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Vegan Chef Challenge | Vote for your favorite vegan items at these Charlotte area restaurants

Restaurants throughout the Charlotte area will feature special vegan menu items. Diners have the opportunity to go out, enjoy meals and then vote for their favorite.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Several restaurants across the Charlotte area are taking part in the first annual Charlotte Vegan Chef Challenge.

According to the food events coordinator for Vegan Outreach, Yuri Mitzkewich, with veganism becoming more and more mainstream, restaurants all across Charlotte are adding options to accommodate their growing number of vegan diners. 

"It's the first one we're doing here in, in the Queen City," Mitzkewich said.

The Vegan Chef Challenge began in 2010 when Eleni Vlachos noted the limited vegan options in Durham, North Carolina. Her omnivore friend, Chef Shirle, suggested, “Chefs love a contest. Make it a challenge.”

And thus the Vegan Chef Challenge was born. 

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Credit: Vegan Chef Challenge

Here's out the challenge works: During this time, restaurants throughout the Charlotte area will feature special vegan menu items. Diners have the opportunity to go out, enjoy meals, vote, comment, and post photos of the delicious vegan meals they have ordered. 

"At the end of October, we're gonna have like a kind of like a wrap-up and give out awards or prizes to the voters," Mitzkewich said. "It's gonna be fun." 

Click here to vote. 

Mitzkewich, when asked why promoting veganism is so important, said a lot of people are getting into it for their health. 

"It's very good for avoiding things like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, a lot of the most common things that people are getting sick with these days," Mitzkewich said.

He also stressed how important it is for the environment. 

"It's the most sustainable way to eat," Mitzkewich said. "And obviously really good for animals too. So it's a win-win." 

Mitzkewich said the Charlotte Vegan Chef Challenge is a great way to slowly introduce people to eating vegan.

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"A lot of the vegan foods that are being featured are just like really common things that you might think not think you could eat as a vegan," Mitzkewich explained. "So it's really common food that you're used to eating." 

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One of the participating restaurants, Sanctuary Bistro, said they are thrilled this competition will help spread the word about veganism. 

"We are not here to compete with the other vegan restaurants, we really work to promote vegan restaurants," owner Jennifer Jones Horton said.  

Jones Horton said they even have a "passport" of vegan restaurants that they hand to all of their customers. 

"It's a living document to help promote them," Jones Horton said. "We really want to help support our community and our greater community and the vegan community." 

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Jones Horton said this event is a great way to test how high the demand is for plant-based eating and vegan eating in Charlotte. 

"Not everybody might be vegan, a lot of people are switching to eating more plant-based," Jones Horton said. " And so I think this is a great way to test the waters and find out where the demand lies." 


Contact Meilin at mtompkins@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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