Vegan Chef Wins Omnivore Chili Cook-Off

Chef Mama T’s vegan chili won a Honolulu chili cook-off against two meat-based chilis. Her secret? She didn’t tell the judges that her chili was vegan until after the votes were in.

I can tell you from experience that people who don’t have a lot of exposure to vegan food tend to have preconceived notions about what it’s like. There’s an idea that vegan baked goods taste like sand, that vegan cheese can’t be creamy and satisfying and that vegan main dishes can’t rival ones with meat and dairy.

Mama T’s win proves that when you take the V-word out of the equation, vegan food can even win over the staunchest meat eater.

Chef Mama T's vegan chili won a Honolulu chili cookoff against two meat-based chilis. Her secret? She didn't tell the judges that her chili was vegan until after the votes were in.

She isn’t ready to reveal the complete recipe just yet, but Mama T did say that she used a few vegan meat alternatives, like wheat-based Field Roast sausage. She also spilled the beans about the most unusual ingredient in her recipe: roasted eggplant. Mama T told Vibrant Wellness Journal, “The eggplant added a sweet, creamy consistency that was indescribable.”

Mama T’s win isn’t the first time that vegan food has ousted animal-based dishes in food competitions. There have been a couple of winning vegan chefs on the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars. Chef Chloe Coscarelli and Doron Petersan both won the competition in different seasons against omnivore bakers. On Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen, vegan chef Kristina Addington beat out three omnivores and took home $18,500 in prize money.

I know that not everyone is ready to go vegan right this minute, but I think wins like Mama T’s and those Food Network competitors’ prove that vegan food can be just as satisfying as its animal-based counterparts.

If you’re ready to give plant-based eating a shot, even if it’s just for one day or even one meal, here are some Care2 resources to get you started:

Photo Credit: Pearlridge Farmer's Market Facebook Page


Son Y.
Son Y.2 years ago

Sounds lovely!

Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne Rogers3 years ago

Very cool. Thank you for sharing.

Sherry Kohn
Sherry Kohn3 years ago

Many thanks to you !

Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen3 years ago

Thank you

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Beth B.
Beth B3 years ago

HAHAHA! I did this same thing at a chili cookoff at a friend's home in September! I won first place (out of 5 submissions) with my white vegan "chicken" chili, but didn't tell anyone it was vegan with vegan chick'n until afterwards!

Monique C.
Monique C3 years ago

I learned not to tell people something is vegan. They will invariably hate it. If I say nothing, they love it. Same recipe each time. It's crazy.

Teresa W.
Teresa W3 years ago

I agree with C.O.

Teresa W.
Teresa W3 years ago

Heidi, she should have used human meat. (A silly reply to your silly comment, in case you don't understand irony.)

C Oliver
Coleen Oliver3 years ago

Heidi A. you are saying because she used 'fake' meat she cheated lmao... How is it cheating, she like all the others chose their own ingredients, i would doubt the rules stipulated the compulsory use of rotting flesh, she used an ingredient that was made by someone else? Helloooo unless they used their own arms and legs as meat the meat the others used was also made by someone else.. the animal.. no one else disclosed their ingredients before the the results so why should she....... get the over it, she won fair and square because her food tasted better! Plant based food is better tasting than dead bodies are, no contest.