Meet the Twin Cities Vegan Chef Challenge Committee!

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

Dustin Cahill

What is your role on the TCVCC committee?
I help put the website together amongst other TCVCC committee duties.

What are you most looking forward to about the challenge?
Seeing the creative dishes restaurants put together for the challenge.

What do you like to do when you’re not working on the challenge?
I’m a big reader, love watching movies from across the world, and being outdoors.

What are two tips you have for eating out while vegan?
Don’t waste food and keep your mouth closed while you chew.

Clara Junemann

What is your role on the TCVCC committee?
Social Media Coordinator / Restaurant Outreach

What are you most looking forward to about the challenge?
Planning for the TCVCC has been an amazing experience and I cannot wait for the challenge to begin! I am most looking forward to connecting with and supporting local businesses around the Twin Cities area. I think this challenge shows how influential and vital small businesses are within each community, and the importance of supporting them while advocating for a vegan lifestyle. 

What do you like to do when you’re not working on the challenge?
When I’m not working on the challenge, you can find me studying and planning for my senior year of high school, playing the piano, taking a walk through the park or volunteering my time with other nonprofits, among other things. 

What are two tips you have for eating out while vegan?
– Check the restaurant menu beforehand! It helps to minimize any stress you may have and see what options they already have.
– Don’t be afraid to ask your server! Most restaurants are very kind and willing to make their dishes vegan.  

Laura Matanah

What is your role on the TCVCC committee?
Helping to make it even better in its second year! I’m so appreciative of all who are on the committee this year. I also want to give a shout out to last year’s committee who got it off the ground: Phil Martens, who brought us the idea, and made it a reality last year along with Dustin Cahill, Jodi Gruhn, and Emily Nyberg. And my specific role is helping to bring influencers on board to promote the challenge.

What are you most looking forward to about the challenge?
The food, of course. So fun to get so many new dishes to try! In the bigger picture, it’s enormously satisfying to see restaurants keep items on the menu after seeing diners’ enthusiasm, and to know the difference that makes for animals over the course of hundreds to thousands of servings over time.

What do you like to do when you’re not working on the challenge?
I’ve been doing more cooking at home lately, enjoying the Vegan Recipe Club and an informal club we have with a friend. My latest discovery is what a good sandwich topping two parts cilantro and one part mint is.

What are two tips you have for eating out while vegan? 
First, check out the many places with vegan options, especially restaurants with specific ethnic cuisine. I’m excited we have both Namaste and The Naughty Greek in this year’s contest as early bird registrants. Secondly, it’s worth specifying that you want dishes vegan even if they’d appear to be so. I was just ordering a hummus and pita sandwich, which would seem unquestionably vegan, but when I specified I wanted it that way the chef came out to tell me the pita had milk in it! They subbed a different bread for me with no animal products. I was glad I’d said something!

Yosan Worota

What is your role on the TCVCC committee?
My role is to communicate with potential and participating restaurant competitors. 

What are you most looking forward to about the challenge?
Aside from the fun and friendly competition, I am excited to see the diners’ votes!

What do you like to do when you’re not working on the challenge?
I am currently using my free time planning for the upcoming semester.

What are two tips you have for eating out while vegan?
Asking local vegans is a great source of information, but also don’t forget to try out vegan meals beyond your regular cuisine!

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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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