MEET THE 2014 WINNERS
We are proudly had finalists in 5 categories:
- Vendy Cup: Cinnamon Snail, Desi Food Truck, El Rey Del Taco, Lechonera La Pirana, and Nuchas
- Master Cup: Hallo Berlin, NY Dosas, Calexico, King of Falafel, Solber Pupusas
- Rookie of the Year: Big D's Khao Cart, Dub Pies - The Pie Truck, GoGo Grill, Shanghai Sogo, Snowday
- Best of Market: Bolivian Llama Party, Chickpea & Olive, Ramen Burger, Zha Pan Asian
- Dessert: Alchemy Creamery, Craffles Food Truck, Dough, Ice & Vice, Ricas Botanas Mexican
2014 VENDY CUP WINNER
Adam Sobel’s Cinnamon Snail has made a mark in NYC’s street food with their Organic sandwiches and Vendy-Award-winning donuts. Many customers are often surprised to find out that they are also all-Vegan as well (Adam might tell you his secret: the recipes used were stolen from the alien mothercraft by Will Smith… just after he shut down the mainframe, of course).
Other finalists included: Desi Food Truck, El Rey Del Taco, Lechonera La Pirana, and Nuchas
2014 PEOPLE'S CHOICE WINNER
After winning the 2013 Rookie of the Year, Ariel Barbouth is back with Nuchas to compete for the 2014 Vendy Cup title. Their scrumptious “The Argentine” empanada (with beef, peppers, potatoes & olives) is a perfect hand-held treat to get you through their Times Square location quickly (their Portabella also gets two thumbs ups from vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike). Ariel is proud to be living his vision to make gourmet on-the-go cuisine and hopes to eventually make the Argentinian-style empanada a staple in all cuisines
Other finalists included: Cinnamon Snail, Desi Food Truck, El Rey Del Taco, and Lechonera La Pirana
2014 MASTER CUP WINNER
Inspired at the first ever Vendy Awards in 2005, the Vendley Brothers and Peter Oleyer opened up their own food cart in 2006 and went on to win the Vendy Cup in 2008 with their Mexican/Southern BBQ-inspired food. Their upward trajectory has only intensified from there. Today Calexico has expanded into a fleet of restaurants and carts throughout the city, was named recently named Best Mexican by Zagat (and many other fans!)
Other finalists included: Hallo Berlin, NY Dosas, King of Falafel, and Solber Pupusas
2014 ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Snowday roams Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Governors Island serving maple syrup & French Canadian inspired food (think: maple syrup grilled cheese!). To put the cherry on top, Snowday is operated by Drive Change and is the first food truck social enterprise that hires, teaches and empowers young people coming home from adult jails and prisons so they can access opportunities and live crime-free, bright lives.
Other finalists included: Big D's Khao Cart, Dub Pies - The Pie Truck, GoGo Grill, Shanghai Sogo
BEST OF MARKET
Zha Pan Asian
Steven Luw and Heezy Lee, long time friends and drinking buddies, left their corporate jobs and teamed up a year ago to serve Zha Pan Asian's street food (think: Asian Fried Riceballs, Korean Chicken and Waffles) at Hester Street Fair, Astoria Flea and at Bryant Park. Their edge? They pour their hearts into serving their iteration of classic Asian comfort food to the people!
Other finalists included: Bolivian Llama Party, Chickpea & Olive, Ramen Burger
2014 BEST DESSERT
Ice & Vice
Kendrick Lo & Paul Kim specialize in handcrafted artisanal ice cream, sorbets and frozen yogurts. Made in small batches in Brooklyn, these cold treats use experimental, high-end flavor profiles and are making their mark at the LIC Flea, Astoria Flea and Brooklyn Night Bazaar!
Other finalists included: Alchemy Creamery, Craffles Food Truck, Dough, Ricas Botanas Mexican
2014 HERO AWARD
Another treat for this year’s awards will be the “Heroic Vendor Award,” which is back for its fourth year. The 2014 recipient is Baare Batchiri, who happens to be the first non-food vendor to receive the honor. Batchiri’s story made headlines when a homeless man stabbed him in the chest while he was working at his stand. Despite his extensive injuries, Batchiri was courageous enough to chase after the perpetrator into the subway and point him out to police. Since the incident, he has still managed to keep his generous and friendly nature, even toward the mentally ill man who almost killed him. Batchiri immigrated to the U.S. 10 years ago from Niger, and supports his family back home by selling cell-phone cases and appliances in SoHo.
Click on the year below to show past winners!
Alex Guarnaschelli has helmed the kitchen as executive chef of Butter Restaurant since 2003, where she brings New Yorkers a menu of eclectic American and green market-inspired fare. Alex has also worked in some of the world’s top restaurants including Guy Savoy’s eponymous Michelin three-star kitchen in Paris, Daniel in New York City, and Patina in Los Angeles. In addition to her restaurant work, Alex is a recurring judge on the popular prime-time series "Chopped" and a chef coach on "America’s Best Cook". In 2012, she won "The Next Iron Chef: Redemption" and joined the ranks of Kitchen Stadium’s Iron Chefs. Alex has also appeared on Food Network’s "Iron Chef America" as both a challenger and a judge. Alex released her premiere cookbook, Old-School Comfort Food: The Way I Learned to Cook (Clarkson Potter, 2013) in spring 2013, and has a weekly column on People.com.
Florent Morellet opened his eponymous restaurant in the Meat Packing District in 1985, when he took over a typical American diner and turned it into a French-American bistro. The restaurant soon evolved into an icon of “Downtown New York” and was the catalyst for transforming the neighborhood into an enclave for chic urban hipness. To maintain a balance between the old and new, Florent co-chaired Save Gansevoort Market, the coalition of community leaders dedicated to preserving the neighborhood's character (they won landmark designation for it in 2003). Having traveled the world with his family at an early age, Florent is fearless about eating the food from street vendors and, after closing his restaurant, was appointed to Community Board 2 by the Manhattan Borough President. Over his five-year tenure, he served on the Traffic & Transportation Committee, as well as on the Street Activity Committee, where he openly supported the need for more street food.
Alicia Quarles is always in the mix with her reporting for E! News, from covering Super Bowls to Inaugurations to the Academy Awards and Fashion Weeks. On top of this, Alicia is also a regular on the Today Show and MSNBC. Alicia often incorporates two of her passions into her work: fashion and fitness. Alicia hosts a number of E! network specials such as, “Secrets of Fashion Week” and “Closet Envy.” Alicia is a daredevil who is down to do outside of the box segments in the name of health, from doing yoga while hanging upside down in ropes, taking on some of the NY Knicks in a game of horse, to battling “Top Chefs” in healthy cook-offs.
Adam Richman grew up in the food Mecca of New York City and began his love affair with food early on, sampling all of the diverse culinary specialties The Big Apple offers. In 2008, Adam began hosting the Travel Channels highest rated show, “Man v Food”. Adam also hosted and co-executive produced “Man v Food Nation” and “Adam Richman’s Best Sandwich in America”. His most recent show “Fandemonium”, premiered July 2013. In 2014, Adam will host both NBC’s new food competition show, “Food Fighters” and the Travel Channel's "Man Finds Food”, where Adam will be on the hunt to uncover the most unique, surprising and delicious hidden food treasures in every town. Adam is currently working on his first cookbook “Straight-Up Tasty” (Clarkson Potter), due out spring 2015.
Sarah Simmons is the founder and chef of CITY GRIT, a culinary salon in Nolita, and has earned several impressive accolades, including: “America’s Greatest New Cooks” by FOOD & WINE, “100 Most Creative People in Business" by Fast Company, and for running “One of the 25 Most Innovative Restaurants in the Country” by Zagat (2014). Simmons’s CITY GRIT provides a platform for chefs from around the world to showcase their talents to a New York audience in addition to ever-changing menus of her own creation. Sarah has hosted and cooked alongside award-winning and emerging chefs, including Sean Brock, April Bloomfield, Marc Vetri, Paul Qui, Cathy Whims, Jon Shook & Vinny Dotolo, and Mike Solomonov. In the fall of 2014, Sarah will open Birds & Bubbles, a full-service restaurant in NYC serving elevated southern dishes.
Maria Torres-Springer (Commissioner of the City's Department of Small Business Services) has a demonstrated record of expanding small business opportunities, with a history of building relationships with community, government and private businesses to support economic development projects throughout New York City. From directing the revitalization of a 27-acre district and surrounding area in Coney Island and creating an amusement and entertainment district, to helping lead the Applied Sciences NYC initiative, spurring new applied science and engineering campuses across New York City, Torres-Springer has continually proven her commitment to creating a dynamic city economy that works for all New Yorkers. Maria lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two daughters.
Hannah Lyter is the lucky winner of the 2014 Citizen Judge competition! Hannah lives in Brooklyn and loves to roam the city in search of the best food finds in every nook and cranny. While she'll take a good sushi any day, Hannah also enjoys kickboxing and likes to blog about fashion and photography (you can check out her awesome photos taken on just an iPhone on Instagram @hannahlyter)! Hannah is currently studying Media, Culture, & the Arts at The King's College and is very excited to be this year's Citizen Judge!
Ashok Kondabolu (EMCEE)
Ashok Kondabolu, aka Dapwell, was born in Booth Memorial Hospital (now Flushing Hospital) in 1985. He plans on living on a communal farm when the world economy collapses. He is the former backup dancer for rap group Das Racist and lives in Brooklyn. You can follow him on Twitter @dapwell.
The event was on Saturday, September 13th, 2014 from 12:30pm to 5:00pm at Governors Island. Governors Island is only accessible via ferry.
Getting to Governors Island
Ferries run from Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 6. Weekend afternoon ferries from Brooklyn and Manhattan are $2 round trip for adults. Morning ferries (10 AM and 11 AM) on Saturdays and Sundays are free for all. Children under 12 ride for free at all times and senior citizens' fares are half price. There is no surcharge for bicycles.
Visitors will be able to purchase ferry tickets at the Battery Maritime Building in Lower Manhattan or at Pier 6 in Brooklyn. Tickets will also be available for purchase online in advance. A full ferry schedule is available here.
Directions to the Governors Island Manhattan Ferry
The Governors Island ferry departs from the Battery Maritime Building located at 10 South Street, adjacent to the Staten Island Ferry in Lower Manhattan. The ferry terminal is accessible via:
- Subway: 1 to South Ferry station / 4, 5 to Bowling Green station / R to Whitehall St. station
- Bus: M6, M9, and M15
Directions to the Governors Island Brooklyn Ferry
The Governors Island Brooklyn ferry departs from Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, at the foot of Atlantic Avenue. The ferry terminal is accessible via:
- Subway: R to Court Street / 4,5,2,3 to Borough Hall
- Bus: B63
OTHER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT HAPPENS AT THE AWARDS?
Finalists arrive with their carts/trucks and prepare their best eats for Vendy attendees and judges. Brooklyn Brewery Beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages will be plentiful, with tables and chairs for the food-weary. There will be live music, performances, and a raffle, culminating in a short ceremony naming the award winners!
Please wear comfortable shoes. Each year we work to shorten the lines, but standing in line is part of the Vendy – and street food – experience. We can’t say if any marriages have come out of people waiting in line together, but we do know that many friendships have been born as people wait for their chance to sample the finalists’ food.
WHICH AWARDS WILL BE GIVEN OUT THIS YEAR?
One finalist will be awarded the Vendy Cup and title of Vendy Award winner. Additional awards will be given to the People’s Choice Award winner, the Dessert Category winner, Rookie Vendor of the Year, Market Vendor Award & a special 10 year anniversary category.
HOW ARE THE FINALISTS SELECTED?
We take public nominations until mid-June to determine the lucky vendors that are invited to compete against each other for street food glory.
HOW IS THE WINNER SELECTED?
At the event, we’ll have a team of distinguished judges score the finalists and decide who get the coveted "Vendy Cup". Attendees choose our People’s Choice Award winner, as well as winners in the other categories.
CAN I BUY MY TICKET AT THE DOOR?
Tickets will not be available at the door as the event is sold out.
IS THE EVENT RAIN OR SHINE?
Street vendors are outdoors all year long working in all sorts of weather - to respect their time, this event will be held rain or shine!
ARE KIDS WELCOME? DO THEY NEED A TICKET?
We love kids and kids love street food. Children 8 and under don’t need a ticket. Otherwise, they do.
I'M A MEMBER OF THE PRESS. HOW DO I GET A PRESS PASS OR ARRANGE TO INTERVIEW THE ORGANIZERS OR INDIVIDUAL VENDORS?
The 2014 event has passed. If you would like to request a press pass for the 2015 event, please fill out the Press Pass Request Form.
MY COMPANY WOULD LIKE TO SPONSOR THE VENDY AWARDS. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Drop us a line at email@example.com or give us a call at (202) 213.2250. Last year's event brought out almost 2,000 food-savvy guests and attracted wide media attention. We’re pretty sure this year will be even bigger.
CAN I SIGN UP TO VOLUNTEER AT THE VENDY AWARDS?
Spots fill up quickly, to sign up please click here