Tagged: Lone Star Vegetarian Chili Cook-Off

Better Know an Austin Vegan:

Brendan Good, Event Coordinator & VNA Communications Director

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Brendan Good, Event Coordinator & VNA Communications Director

Author’s note: This is the second entry in an occasional ongoing series.

Brendan Good is a busy man. As Communications Director for the Vegetarian Network of Austin, he’s responsible for co-organizing twice-monthly meet-ups for the long-running group, as well as heading up their podcast and quarterly newsletter. He also helped create the VegATX.com portal, a comprehensive event calendar that can also be seen on this very blog. On top of all that, he co-organizes the Lone Star Veggie Chili Cook-off (which a certain blog team did quite well in, by the way) and the semi-annual Gathering of the Tribes, Austin’s largest vegan potluck – the spring version of which is being held tomorrow, on Earth Day weekend. All are encouraged to come down to Pease Park, chow on some great food, hear some speakers and live music, and get in touch with the rest of the vegetarian community.

After months of full schedules (mostly him) and flat-out procrastination (mostly me), Brendan and I sat down on a warm Austin December day to chat. Add a few more months of procrastination by yours truly, and it’s finally up. Brendan and I discussed his background, his involvement in event coordination, and ways to help bring our large community together. Since the interview was more of a two-way discussion – it was also being recorded for the VNA podcast – I have edited it heavily for the sake of brevity. Enjoy.

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Chili Cook-Off Victors!

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It’s two days later, and we’re still coming down from the high of winning the Lone Star Vegetarian Chili Cook-Off, or maybe it’s the pre-chili cook-off breakfast of coffee and multiple donuts that is finally wearing off – either way, we’re super excited to tell you that WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS! The Red Hot Vegans rockin’ chili team was so lucky to have our awesome team leader Cassandra led us to not one, but two victories!

We are the champions!

Trophy number one is for our stellar booth design. We eked out a win over Vegeria, with our board full of totally legit praise for our awesome chili. (We had Mother Teresa and Roger Ebert in our corner – how could we lose?) The second glorious trophy is for the best traditional style chili, which was chosen in a blind tasting by some really rad judges.

Cassandra and Dan dancing their way to victory!We knew our chili was pretty darn great, but we were honestly surprised that we won an award we didn’t have to bribe people for. We thought we were much more likely to win the people’s choice, as we were sneaking people free beer, and winning over the crowd with our awesome dance moves. Clearly the Austin Food Blogger Alliance (which we happen to be members of), had better bribe tactics, as they swept up the people’s choice award and the best all-veg chili award. In summary, bloggers are the best chili makers. That’s a fact.

For more pictures of our not-so-humble conquest, check out our chili cook-off gallery.

The 24th Annual Lone Star Vegetarian Chili Cook-Off

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Nothing says “Texas fall” quite like a big bowl of warm chili. As the calendar stretches into its later months, as the days grow darker and the mercury (eventually) drops to a brisk temperature, the body begins to crave that familiar, hearty comfort food. Of course, most chili contains ingredients that any vegan wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole, but thankfully, that’s not a problem here in Austin. We know how to do it right: vegan-style!

The Lone Star Veggie Chili Cook-Off is an all-vegan statewide event that has made “keeping chili weird” a decades-long tradition, bringing teams from all over Texas to compete since 1989. After migrating around the state for much of its run, it settled in the Austin area in 2004, and has been here ever since. In fact, this year marks the return to its original site at the Burnet Road Farmers Market, after spending the last couple of years in Round Rock. We’re psyched to have it back in town!

This year’s event will keep the tradition going strong. If this is your first time, the event’s website explains how it works:

“People will move from team to team, tasting and judging the chilis for themselves to determine the People’s Choice award of $200, while a group of judges, many of them Austin and Texas celebrities and personalities, judge the four winners of Best Chili in two divisions. The “All Veg” division will be for chilis made with only vegetables, while the “Traditional” division will be for chilis that contain a meat analog or substitute like seitan or tempeh. Second place in each division gets $150, and first prize in each division gets $250!”

A full 23 teams are set to participate this year. In an exciting addition to this year’s cook-off, one team from each category will also compete in a high-speed “Iron Chef”-like competition. Outside of the contest, vendors will offer other tasty treats to supplement the chili. Non-profits will also be there to raise awareness for various veg-related causes, and entertainment will be provided by Texas roots-rock group Tombstone Bullies.

Of particular note, this year will mark the debut of Red Hot Vegans as one of the competing chili teams! So you should come out for no other reason than to see us mowing down all the competition on our way to certain victory.

Last, but definitely not least, we would like to extend a heartfelt “thank you” to Stevie and Brendan for putting together the event this year. It really seems to be coming together and it wouldn’t have happened without you two. Thanks, guys!

The event will be happening tomorrow from 12-4pm. For more details, including purchasing tickets online, head over to the event’s website. Hope to see you there!