VEGFEST 2015 // open-minded omnivore parties with vegans

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VEGFEST 2015 happened. The festival took over the Metropolitan Pavillon last weekend and the building was filled with vegans, vegetarians and yes, omnivores (just like me)!

VENDORS. I walked around the venue and it felt as if there were only vegan vendors selling their hummus, quinoa puffs, tortillas, etc., and well, that’s because all vendors  were 100% vegan. No animal products whatsoever.

Vendors that stood out to me were COCOBURG, a Brooklyner who dehydrates coconut meat into jerky- I mean, that’s simply genius. NOTMILK, two sisters who created a nut-based milk in East Harlem with the help of Hot Bread Kitchen. TERRANUTS, a family-run company that created a cold-pressed, gluten-free, dairy-free, superfood snack that is perfect to add to smoothies or to eat right before a workout to sustain your appetite. Nut Punch version is 92 calories, 4g protein- can you say pre-soulcycle snack?

WANNA BITE? So fellow Chef Angie Bilotti (@alchemykitchem) and I were touring the upstairs area and someone asked us if we wanted a bite of their vegan hotdog. When I saw a long line for the stand, I took him up on his offer and tasted it… but I didn’t realize I was getting filmed until he started talking to me about veganism- I mean, there’s always a catch haha.

THE INTERVIEW. So I chose not to comment on the taste of the hotdog, so he continued to ask me whether or not I was vegan. I smiled and proudly stated that I was an omnivore and enjoy all types of food including vegan, meat and vegetarian dishes. He wasn’t impressed. So he asked me if I knew how pigs were treated and I said, “Yes. I love and support my Union Square Greenmarket Farmers who raise their animals humanely.” His response to that was, “my friend says factory farmed meat tastes better than farmed meat,” and I was surprised he would admit to having “friends” that shared those beliefs, but I kept that comment to myself haha. It was a fun convo to stand up for farmers who are making a difference, but I’m not sure my bit will make the cut- LOL!

STAGE TALKS. VegFest hosted a variety of talks over the two day festival on four different stages and the Natural Gourmet Institute, who sponsored the Pear Stage dominated their presentations. They invited great speakers, prepared delicious recipes and packed the house with eager home cooks.

OVERALL. I loved discovering some new vegan products on the market (made with whole foods and ingredients), seeing my friends demo on-stage and tasting delicious recipes; but I have to say that I experienced some intense vegan moments. As I sat in on some lectures that focused on cruelty, I realized there weren’t any speakers to defend farmers who are raising happy, healthy animals. Instead there were books like these.


 

In an article hosted by the NYC Vegetarian Food Fest website, it says, “Although the name might suggest that the fest is geared only toward those who abstain from meat, this isn’t actually the case. According to the festival organizers, the event is for pretty much everyone. “Foodies, locavores, vegetarians, vegans, flexitarians, and those who simply want to find out more about living a healthy, sustainable lifestyle, this is the festival for you! Vegetarian food companies, restaurants, and health and wellness vendors will congregate in New York City to celebrate the delight of vegetarian food and cruelty-free living at the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival.” I mean, cruelty-free living can include farmers who raise farm animals too. What do you think?

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