Meet the Twin Cities Vegan Chef Challenge Committee!

Meet part of the team behind this year’s Twin Cities Vegan Chef Challenge!

Piper Gartner

What is your role on the TCVCC committee?
I organize all the meetings for the TCVCC and make sure everything that needs to get done is done. Any random tasks that pop up I’ll do!

What are you most looking forward to about the challenge?
I am most looking forward to getting out of the house and trying all the meals these awesome restaurants have created.

What do you like to do when you’re not working on the challenge?
When not working on the challenge, I love to go up to my cabin especially during quarantine! Up north my family and I go mountain biking, wake surf, and just get to relax. It is a nice little getaway from all this craziness right now.

What are two tips you have for eating out while vegan?
– A lot of restaurants have vegan options but make sure to look at the menu before eating out. You wouldn’t want to go to a restaurant and end up not being able to get anything!
– When I first went vegan I started trying foods from a lot of different cultures like Thai, Japanese, Greek/Middle Eastern, French, Indian and Ethiopian food. These cultures have a lot of vegan options and it gave me ideas on different foods to make at home. It also added a lot more variety to my diet. 

Jodi Gruhn

What is your role on the TCVCC committee?
I work on restaurant recruitment and ads for the TCVCC.

What are you most looking forward to about the challenge?
I’m looking forward to restaurants reaping the benefits of adding or promoting plant-based menu items during the challenge! The vegan community LOVES food, spends money on it, and is highly motivated to share their food experiences with others. 

What do you like to do when you’re not working on the challenge?
I’m currently working on a health coaching certification hoping to use it to promote the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle. Professionally, I’m a marketer who most recently worked on healthy school lunch programs. 

What are two tips you have for eating out while vegan?
If you don’t see anything vegan on the menu, ask the server if there are any other options- usually the chef can prepare something for you. Also, it lets the establishment and chef know that plant-based menu items are in demand. 
Don’t be a jerk. If you have to order fries and a salad, do it. Let the establishment know you’d happily return if they had vegan options on the menu. You could even give them some suggestions!

Tamuno Imbu

What is your role on the TCVCC committee?
I outreach to restaurants email or walk-in to discuss the benefits and inform about TCVCC & CAA as a whole.

What are you most looking forward to about the challenge?
I am looking forward to which chefs and dishes they choose as well as taste as many as I can!

What do you like to do when you’re not working on the challenge?
I like to spend time with my kids and explore trails.

What are two tips you have for eating out while vegan?
– Try to look at the menu ahead of time and go with similar items you’ve ate at other places, nobody likes to try a new restaurant and get the wrong dish for starters.
– Always talk through the food dishes to ensure it does not have some ingredients listed that are not vegan friendly.

Sarah Matanah

What is your role on the TCVCC committee? 
I’m working on recruiting restaurants for the challenge.

What are you most looking forward to about the challenge?
I’m looking forward to trying new restaurants.

What do you like to do when you’re not working on the challenge?
I like to explore Minneapolis.

What are two tips you have for eating out while vegan? 
Tip: Find good restaurants and go to them. Avoid places that don’t have good food for us!

Emily Nyberg

What is your role on the TCVCC committee?
I am helping out with restaurant outreach, design and social media support, and the website.

What are you most looking forward to about the challenge?
I’m looking forward to trying challenge dishes and hearing what diners and restaurants think about this year’s experience!

What do you like to do when you’re not working on the challenge?
I like to travel, be outside, and cook.

What are two tips you have for eating out while vegan?
– If you’re planning on going out with friends or family, look ahead at the restaurant menus to see what you could order and call ahead to find out what can be made vegan on their menu.
– If you can help choose a restaurant with plant-based options on the menu already, even better! If you’re not sure what’s in your city or you’re traveling, visit HappyCow or do a quick search on Yelp or Google to see which restaurants are vegan-friendly.

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This year’s Twin Cities Vegan Chef Challenge runs August 1-31! Visit exploreveg.org/tcvcc to see who is competing this year and follow updates on Facebook and Instagram!

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Tuesday, September 15, 2020 - Tuesday, December 8, 2020

UMN Student Group Zoom Meeting

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

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Sunday, November 15, 2020

18th Annual Vegan Virtual ThanksLiving

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Vegan Recipe Club via Zoom

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Vegan Recipe Swap!