Grill-to-grill burger battles are frequently found at some of the nation’s biggest foodie fetes. The star-studded South Beach Food & Wine Festival (SOBEWFF), for instance, hosts a Burger Bash every February, usually with Rachel Ray at the helm.
Veggie burgers, however, have rarely had a shot at the spotlight, (although Beyond Meat’s Beast Burger was present at last year’s SOBEWFF—the first vegan burger ever included in the event).
This year, veggie burgers are about to get a major boost in palate prestige: Seed Food & Wine Festival is hosting the first-ever national Burger Battle that’s all about plant-based patties. 12 to 15 competitors will go head to head in Miami Beach on Thursday, November 19th, all fighting to take home the title of American’s best meat-free burger.
Traveling extensively to do research for Seed, festival co-founders Alison Burgos and Michelle Gaber have had the pleasure of tasting scores of delicious veggie burgers, and thought it was about time the item had its own event.
“In actuality when we created the festival itself this has always been something we wanted to incorporate as part of it. We were just waiting for the right time,” Burgos tells LatestVeganNews.com. “People are really, really excited about it. We’re getting a lot of really awesome energy and feedback,” she adds.
Competitors will have a shot at two separate awards: audience favorite (guests will get to vote for their preferred picks) and the celebrity judges’ selection. The list of judges is under wraps for now, but Seed has revealed that the lineup includes Burger Beast, a well-known South Florida blogger and burger aficionado.
The competitors will include local South Florida spots like Choices Cafe, Green Bar & Kitchen, DIRT, and Atlas Meat-Free Deli, among others, plus major national eateries and chefs. Invites have been sent to several well-known veggie burger masters across the U.S., but the Seed crew is still open to suggestions for potential participants.
In addition to burgers, the event will feature dairy-free milkshakes by So Delicious and Vitamix, plus craft beers curated by Fort Lauderdale’s Tap 42.
Seed itself is going into its second year, and as the nation’s only plant-based food and wine festival of its kind, it’s no stranger to innovation. Last year’s inaugural event saw thousands of attendees and featured celebrities like Alicia Silverstone, Matthew Kenney, John Salley and many more.
The 2015 Seed Food and Wine Festival will run from Wednesday, November 18 through Sunday, November 22, and the Burger Battle is the main event on Thursday night. Tickets are available for sale online, and the festival features a whole host of other activities, from film screenings to a 5k to a farm-to-table dinner to celebrity demos and appearances.