The 2nd Annual Vendy Awards in New Orleans was on Thursday April 3rd, from 7:00pm-10:30pm at the Historic French Market. The event is now over - stay tuned for next year's event.
Meet the 2014 Vendy Cup Winner!
Chef/Owners: Benoit Angulo & Rachel Billow
Years in Business: 2.5 years
From: Venezuela & Chicago
Food served: Latin American
Specialties: Arepas, Tacos
What we want the world to know: Half French and half Venezuelan, Chef Benoit Angulo has been making arepas, a specialty on the food truck, since he was 9 years old. As a child, Benoit learned to cook French cuisine from his mother at home and Venezuelan cuisine at his friends' houses in Caracas, before his passion for cooking inspired him to attend culinary school as an adult.
Why we deserved to win the Vendy Awards: We serve delicious, gourmet Latin American street food that caters to everyone, from those in the mood for tasty tacos to more adventurous eaters interested in trying authentic Venezuelan fare such as arepas.
2014 People's Choice Winner!
Food Drunk Food Truck
Chef/Owners: P.J. Haines & Sean Lynn
Years in Business: 1 year (as a truck, but 18 years in catering!)
From: Both of us are from Cape May, NJ
Food served: Chef inspired, alcohol influenced cuisine
Specialties: King cake burger, angry pig, duck fat fries, seared ahi, crab crawfish mac n cheese
What we want the world to know: We love to eat and make people happy
Why we deserved to win the People's Choice: Hard work, dedication, sheer unadulterated passion for what we do.
2013 Winners & Finalists
Meet Our Fabulous 2014 Judges!
Jyl Benson is a writer specializing in Louisiana culture and culinary interests. She currently serves as a columnist for Avenue magazine and as a curator for The Southern Food & Beverage Institute. She contributes to several regional and national publications.
She began her editorial career in 1990 with The Times Picayune and served as a regional reporter covering the southeastern United States for both The New York Times and Time magazine. She wrote Galatoire's Cookbook: Recipes & Family History from the Time-Honored New Orleans Restaurant (Random House 2005) as well as several cultural, historical, and architectural guides to New Orleans. She served as Editor-In-Chief of Louisiana Cookin’ magazine from 2009 to 2011 and founded Louisiana Kitchen & Culture magazine in 2012.
She has also worked as an independent publicist and marketing consultant since 1996 with a specialty in Louisiana culinary and hospitality oriented businesses and was instrumental in conceptualizing and executing “The Galatoire’s Auctions.” Among the most legendary traditions associated with the celebrated New Orleans restaurant are those of the formidable lines outside the door before Friday lunch. Most notable are the Fridays before Christmas and Mardi Gras. Until 2006 loyal patrons or their proxies waited outside, sometimes for days at a time, in order to secure seating for these holiday luncheons. After Hurricane Katrina, during Mardi Gras of 2006, “the line” was replaced with a gavel and paddle, and the tableau of blanketed proxies in lawn chairs was replaced by two annual charitable table auctions. Since then, the Galatoire’s auctions have raised nearly a million dollars for a host of New Orleans charities.
Rien Fertel is a Louisiana-born and based freelance writer, professor, and historian. He has written on food and travel and books for Oxford American, Garden & Gun, Saveur, The Local Palate, and numerous other local and national publications. His first book, "Imagining the Creole City" is out in the Fall. He is presently writing a second, a travel-narrative about whole-hog barbecue—a vanishing American culinary art form—and the pitmasters who are keeping this tradition alive.
Andrew Gerson is a classically trained chef with 10 years experience in the culinary world as a cook, educator and activist. A graduate of the University of Gastronomic Sciences and an active member of Slow Food, Andrew's approach to food is based on supporting local food systems and celebrating good food and real beer. Currently travelling his way around the States with the Brooklyn Mash, Chef Gerson has collaborated with some of the country’s most innovative chefs, like Marcus Samuelson (NYC), Chris Sheppard of Houston’s Underbelly, from Sea Change in Minneapolis Jamie Malone, and Paco Roberts of NOLA’s DinnerLab. Throughout his travels Andrew has picked up new culinary ideas and shared his own from New Orleans to Boston and everywhere in between, bringing you farm-to-table cuisine steeped in regional flavors, with a dash of Brooklyn sprinkled in for good measure. Follow him on twitter and instagram @bklynhousechef for delicious Mash morsels.
Stacy S. Head
Vice President, New Orleans City Council
Councilmember Stacy Head was re-elected to the New Orleans City Council At-Large seat on February 1, 2014. She was first elected to the Council At-Large seat on April 21, 2012. She was elected as the District “B” Councilmember in May 2006 and re-elected in February 2010. During her six-year tenure as District “B” Councilmember, blight reduction, affordable housing, commercial & neighborhood revitalization, public safety, and government reform & transparency were among her top priorities. As an At-Large member, she continues to pursue these important quality of life issues and good government initiatives on a City-wide scale.
Councilmember Head is a graduate of Louisiana State University receiving a B.A. in Political Science in 1991 and a Juris Doctor in 1995. Prior to her tenure as a member of the Council, Head worked as an attorney for Stanley, Flanagan & Reuter, LLC focusing on litigation matters before Louisiana state and federal courts and managing small business transactions.
Poppy Tooker is a native New Orleanian who has spent her life immersed in the vibrant colors and flavors of her hometown. Poppy produces and hosts the weekly, one hour “Louisiana Eats” on WWNO FM and NPR affiliates throughout Louisiana. Additionally, Poppy appears weekly on New Orleans PBS affiliates arts and entertainment show, “Steppin Out.” She has participated in several global documentary projects, enlightening the audience with her perspective on food and foodways.
In addition to Radio and TV, Poppy is an accomplished cook book writer and print journalist. In 2009 Poppy published Crescent City Farmers Market Cookbook which won a Tabasco Cookbook Award and was named New Orleans Magazine’s Cookbook of the Year. Poppy also contributed the foreword and provided a 21st century update to one of the first New Orleans cookbooks, “Madame Begue’s Recipes of Old New Orleans Creole Cookery,” and Poppy's latest book, named for her popular NPR affiliated radio show, "Louisiana Eats" was named Book of the Year by the Louisiana Library Association.
If you happen to miss her in the radio, television, or print, you can find Poppy Tooker annually on the Food Heritage Stage at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival., where she delights audiences with her authentic rendition of Louisiana classic dishes.
In 1999, Poppy brought the international Slow Food Movement to New Orleans founding the local chapter, which was one of the first in the United States. Coupled with her motto “Eat It To Save It,” Poppy was instrumental in the revitalization of several local foods such as Creole cream cheese and rice calas. Poppy Tooker’s dedication to the preservation of local foods and social justice has resulted in her being the recipient of several prestigious awards and recognition.
Elizabeth (Liz) Williams is the Founder and President of the SoFab Institute. Liz became determined to integrate her love of food and history and was amazed that the South did not have a museum dedicated to its extraordinary and unique culinary traditions. Recruiting nationally recognized chefs and industry leaders to serve as the Board of Directors, SoFAB opened its doors in 2008, overlooking the Mississippi River in downtown New Orleans.
A graduate of Louisiana State University Law Center (JD), Liz has served in the U.S. Army as a Judge Advocate General (JAG), and has practiced law in Washington, D.C. and Louisiana. Much of her research and writing centers on the legal and policy issues related to food and foodways. Liz consults on issues of nonprofit management and governance, as well as public/private partnerships, intellectual property and publishing. She has written about these matters in her books, “The A to Z Encyclopedia of Food Controversies and the Law” (2010) and “New Orleans: A Food Biography” (2013).
Liz also served for five years as the President & CEO of the University of New Orleans Foundation, during which time the foundation established and opened the world acclaimed D-Day Museum (now the World War II Museum), the Nims Center, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, a 33-acre research park, and several other projects including the UNO Press.
Liz considers herself lucky to have been born into a family of Sicilian heritage in New Orleans and grew up eating dishes derived from two strong food traditions. Fascinated by the way the lure of nutmeg and peppercorns motivated the exploration of the world, Liz remains a passionate worldwide traveler with an ongoing mission “to eat new food in new places.” Liz frequently serves across the U.S. as a judge for food festival events... a difficult job but someone has to do it!
In it's 10th year anniversary in New York, with events in LA, Philadelphia, and Chicago, the Vendy Awards are once again returning to New Orleans! At The Historic French Market on Thursday April 3rd we will determine the best street food vendor in New Orleans while raising money for the New Orleans Food Truck Coalition (NOFTC) . The Vendys are an intense cook-off between the best sidewalks chefs in the city and a fundraiser to support culinary entrepreneurs and the sustainable food movement!
WHERE & WHEN?
At The Historic French Market on Thursday April 3rd, starting at 7pm (sharp!).
The entrance to the event is at Barracks Street between French Market Pl & N. Peters St. Directions here.