On April 22nd 2017, Memphians gathered at the Levitt Shell for Memphis Veg Fest. The fest included local vendors with plant-based offerings, food demos, educational speakers, and tons of vegetarian and vegan food, all to promote nutritional awareness and the benefits of a clean diet.
Founder Angel Jackson, who also owns Replenish Kombucha, began planning the festival as a way to “end nutritional disparity in Memphis.” Vendors including Lucky Cat Ramen, Mama Gaia, City Silo, and Zaka Bowl proved that vegan and vegetarian diets can be just as delicious as non-veg ones, and much more beneficial to your body.
Shef Shukriyyah, a 40-year vegetarian, had the longest line, and it was more than worth the wait. Her black bean and corn tamales were the best I’ve ever tasted. They were steamed to order, then topped with a black bean sauce and Daiya cheese.
Shukriyyah is a certified herbal coach, and also holds cooking classes, caters, and has published her own cookbook.
I’ve been to Mama Gaia once already, and I was excited to try more of their food. I love mushrooms, so the Cena Bowl sounded perfect to cut the chill the rain had brought. This bowl features quinoa, hearty mushrooms, asparagus, and parsley. I really liked it, and it was so good it won Best Entree at the festival!
Phillip Ashley is Memphis’ favorite chocolatier, and one of his featured items is called the “Darling Nikki.” It’s a dark chocolate bark mixed with Nikki’s Hot Products seasoning and topped with their crushed kettle chips. Spicy and delicious! I’ve never been a huge fan of dark chocolate, but I am now.
The festival also hosted food demos and speakers. Tons of people came out despite the intermittent rain, and a lot of great, informed conversations were had. Overall, it was a wonderfully positive experience.
You can watch some clips of the festival here.
See you next year!