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The Great Veggie Cook-off

BY HELENA SIMPSON | MAY 2019

Our first ever Veggie Cook-off

The competition winners were overjoyed by the reactions from our audience and panel of judges, after tasting their delicious winning vegan dish. You missed out if you didn’t attend, but there’s always next time.

Croydon SDA Church held its first ever Great Veggie Cook-off on 26 May 2019 in support of National Vegetarian Week, with three home chefs competing in one of three categories for one of three prizes: (1) Best dish in category (starter/main/vegan dessert), (2) People’s Choice Winner, and (3) Grand Veggie Home Chef.

The task

Each contestant had the task of either:

  • transforming a regular everyday dish which usually uses meat or fish as a main source of protein, replacing it to create a vegetarian or vegan dish;
  • transforming a classic vegetarian main or starter into a vegan dish; or
  • transforming a desert into a vegan dish.

The contestants

The contest kicked off with each contestant being quizzed on why they chose their items, and at this point you could imagine you were a part of that very British TV show ‘Bake-Off!’.

Leslene Pete-Brown chose to go with a savoury dish, and with no other competition in this category it seemed a safe option, but would the audience favour this over two sweet dishes that made your mouth water just reading the descriptions? It was too early to tell.

Teenager, Theodore Gervais selected the classic and much-loved sweet treats, brownies! He adapted his recipe using only vegan ingredients and would dress the warm brownies with a creamy Coconut Collaborative Yoghurt (yum!). How could anyone beat that?

Annadine Atkinson had little time before the event to decide what she would make, but chose a cake that is very fond to her, and one that she has spent much time perfecting, although making it vegan was a new twist to her famous Christmas Cake. The ingredients laid out on her station were testament to how much love, care and attention would go into this cake.

The audience

While the competitors were busy preparing their cakes and dishes, the audience members were asked questions about health to raise awareness and those with the right answers who were first to raise their hands were gifted with wonderful kitchen appliances, that encourage healthy at home cooking. There were several vendors at the event, selling vegan cakes, popcorn, freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices, The Body Shop products, Aloe Vera products, art, clothes, shoes and warm street foods like Roti and Channa. 

Finally, the competitors were putting the finishing touches onto their masterpieces, and the crowds started to gather around with the sweet-smelling aromas that floated through the church hall. With mouths watering and eagerly awaiting Judges looking on, the competition was over. The tasting commenced, with audience members going back and forth between the three stations, some with second and third helpings. Just enough to make us all want more, and soon it was all gone.

The results

The dishes were judged by 3 Judges on presentation, taste and performance; all other guests in attendance were also given the opportunity to vote for their favourite dish in each category and favourite overall dish. Voting commenced, and the time had come to count and reveal who would be the winner of the May 2019 Great Veggie Cook-off.

The winner of the Grand Veggie Home Chef, voted by the panel of judges was Elder Leslene Pete-Brown! Congratulations to a well-deserved winner, who had us all amazed by how much flavour her dish gave with only a pinch of salt to season.

Winners by category voted by the people, were:

Main

  • Winner –  Leslene Pete-Brown

Dessert

  • Winner – Annadine Atkinson
  • Runner up – Theodore Gervais
The 3 veggie cook off contestants

We hope there will be even more of you attending the next competition, but a great time was had by all who were there.

The credits

The Great Veggie Cook-off event was graciously hosted by The Health & Lifestyle Team in collaboration with Social Team and assistance from our panel of judges Maureen Simpson, Doriel Benjamin and Nerry John. The three competitors were Elder Leslene Pete-Brown, Theodore Gervais and Annadine Atkinson.

Special thanks to those who helped make the day possible:

  • Health Team & Social Team collaboration
  • Judges: Doriel Benjamin, Maureen Simpson & Nerry John
  • All cake donors for the cake sale
  • Camera & Media production: Helena Simpson, Gail Henry, Clive Coutet Snr, Dominic Augustus and Civan Rennock
  • All supporters who attended, tasted and voted