What do belly dancers, blind horses singing, a chef named Cricket, a vegan cupcake-eating contest, and weight-loss guru Dr. Neal Barnard all have in common?
Oh, just give up! And give in… to your healthiest and most delicious cravings, by attending the first annual New York City Vegetarian Food Festival, happening Sunday, April 3, at the Altman Building in Chelsea (135 West 18th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues), from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. A perfect excuse to introduce your veg-curious friends to the best of the best vegan offerings and information!
In addition to a plethora of vendors handing out yummy vegetarian and vegan food samples, the raffle prizes, and the information tables staffed by animal rescue organizations, there will be non-stop entertainment, lectures, and cooking demos on two stages. Not to mention the shmoozing and compassionate-hottie eye-candy!
The Yummylicious Schedule:
- First up on the Apple Stage will be Girlie Girl’s own Chloé Jo Davis in tandem with author Alexandra Jamieson. The duo will give everyone tips on vegan parenting. Following their presentation, Alex will sign her must-have books, including Vegan Cooking For Dummies and The Great American Detox Diet.
- Then stay tuned for “Meat-free vs. the Media,” a talk by National Gourmet Institute-trained Chef Cindi Avila. You’ve seen her on the Food Network, TLC, CBS, and her own cooking show, Green Goddess.
- The dynamic Jasmin Singer, co-founder of Our Hen House, will take the stage with a seminar on how to “Let the Doughnut Do the Talking: Food as Activism.”
- Blind horses trot onto the stage in the guise of Kathy Stevens, founder and director of the Catskill Animal Sanctuary. In the past 10 years, Kathy has saved more than 2,000 lives, as detailed in her book Where the Blind Horse Sings: Love & Healing at an Animal Sanctuary. She has heartrending and heartening stories to tell us.
- Another media star, Victoria Moran, will be on hand to give us “The Secret to a Healthy Life, Long-Term Weight Los, and Extended Youthfulness.” Direct from Oprah, Good Morning America, The Today Show, and NPR’s All Things Considered, she will be lecturing and signing her many books about veganism.
- If you’re a member of the Clean Plates society, you’ll want to pull up a chair for Jared Koch’s Q&A and nutritional advice. Jared graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and the Global Institute for Alternative Medicine. This health coach, nutritional consultant, and certified yoga instructor has some serious expertise in meditation.
- Then Doc Rob (aka, Rob Streisfeld), author of A Healthier Ever After, will deliver the latest buzz on Functional Fermented Foods. He insists FFFs are part of a culture revolution, and you’ll need to get in on the action.
- Keynote speaker Dr. Neal Barnard will let us in on his cutting edge research that has reshaped the treatment of diabetes. He’ll discuss the points in his book, 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart, in which he describes how people can break free from unhealthy habits within just 3 weeks.
- If you’re ready, a fearsomely grand threesome will present a panel on “Transitioning into a Balanced Vegan Diet.” The panel will feature culinary marketing consultant Amie Valpone, eco-lifestyle boutique owner Yoli Ouiya, and iEatGrass.com founder Chef Ayinde Howell.
- Meanwhile, over on the Banana Stage, there will be more fun stuff cooking. Teachers from Jivamukti Yoga will lead a yoga asana demo. Sweet Cheeks Vegan Bakery will sponsor a vegan cupcake eating contest. Not to be outdone, Sun-Well Doughnuts will sponsor a vegan doughnut eating contest.
- Especially for the 4- to 8-year-old set, Chef Cricket Azima will oversee a cooking class for kids wherein they will also learn about such far-flung topics as math and foreign languages. It’s all part of her holistic approach to cooking as detailed in her book, Everybody Eats Lunch.
- Are you developing a craving for vegan sushi? Executive chef Guy Vaknin and sushi chef Borgil Tsoomonz of Esprit Events will wow us with their demo entitled “Beyond Sushi.”
- And then if you are feeling more Latin or punk, hang around for the food demo by Terry Hope Romero, co-author of such books as Veganomicon, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and Viva Vegan!
- There will also be a gluten-free cooking demo by Amie Valpone, and an “Unapologetically Delicious Vegan Dessert for Everyone” demo by acclaimed pastry chef Fran Costigan.
But even if you have finally reached your limit on delicious eating, there is still more to do. Take in the belly dancing performance by Manhattan Tribal. This is New York City’s first American tribal-style belly dance company, directed by Mimi Fontana. Then the sweetly lyrical Maya Solovey will sing for us, converting a corner of the Festival into an intimate cabaret. It all wraps up with a raffle to benefit Empty Cages Collective, the animal and environmental advocacy organization. ECC aims to cultivate a culture where animals are recognized as fellow sentient beings worthy of respectful and compassionate treatment.
As you exit the Festival, you will be toting your purchases from the likes of Rescue Chocolate, Loving Hut, Liz Lovely, Gobo, Kombucha Brooklyn, Sweet & Sara, Wholesome Creations, and more.
And, Dear Reader, sit down, because I have saved the best tidbit for last. There is no admission charge. The New York City Vegetarian Food Festival is 100% free.
Now, type it into your calendar and get jazzed.
Learn more: nycvegfoodfest.com