Our line-up of chefs for 2017 is still being finalized.
For now, here are the chefs who presented in 2016:
Beverly Lynn Bennett
Chef Beverly is an experienced vegan chef and baker, writer, and animal advocate who is passionate about showing the world how easy, delicious, and healthy it is to live and eat as a vegan. A certified food-service operations manager, she earned her culinary arts degree in 1988 from the University of Akron, Ohio and in the following years worked in and managed natural food stores and vegan and vegetarian restaurants.
Beverly is the author of Vegan Bites: Recipes for Singles and many other cookbooks. Her work has appeared in many national and international print publications, on public television and DVD, and all over the web. Beverly currently lives and works in Eugene, Oregon, where her love of organic, healthy, and vibrant foods fuels a passion for developing innovative vegan recipes.
Chef Alan has always loved food. He grew up in Mexico, where the food literally explodes with flavor. He learnt Mexican cooking from the maids and the gardener, but he had no idea then that he would have a career in cooking. At 18, he left home and spent two years living in Switzerland. He traveled throughout Europe and Morocco, where each town seemed to have its own unique cuisine. Eventually, he moved to the United States and worked at various jobs around the country before settling on a career as a private chef.
As a private chef, he not only got to make different food every day and use expensive ingredients, he got to observe human nature at the pinnacle of wealth and power. During his 25 years serving the rich and famous (including a president and a prime minister), he learned a lot about what we hunger for, and what satisfies. He is now a writer, food designer, blogger, and public speaker. He’s the author of several cookbooks including Speed Vegan, Extraordinary Vegan, and most recently The Almond Milk Cookbook.
Chef Nic is a US Army Veteran and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Creighton University in 2005. He started his career in the Surgical ICU at University of Colorado Hospital and has worked at the Mayo Clinic and a number of hospitals in the Denver/Boulder area. He saw first hand the prevalence of diet related disease (CDC 7 of 10 deaths) and decided to focus on Preventative Health Care.
He struggled with high blood pressure and was 50 pounds overweight when he took Dr. Neal Barnard’s 21-day whole foods plant-based challenge and quickly lost the weight and was taken off his blood pressure medication. He attended the Natural Gourmet Institute’s health supportive chef training program in 2013. He then founded The Up Beet Kitchen, which is an online platform (www.TheUpBeetKitchen.com) that teaches home cooks the fundamentals of healthy cooking.
Born in a small town in Thailand, Chef Kanya Habsa initially studied for and gained a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. However, she discovered that cooking was her true passion, using skills she learned from her mother and her sister, Pawinee Wollenhaupt, who ran a restaurant in Thailand, and later here in the US.
Kanya has been cooking in Thai restaurants for over 20 years, and was part owner of the popular Similan Thai restaurant in Issaquah. However, she really wanted to specialize in serving healthier food, so a year and a half ago she opened her own restaurant, Sukho Thai, on Bel-Red Road in Bellevue. She focuses on healthy vegetarian dishes from her mother’s original recipes, with fish offered as an alternative for those who aren’t quite ready to go veg just yet. But most importantly, she ensures that the food tastes really good!
Chef Archana is from a university town 300 miles from Delhi, India. She grew up in a home with health-conscious parents and a rich heritage of Punjabi North Indian cuisine; healthy eating and an active lifestyle were as important as adherence to flavorful recipes.
Archana moved to the United States in 1990 as an engineer, and for the last 10 years she has tailored her mother’s recipes for her busy lifestyle as a full-time working mother. Food is her second vocation and she is excited about making Indian cooking easy, fast and accessible. She teaches regularly at PCC Natural Markets.
Michelle Schwegmann and Josh Hooten
Michelle Schwegmann and Josh Hooten founded Herbivore, a T-shirt design company, in 2002 as a means of providing stylish clothing to spread the message of animal rights. They opened a retail store in 2006 and in 2007 were one of four businesses that established Portland’s vegan mini-mall. Other projects include publishing books and magazines (including the vegan lifestyle magazine Herbivore from 2003 to 2007) as well as organizing and attending animal rights and vegetarian conferences and festivals nationwide. Their most recent endeavor is to write a vegan cookbook Eat Like You Give A Damn, which includes over 100 of their favorite vegan dishes. In this book they’ve extended their art and ethics into the kitchen, showcasing how and why everyone can and should eat like they give a damn.