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What’s the most ‘Maryland‘ thing a vegan can do? I’ll tell you what: enjoy a vegan crabcake competition.

Thrive’s Vegan Crabcake Cookoff

On July 30, 2017, the new vegan community center, Thrive Baltimore, hosted a Vegan Crabcake Cookoff. The $20 admission, which served to raise funds in support of the development and growth of Thrive Baltimore, afforded attendees two side dishes, a drink, and samples of six different vegan crab cakes. The contenders?

Flight American Fusion | The GruB Factory

Garden of Vegan | Big Bean Theory

Good as Green | Sprout Natural Choice

|| With sides provided by PEP Foods ||

The great part about the entrants was that some were not 100% plant-based eateries. Yep, you read that right. Both Flight and Big Bean Theory are Baltimore-based restaurants that serve meat, but are also known to offer some quality vegan options. Vegan options on their menus are introducing many potential vegans to the possibility of being vegan. At the same time, the restaurants’ participation in the Cookoff demonstrated extensive demand for vegan food in Baltimore.

And the Winners Are…

The recipes were all spectacular, and surprisingly crabby! Each sample was unique from the rest—from texture, to flavor, to consistency, to the decorative “plating” and garnish/sauce added. Attendees voted for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd favorite using the colored muffin cups in which each cake was served. The winners:

First Place

Flight American Fusion

Second Place

Sprout Natural Choice

Third Place

Good as Green

The event was well organized to avoid crowds, which made the experience tremendously enjoyable for guests. There was a clear order to the event, and the set of three alternative 2-hour windows for attending helped eliminate an early/peak rush.

With Special Guest Appearance From…

On the Friday prior, Thrive hosted David Carter, the 300 Pound Vegan, for a talk. Carter made an appearance at the cookoff, sampling the different crabcakes and talking with the chefs behind the table. Support from the vegan community, from both locals and visitors, continues to amaze me every day!

This was my first time attending an event at Thrive, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The space is big and bright, and I look forward to seeing how the money raised from this event will continue to improve the space.

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