Chefs & Managers

Invitation to Participate 2011:

We are recruiting top Sacramento chefs to participate in the first annual Sacramento Vegan Challenge during the month of October. Your establishment has been selected to participate in this challenge, brought to you by Sacramento Vegan Society members Bethany Davis and Robert Whitaker.

The Challenge – to think outside the “Meat Box” Chefs at each participating restaurant will be asked to create a vegan* entree in one or more of the following categories: Appetizer or Soup, Main Entree, and Dessert.

*Additional subcategories:  Best Presentation,  Most Creative,  Most Heart Healthy, etc.

Some restrictions will apply (noted below) to avoid common meal selections for vegan dishes – and to encourage greater creative challenge among our chefs! The contest will be publicized locally. In addition, updates will be documented via blog and other social networking sites including those targeted to the vegan/vegetarian, health/wellness, and environmental communities.

Your restaurant will be listed on all publicity materials as a participant, and linked on the blog. Photos of each of your challenge dishes will be posted on the blog as well. The public will be asked to eat at participating restaurants and vote on their favorite vegan dish in each of the categories. The voting and publicity will be managed by Bethany & Robert Whitaker. At the beginning of November, votes will be tallied and winners announced. Restaurants with winning dishes will receive a certificate from Sacramento Vegan Society for display, as well as a copy of the cookbook Great Chefs Cook Vegan, and, hopefully, many new loyal customers! Behind the Challenge Sacramento, especially midtown/ downtown, is renowned for its variety of savvy, quality dining establishments offering a diverse culinary selection and exquisite culinary experiences. However, creative vegetarian and vegan selections have been noticeably missing from several leading restaurants.

There is a growing dining community who crave delicious and thoughtfully-prepared vegan meals, for a variety of reasons including health, environmental concerns, factory farm issues, etc. In an increasingly health-conscious (i.e. following low fat/ low cholesterol, gluten-free, or dairy-free diets) and environmentally aware public (who connect the consumption of animal products to greenhouse gas emissions), healthful vegan options add greater choice and variety to any menu! 57% of all restaurant patrons “sometimes, “ “often,’ or “always” order vegetarian item when dining out (Zogby International) Sacramento has the opportunity to join this trend by offering quality veg-fare for this ever-growing demand, which will not only appeal to the local vegan/ vegetarian community (approx. 2-5% of the general population), but to “flexitarians” (described above) and “locavores” as well! While the greater Sacramento area lists approx. 59 “veg friendly” restaurants, most of these are Asian, Indian, Mexican, etc. Other establishments generally limit their vegan choices to veggie burgers or gardens salads. Sacramento does have 6-8 vegan/vegetarian restaurants that many enjoy, but these are generally “casual” fare establishments. Meanwhile, nearby San Francisco & greater Bay Area combined boast nearly 300 veg-friendly restaurants (including the highly-rated Millenium!), and even Portland, OR has close to 200! A quick glance at will showcase the number of vegan/ veg-friendly restaurants nationwide.




Page 2: Guidelines & Additional Details

Goal of the Challenge: 

Create an appealing, well-balanced, 3-course vegan meal to be included on your restaurant menu and offered to diners during the month of October, 2011.

 Entrees should ideally reflect a well-balanced meal, including protein, sides, vegetables, etc.

 Vegan = Nothing containing:  eggs, dairy, cheese, butter, poultry, meat (including seafood) and honey (many vegans do eat honey, but since some do not, we are including this on the list).   Also please avoid the following ingredients: whey, casein (milk proteins), albumin, gelatin, or glycerin (unless listed as plant-sourced).   Vegan margarine = Earth Balance brand.

Vegan primary protein sources = beans/ legumes, tofu, tempeh, seitan, mushrooms, nuts, seeds & nut butters, quinoa, potatoes,  greens, whole grains, etc.

Forbidden Fruit

There are several “default” dishes that appear in vegan cuisine.  Though we’re guessing Sacramento chefs will experiment and expand beyond traditional fare, we wanted to outline a few forbidden foods/dishes:

Category “Forbidden” Foods for this challenge:
  • Appetizer
  • Entrees:   Lunch, Dinner
  • Dessert
French Fries, hummus, raw vegetable plattersPortobello mushrooms & eggplant (as in sandwiches or steaks—but ok to use in other ways!), veggie burgers, pasta marinaraStandard chocolate cake (creative variations definitely ok!)

Resources for Chefs: We will email all participating chefs the link for a Vegan Restaurant Resource Guide to help you get started!

  • Resources & links will be available from our website effective August 20, 2011.
  • Please feel free to contact us for any additional questions or resources


  • Please RSVP to our organizing team by August 15.  First 10 chefs to RSVP will be our official participants!
  • We will begin advertising/ promotion & have website/blog site w/ links & resources up and running by August 20.  Your restaurant will be included on all promotional materials.
  • We will be available for questions, clarifications, etc. and provide further resources as needed during Aug.-Sept.
  • We will solicit media interviews/articles throughout September & October.  (i.e. for Sacramento Bee, SacTown, Sacramento Magazine, Edible Sacramento, SN&R, Midtown Monthly, etc.)
  • Please submit your menu ideas, with ingredients list, by Sept. 24.
  • October 1: Official Launch of 2011 Vegan Challenge!
  • Voting site will be open & monitored by our organizing team.
  • October 31:  Last day of 2011 Challenge
  • November 1-5:  Votes will be tallied; winners will be announced November 7.
  • Prizes & certificates will be awarded November 7-10, 2011.


April 2012
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