Tonight, crowds of avid eaters descended on the iconic Eden Roc Hotel on Miami Beach for a veggie burger battle extraordinaire.
11 chefs, restaurants, and brands went head-to-head to earn the title of Nation’s Best Plant-Based Burger. In the end, the winner was a vegan burger creation by Chef Todd Erickson (of Miami Beach’s Haven and Huahua’s Taqueria), crowned by a group of judges including Bad Ass Vegan John Lewis and former NBA star John Salley.
The winning burger was a beet, barley, and black bean patty with sweet soy and garlic, pickled English cucumber, scallion, lotus root chips, and spicy mayo on a potato roll. Chef Erickson isn’t a primarily vegan or vegetarian chef, but enjoys experimenting with plant-based ingredients.
“Vegan/vegetarian dining is not just a diet anymore; it’s really becoming a lifestyle. It’s really prevalent,” he told Latest Vegan News. “There’s a stigma attached [to this kind of food] that it’s bland, but I’ve had a lot of bland pork chops and meat as well — it all depends on the hands that the product is in.”
The winning burger will be on the menu at his Miami Beach eatery, Haven, starting December 10.
Other competing chefs included Chef Ryan Echaus of Hollywood, Fla.’s Atlas Meat-Free Deli; Chef Charles Grippo of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.’s Green Bar & Kitchen; Chef Darren Laszlo of Miami, Fla.’s JugoFresh; Chef Todd Erickson of Miami, Fla.’s Haven; Chef Rose Flynn of Miami, Fla.’s Choices Cafe; Carla’s Nut Burgers brand; Chef Oliver Ponce of Austin, Texas’ Good Seed Burger; Chef Angelique Santana of the Love Beets brand; Chef Jay Astafa of Jay Astafa NYC; Chef Daudi McLean of Los Angeles, Calif.’s 2 Good Veggie; and Chef Nedal Ahmad of Miami, Fla.’s Pincho Factory.
The veggie burger battle crowd also got to choose its favorite, and the winner of that award went to Grippo and Green Bar & Kitchen.
The event was part of Seed Food and Wine Festival, a five-day lineup of swanky dinners, events, parties, and more, all revolving around a plant-based lifestyle. Seed continues through Sunday with multiple chef-hosted dinners, a beachside brunch, a 5K, a kid’s event and more vegan soirees.