I was thrilled to once again speak at the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival this past Sunday. I, again, talked about how vegetarians or vegans (what I call the meat-free movement) are portrayed in the media.
Last year was the first year for the festival. It was a hot event from the start. Lines wrapped around the corner and it was only one day long. So this year the festival was in a bigger venue, at the Metropolitan Pavilion on 18th Street. It was also two days long. Even in the bigger venue and with two days, it was still packed! It makes you think there could be a vegetarian/vegan market this size operating everyday in NYC and it would still be busy.
There were many highlight this year for me. One was finally getting to meet Sara Sohn from Sweet and Sara face to face. Her vegan marshmallows are one of my favorite products and they are quickly becoming one of most popular marshmallows on the market. They have been in Whole Foods for awhile, but they just hit the shelves in several Duane Reade stores also. Run don’t walk to try these. I eat them alone or use them in baked goods, etc. I even featured them on this Fox 5 segment on 2012 food trends.
I also was glad to see Teese Vegan Cheese back. I bought some last year at the festival, but haven’t seen it in any of the stores where I shop. I just learned it may be at Westerly Natural Market though, so I’ll look for it there. I love this cheese because I think it melts better than most vegan cheeses other there.
A special thanks also to Honest Tea. I forgot to bring water to hydrate before my speech, so I was searching the festival for a beverage. A nice girl at the Honest Tea booth gave me one of their teas and it hit the spot!
My favorite part of the festival was, of course, giving my speech. There was a huge crowd this year and the stage was open to the entire festival. It was quite intimidating, but fabulous at the same time.
I talked about how I’ve made it my mission to get the vegetarian message out to the masses. From culinary school at the Natural Gourmet Institute, to my appearances on the Food Network, TLC, etc. to my spokesperson work for Lightlife. I’ve been very clear that I am in this career to make a difference. I am trying to educate more and more people everyday about how great it is to live your life meat-free. I mentioned how the media is a huge influence on this movement. I also gave a shout out to Ellen Degeneres. I give Ellen major credit for talking about her vegan diet on her show. It has caused a lot of people to go vegetarian or vegan! I only wish to have a fraction of her influence.
One of the best moments of my speech was at the end when I was taking questions and this cute little boy stood up to tell me that he loves vegetables so much, he even has stuffed vegetables at home that he plays with!
All in all I applaud the great gals behind the festival. It’s amazing that they have put together such a popular event. Can’t wait for next year’s festival!
Oh I also want to say a special thanks to One Green Planet. They sponsored the stage I spoke on!