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Chefs whose culinary talents can, or already do, appeal to vegans better sharpen their meat-free knives: The second annual Santa Barbara Vegan Chef Challenge is going down throughout the month of April, and this year, organizer Beth Wettstein is inviting chefs from Oxnard and Ventura to join in the enlightened eating fun.
“We hope to encourage everyone, not just vegans, to try out a dish,” said Wettstein, a vegan for the past decade who hopes the contest encourages more restaurants to serve vegan options.
Participating restaurants must commit to providing a full vegan experience, offering ingredients free of dairy products, eggs, cheese, butter, meat, fish, poultry, whey, casein, gelatin, and glycerin, unless the latter is vegetable-sourced. They must also offer at least three new menu items in April and donate $100 to the cause by March 18 to pay for promotions. (Those who sign up before March 4 save $50.)
The categories being judged include appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Awards will be based on diner comments, photos, and the dining experiences of organizers. Winners will be announced during a ceremony in May.
To register, visit theveganchefchallenge.com/santa-barbara.