Another Seed Food & Wine Week is in the books, and thousands of omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans flocked to various Miami venues to eat their weight in plant-based food over the weekend.
The fest kicked off with Wednesday's Food Forward conference and Thursday and Friday's Seed Summit for content creators. At Thursday night's Plant-Based Burger Battle, several eateries from across the nation served their best veggie burgers to an eager audience. Arlo’s Food Truck from Austin, Texas, took home top honors.
Celebrity judges chose the Texas-based eatery's option as their winner. The fan favorite came from Fort Lauderdale's Green Bar Kitchen. Judges included vegan celebs TK Pillon, Bad Ass Vegan, Dom Thompson, Karla Dascal, Rich Roll, Marco Borges, Dr. Larry Rice, John Salley, and chef James Tahhan.
The runnerup was Love Life Wellness Center (which was the big winner last year), and third place was the Sanctum Cafe from Orlando.
The line at Arlo's stretched across the venue all evening while attendees queued up to try the popular burger.
Other competitors from across the nation were American Harvest, Chickpea & Olive, Crate, Dosha Cafe, Follow Your Heart, Green Bar & Kitchen/Field Roast, Holi Vegan, Oumph!, Plant B, Sunshine Burger, and Soul Tavern.
"We thought this year was amazing," cofounder Alison Burgos says of the festival. "The community was out in full force, and there were lots of new people who had never been before. The whole community was just lit up and engaged. We're in a place of just gratitude and real happiness."
Friday night's Best of the Best dinner — starring chefs Jason Sellers (Plant, Asheville), Christopher Slawson (Christopher's Kitchen), Mary Mattern (Nom Yourself), and Horacio Rivadero (Plant Miami) — was sold out, as was Saturday's Made in Miami: The Legends Edition dinner, with chefs Brad Kilgore (Alter/Brava), Giorgio Rapicavoli (Eating House and Glass & Vine), Chef James (Un Nuevo Dia, Telemundo), Nicole Votano (Charcoal), and Richard Fuentes (Nautilus Cabana Club). After dinner, guests were treated to a fashion show of animal-friendly couture.
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Festival day at Mana Wynwood was packed, with more than 5,000 attendees filling the massive space, Burgos says. Vendors included brands such as Daiya, Follow Your Heart, Tofurky, Bunnie Cakes, Parlour Vegan, Love Life Cafe, Wynwood Brewing Company, and dozens of others. Chefs took the stage for demos, and vegan celebrities such as Badass Vegan, Vegan Fat Kid, and Dom Thompson spoke about different topics.
"I know for the committee members and me and Michelle [Gaber] and Jeanette [Ruiz], we’re so proud to have had the opportunity to serve the community and be part of a conversation," Burgos says. "We're really grateful." About 9,000 people in all attended the various events, she says.
The weekend came to a close Sunday with a lively yoga session led by Dawn B at Wynwood's Sacred Space, followed by a meditation by Jennifer Grace and a brunch with bites such as fruit-topped coconut yogurt and pancakes with saffron/Meyer lemon crema.
Praising the positive response, Burgos promises the fest will return next year for its fifth installment.