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Vegan Smackdown Challenge: Chef Veganizes Fine Dining

The Washington Post is highlighting one man’s mission to veganize fine dining, from broiled oysters to gourmet burgers.

Todd Gray, chef-owner of Equinox in D.C., has a newfound passion for creating delicious vegetable dishes, which has culminated in a monthly “Vegan Smackdown Challenge.

According to the article, “The concept of the smackdown is simple: Unlike most such challenges, it’s really an exhibition, not a competition. Gray asked several prominent chefs, including José Andrés, Todd English and Carla Hall, to give him a meat-based recipe of theirs that he could convert into a vegan version, featuring one on the Equinox menu each month.

So far, Gray has veganized several elaborate dishes, including reinventing the most popular burger at Good Stuff Eatery in D.C. with a quinoa and black bean patty, mushroom bacon, and tofu-based bleu cheese.

This challenge is inspiring other chefs to cook more vegan-friendly dishes as well. “Todd’s vegan challenge is definitely another push of creative inspiration, says Spike Mendelson, Good Stuff Eatery’s owner.

After finding out how animals are treated on modern farms, Gray’s wife and Equinox co-owner, Ellen Kassoff, has been the impetus behind the vegan dishes offered in their restaurant, and believes chefs have an important role in effecting change.

Animals on factory farms are treated as mere meat, milk, and egg machines, and their short lives are filled with misery and deprivation.

As this article makes clear, you don’t need to abuse animals for a delicious fine dining experience, and with all of the delicious vegan foods available, there’s never been a better time to ditch cruel animal products.

For savory and easy-to-prepare plant-based recipes, click here.