kale. He made a "kale-tahini" sauce. It tasted wrong at first (too much raw kale taste)! So I saved the day by suggesting he add brown rice vinegar, agave nectar, and some cashew. People were actually asking for the recipe! (obviously we didn't have any). The only reason I knew what to add to the sauce to make it taste better is because I've made too many things that tasted disgusting, and since it kills me to see food goes in the garbage, I had to keep adding random stuff to make them edible xP
As for the sweet potatoes, we just roasted them in the oven with some spices and olive oil. (but it tasted great!)
The amazing prizes that we won--
$25 gift cert for Raw Aura restaurant

Rume reusable bag 

Nourish tea (brown rice sencha)

and a (designer?) glass straw 

My team on the right, Doug in the centre, the other team on the left

It was after this awesome experience that inspired me to start this blog. One day I might even have my own vegan cookbook! But in the mean time, I'll keep you posted on some crazy fun stuff that I do, food that I've tried, and recipes that I've created. Can't wait!!

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