On June 15th, 2013 for the Vegan Rumble & Shake ChuChai backed by: D-Trois Pierres, Les Douceurs du Marché, 4 Corners of the Table, Majiza Phillip Rhythm’n’Groove and Mélanie Dusseault Photographe; faced-off agains:
Green Panther backed by Carya and Zephyr farms, Truffe Import, Brutalimentation, GOA pilates and Jean-Phillippe Cousineau Illustrator; and against
Crudessence backed by Lufa Farms, Prana, Sportera, Midnight Poutine and Rachel et Michel Video Productions. This was my experience of it as an organizer….
The Vegan Rumble & Shake felt like having two brides and a groom (vegan ones, of course) and their respective and eclectic families under one roof. There was the food, dancing, confrontation, emotion, the ceremony that was a little drawn-out, couples were formed, people let loose and the guests from different spots in society coming together.
For myself, I felt like the over-zealous mother-in-law in adrenaline-land worrying if everything was going to come together…. until the moment actually arrived and then it all whirled by. Like a wedding, you plan and plan for a day that goes by quickly and when it gets there, you try to just relax and hope nothing goes seriously wrong.
When it went down, it was inspiring to see what comes out of combining so many talented people, their products and getting them to strut their stuff.
Really, with all of these fine-tuned professionals, nothing could go wrong, they just had to do their thing.
From the wild mushrooms, that were supplied to the sprouts and unconventional herbs, like chocolate mint and anise hyssop, kale, fresh garlic scapes, rhubarb, arugula, maple syrup and strawberries from the farms,to the raw decadence of Crudessence Stéphanie Audet’s dessert,
Chef Lily of ChuChai’s tightly crafted rolls,and Chef Luis of Green Panther’s fun and festive felafels, the deliciousness and freshness was off the charts.
Crudessence took the trophy for bravado with Stéphanie Audet being hoisted like a championand David Côté’s Rocky-style boxing training,
Green Panther did their muscle flexing and red carpet cameos, but Chef Lily had the quiet assurance and grace of a ninja. The variety was the most resplendent aspect of the night to me, and I could have crowned different players for different things, but the combination of all of the creations seemed to over-shadow the unicity of a winner: each contender was a champion in their division.
The old-school hip hop dancers,
GOA’s pilates’ crew
and Sportera rocked the house.
It was nice to see good and healthy food linked to energy, participation and unconventionality. When I planned this aspect, I wanted it to be like a scene from Westside story where the crews face-off by dancing and singing.
I didn’t want passive observers waiting on the sidelines for what comes next, but to get in the Rumble and get their hands dirty with the chefs. This was the second biggest thrill to me.
Tisha, Makeda and Suzanne really killed it, finishing their Bell Biv Devoe choreaography of “Poison” with an up-in-your-face ass smacking aimed at the competition.
They called out “When I say Chu, you say Chi, Chu- Chai, Chu-Chai” They even said “Crudessence, Green Panther- pssshh, who are they?”
They rocked the dis as it can only be done in the old school. Makeda even had the hot pants and halter-top- shazam!
GOA’s Dana, Véro and Mariano surprised us, and showed the versatility of pilates; people were having fun and playing and I saw many legs shaking with effort for their teams.
Sportera was the best match with Crudessence in sheer oomph and pep and the competitors moved around double-time with David Côté and Stéphanie Audet seriously scouting the most die-hard soldiers from up-above.
The food at 10:45pm was a welcome reward,
and the buzzing around the tables from station to station and chef to chef,
tasting and chatting created a cloud of sighs, satiation and sheer pleasure.
Many of the winners of the prizes came to me bubbling with joy and thank you’s. The mutual gratitude that flowed between the businesses and the participants was unbelievable. From bi-weekly CSA baskets over the season given by Carya to shocked helper Justine Ethier, to the $200 dinner at ChuChai to Mélodie, all-day workshops in Crudessence’s Living Foods academy to Élodie, Michael Mooney jumping around in celebration for his $200 Lufa prize and Romain Rougier that left with his fresh truffle from Truffe Import, there was much to celebrate.
There were less people than we had hoped, just over one hundred, but it was the right number for the space. The bios were a little long and after the hype of presenting the contenders, the zealous exercise, and unbelievable food it concluded with those who had been recruited by the chefs being the real winners, instead of crowning a team. The shake didn’t go-down after the strenuous exercise and eating and the food wasn’t formally presented nor the ingredients from the farmers and the food suppliers, although, many got the details from the farmers, chefs and suppliers by getting to know them personally.
The imperfection aside, it was a beautiful sight to behold these three clans together and the public joining-in the out-pouring of energy and the culinary muscle flexing and to see people leave well-fed and many with hefty prizes.
Many people have already asked that the event be re-done. I am all for it and I know the spots that need to be buffered. I also hope all of the contenders can get divorced so we can get married again next year, with less ceremony, more reception, a little earlier and, of course, with a panel of judges and a champion belt to seal the deal! Be there or be square at the VVEEEGGAANNN RRRRRUMMMMBLE and SSSHHHHAAAKKKEE 2nd edition!
Thank you to Mélanie Dusseault Photographe for all of the wonderful photos and for going above and beyond the call of duty!
Don’t miss the Vegan Rumble & Shake at the Drugstore on June 15th at 8:30pm. Nutrisco and ‘Round Table Tours are hosting this face-off between ChuChai, Crudessence and Green Panther. Each restaurant will be backed by an urban farm: Lufa, D-Trois Pierres, Zephyr and Carya, by a food supplier: Prana, Les Douceurs du Marché and Truffe Import. They will also be associated with a blogger and exercise activity. 4 Corners of the Table is asscoiated with ChuChai, Amie Watson of Midnight Poutine with Crudessence and Marie-Ève Savaria of Brutalimentation with Green Panther. The sports include hip-hop dancing with Ethel Bruneau‘s descendents, a work-out activity with Sportera and pilates with Goa. Participants sign-up in one of the three teams and follow their team’s activity. From the activity, the chefs will recruit assistants to help them assemble 300 bites! All fifteen recruited helpers (five per team) will receive a prize. Twelve prizes of a value of two hundred dollars will be given including extravagant dinners, free sports and dance training, organic vegetable baskets and food tours as well as three prizes of a value of $75: food, food and more food). After the ‘Rumble’ comes the tasting and the ‘Shake’. There will be dj’s and mingling.
Tickets are $20 and are available for sale at info (at) nutrisco dot ca and in the participating restaurants (ChuChai, Crudessence and Green Panther) Get them soon, they’re going like energy balls!
How did a zany night like this come about you may ask…..
I have been hard at work on the development of various food tours for my new food tour company ‘Round Table Tours or Tours de la Table (recipient of the best female entrepreneurial project in Montreal in 2013.) The most recently added tour is called Vegan Montreal. It is a tour of tasting in vegan restaurants, food production sites and on urban farms. I wanted to do a tour that wasn’t about meat, sugar and booze, but one that focused on well-being, ethical business practices, sustainability and the future.
I interviewed the owners of Crudessence, ChuChai, Aux Vivres, Prana, Lufa farms and the agricultural director of Santropol Roulant. I heard their amazing stories and saw businesses that were putting their deeper values to work and offering examples of what the future could look like. From Crudessence that strives to “be the change”, to Lufa that strives to grow vegetables in the city for the city without using more land, to Prana that creates organic, raw, vegan, gluten-free sustainable snacks, to Aux Vives that makes vegan food a “normality” with their comfort food approach and bringing food to the 80% non-vegan masses that is their clientele, and Green Panther that has created a lush and swinging oasis in the city. ChuChai redefines veganism as luxury and a party. Yes a party, they have taken control of the kitchen at the Drugstore and are catering the Piknik Électronik. It was when I approached ChuChai that I met their promoter Aisha Issa aka Nutrisco Sensorial Marketing. She right away proposed that we do an event to ring in the summer and announce their new presence at Drugstore and at Piknik as well as the beginning of the Montreal Vegan tour. She suggested we leverage with other vegan restaurants. She told me to think about it and get back to her.
I have had the privilege of being good friends with Judith Colombo the agricultural director of the largest organic farm on the island of Montreal, D-Trois Pierres, for ten years, and I know they are always looking for partners and I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be great if there were urban farmers in the mix?’ My tours are about networking and team-building, so I started thinking of how I could incorporate a sense of team and participation into the event. I thought of Ethel Bruneau’s family of tap and hip hop dancers, Kevin Pillu of Sportera (winner in the Quebec Entrepreneurship contest for Services to Businesses) and Dana El-Hallack of Goa Pilates. We needed someone to put the event on an unconventional pedestal and bloggers seemed to be the way. I also thought that the bloggers should have a challenge and opportunity to collaborate, so I thought of different mediums to associate with each one: photo, paint and video (Mélanie Dusseault, Jean-Phillippe Cousineau and Rachel et Michel). This was great as the event became part of FIMA’s programming. The idea was so wacky, but if you’re going to leverage and be wacky, you may as well do it right. Everyone said yes and embarked on the collective craziness! (except Aux Vivres who was renovating and Santropol Roulant whose production is too limited in mid-June. Green Panther, Jardins Carya and Fermes du Zephyr quickly took-over)
The Vegan Montreal tour highlights innovation, new approaches and practices and those businesses that transcend conventional boundaries. It was in the Vegan community where I found a feverish enthusiasm, a can-do attitude and a love for creating outside-of-the-box. From the food production sites, to the farms to the restaurants I was met with goodwill and a desire to share and grow in collaboration.
The Vegan Montreal tour is tested and and raring to go. From visiting Lufa, the only rooftop commercial greenhouse, to ChuChai’s innovative fake meat in the thai tradition (no onions and garlic- Buddhist temple-style), to Crudessence’s workshops that spread the good news about live food and experimenting in the loft, to the pioneering of Aux Vivres, the funkyness of Green Panther, Rise Kombucha’s mother mushroom (!!!), Prana’s factory and Santropol’s oasis in the city, the Vegan Montreal tour brings you into a universe that you may think you know, but you really don’t until you get inside and behind the scenes! All participants in the Rumble & Shake will receive a 20% discount on the Vegan Montreal Tour, and three people will win a free tour.
Come on out and Rumble, Tour and Shake!
I have the privilege of blogging for the ChuChai team and being on an all-girl team of chefs, dancers, farmers, shop managers and photographers. See the gallery below of the ladies on the team:
I don’t have a photo of Erica Dancose from Les Douceurs du Marché, but you’ll meet her there!
I just wanted to let you know that Lufa Farms, the only year-round commercial roof-top greenhouse in the world, in Ahuntsic/Cartierville is having its open doors on Saturday and Sunday May 11th and 12th. Witness innovation and urban agriculture in motion and “geek farming”. Everything is automated and state-of-the art. Open up to another dimension! Visit the link below to register for one of their guided tours of the greenhouse.
You may also register for the testing of my Vegan Montreal tour with ‘Round Table Tours for that Sunday (the 12th) at a reduced price of $100+tx. Lufa Farms is one of the destinations plus a cooking course and vegan brunch. In exchange for the low cost, you will be asked to be part of a 40 minute focus group. E-mail me or call me at (514)812-2003 by Thursday May 9th at the latest. Thanks!
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