The NYC Vegetarian Food Festival was a lively event! I met some nice representatives from companies at this festival such as Manitoba Harvest (a hemp foods company), Jyoti (an Indian foods company), Raaw Foods (makers of “It Tastes Raaw” beverage), TastyBite (local makers of prepackaged food pouches), Honest Tea (makers of iced tea and a new line of sparkling sugar-free fruity drinks) and tons more companies. Morning speaker Cindi Avila talked about what she covered as a news reporter in her early career as well as her wins (and losses) as a vegetarian chef contestant on a few reality TV cooking networks. She took the time to tell us her philosophy concerning the positive aspects of going veg to both humans and animals and took questions from the audience. My question concerned the ways to make tempeh taste good and Cindi answered with a few suggestions such as overnight marination. After the speech coincidentally I chatted with Jenné Claiborne, former actress and current mind behind Sweet Potato Soul and The Nourishing Vegan and board certified (American Association of Drugless Practitioners) holistic health coach and graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in right here in New York. Jenné told me she’s one of NYC’s tempeh queens! Then I told her I tried tempeh about half a dozen times in the past but always wondered WTF was I thinking; tempeh doesn’t taste good when it’s not seasoned or sauced up, as Cindi Avila mentioned, and that’s where I erred – trying to eat tempeh plain.
Today was a nice reminder that it’s not only about learning about the foods and drinks, but also about meeting health-conscious, like-minded people who are dynamic in the world of vegetarianism, veganism, etc. I liked that the festival also had the tagline of “Not Just For Vegetarians”, which makes it open to all, including flexitarians, omnivores getting ready to make the switch to veg, pescetarians and ovo-lacto vegetarians which is synonymous with vegetarian-but-not-vegan, etc. This festival also had tables for animal rights activists, and it was quite a nice surprise to see some of the brands I already eat and even some of my Twitter following as official sponsors of this event! Also present: Representatives from Google! They were there to provide awareness about Google+ Local, which, as you can guess, is a local-level Google service found within Google+ that allows you to create events online for free, invite people, sync with your Google calendar, etc. The reps from Google+ Local were only there in the morning due to another promo event prior commitment.
Apparently this was the second go-round for the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival. I was unaware of the first one in April of 2012. When I walked out, the line to get in was around the block! Stretching all the way east to 6th Avenue, and around the corner northward almost a full block. Check out this pic from Twitter!