Meet the 2020 Vegan Chili Cook-Off Planning Committee!

Meet part of the team behind the 11th Annual Vegan Chili Cook-Off!

Stefanie Amundsen

Stefanie with Otis, a resident of Farmaste Animal Sanctuary

What’s your role on the Chili Cook-off Committee?
I’ve been helping out with the event’s publications (creating promotional posters, contacting the press, etc.)!

What else have you been up to this winter? 
Over the holidays, I traveled home to Wisconsin and was able to spend plenty of time with friends, family, and my precious twin cats. I’d say the best part of the winter has been braving the cold to travel locally, especially to Milwaukee to experience my first cat café and to Chicago to see my first musical! Otherwise, I’ve been doing lots of painting, journaling, and my mom has been teaching me sewing.

Do you have a favorite kind of chili, topping, or side?
The best chili that my family makes for my birthday every year is made with quinoa, corn, and beans! On top, I always add unsweetened coconut yogurt, nutritional yeast, and saltine crackers.

What helped you go veg?
When I switched to a plant-based lifestyle, what helped most was to share all the veg deliciousness with friends and family. I went on a binge of searching for great vegan recipes before I made the switch, so once I did, I was cooking nearly every day to learn and try new things! My family started loving our dinners more than the non-veg ones and loved the daily variety and vibrancy we could get in our diets. Also, I always offer to host get-togethers for friends, so I can layout a huge dinner spread including the best recipes I’ve come across. Sharing is caring!

Annette Johnson

What’s your role on the Chili Cook-off Committee?
I am the Volunteer Team Lead. I’m also interning with CAA right now and initially got involved as a volunteer.

What else have you been up to this winter? 
This winter I have just been working, getting my school work done, and staying warm! I recently took up snowboarding and have been enjoying that.

What’s your favorite outreach event outside of the chili cook-off?
My favorite outreach events outside of the chili cook-off are food giveaways! I love trying the food we give to people who are not aware of vegan food.

Do you have a favorite kind of chili, topping, or side?
My favorite kind of chili topping is vegan shredded cheese!

What helped you go veg?
What helped me go veg is knowing how eating plant-based/vegan diets benefit our environment. One tip I would give others is to find resources! You can make a vegan diet very easy, fun, and yummy if you put some time into it at first!

Abby Medberry

What’s your role on the Chili Cook-off Committee?
I am the Volunteer Coordinator for the chili cook-off. I got involved after hearing about meeting Laura at the UMN CAA student group and she emailed asking if I was interested.

What else have you been up to this winter? 
Mostly working. I went home to Rochester for winter break where I work at Panera. 

What’s your favorite outreach event outside of the chili cook-off?
I really enjoyed our ThanksLiving event and also volunteered for that event. 

Do you have a favorite kind of chili, topping, or side?
I always eat bread with soup or chili. My favorites are sourdough and focaccia.

What helped you go veg?
I went vegan in middle school and the one tip I have is to encourage yourself at every step and celebrate your progress. Also, find some good vegan restaurants in your area!

Kerri Newcomer

What’s your role on the Chili Cook-off Committee?
My role in planning the cook-off involved coordinating with the Student Unions and Activities office to make sure our event space is set up correctly, all permits were filled out, and the reservation was good to go. 

What else have you been up to this winter? 
Over winter break, I hung out with family and friends from home and went rock climbing, hiking, and played video games. I also spent a lot of time with my pet rabbit, Karter, and a rat named Oscar that I was taking care of for a friend.

What’s your favorite outreach event outside of the chili cook-off?
I’m a big fan of the Halloween and Valentine’s Day student group bake sales.

Do you have a favorite kind of chili, topping, or side?
My favorite chili topping is crackers.

What helped you go veg?
Something that helped me go vegan was watching a lot of (easy) vegan recipe videos. I had never really cooked before and the food looked so good. A tip I have for anyone looking to go vegan is if you do try a whole bunch of new recipes, keep in mind that for most things, not everything has to be perfect. If you’re missing an ingredient or two, it’s usually not a huge deal. Also, if something turns out bad, it’s not a big deal. It happens. Don’t let that discourage you.

Volunteers make the Chili Cook-Off happen (and they get in free)! Sign up here to get involved as a volunteer or get your ticket here to this year’s cook-off. See you on Saturday, February 8 at 6:00 pm!

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Upcoming Events

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Vegan Recipe Swap!

Thursday, April 2, 2020

CAA UMN Zoom Meeting

Thursday, April 9, 2020

CAA UMN Zoom Meeting

Thursday, April 16, 2020

CAA UMN Zoom Meeting

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Vegan Recipe Club via Zoom