Full admission, I was totally drinking wine during the saga that was San Francisco’s epic 2016 Vegan Iron Chef All-Stars Competition, however, trust me when I say that that only added to the impromptu dance party, mini cupcakes, palpable tension in the air, and the opportunity to taste some of the most mind blowing, award winning food possible from one of the most exciting, up and coming vegan Chefs. It was a pretty good night, plus I came out with 2 pats of Miyoko’s butter, yes, it is amazing, yes, you must try it asap!
The All-Stars competition pitted 2013 winner, Chef Lisa Books-Williams, against 2014 winner, Chef Jay Astafa and 2015 winner, Chef Kevin Schuder, along with their teams, for the coveted All-Stars title, and it was almost a close race.
The Chefs pushed through power outages, questioning sessions, a tight $100 ingredient budget and final countdowns enthusiastically yelled by the crowd. Wracked with anticipation, the audience sat through hunger inducing wafts from the cooking stations, eagerly staring at judge Colleen Holland of VegNews magazine, Dustin Harder aka The Vegan Roadie, and microblogger George Lin for any description and critique of the delicately prepared dishes.
Comments were consistent, wonderful job with the Jack Fruit secret ingredient, interesting twists with the mustard greens, and then BAM! The flood for compliments, and the delivery of one of the most coveted, This is the best dish of the competition! Total domination by one of the best Risotto dishes state side, produced by the New York’s wave making, influential chef Jay Astafa. We are talking creamy risotto heaven with a gentle dusting of blissful vegan parmesan, per the photos you can tell that I was not even able to physically smile any harder upon enjoying the creation #yum. Considerable time was taken by the judges whispering back and forth, negotiating who would be crowned as winner, and you guessed it, the title went to Jay Astafa and his ever diligent team!
If you find yourself in New York, I strongly recommend visiting Long Island’s popular 3 brothers Vegan Café of which Astafa is the creative force behind or order from Astafa’s premier plant based catering company called, PLANT. And if you were not at the 2016 San Francisco Vegan Iron Chef competition, make it out next year, you will love it!
Visit Jay Astafa's page http://www.jayastafa.com/