May 1, 2012 • For Immediate Release:
Los Angeles – For the first time in its 10-year history, the Grilled Cheese Invitational (CGI), hosted at the Pasadena Rose bowl on April 28, handed out an award for a vegan sandwich. First-time competitor vegan chef Gwendolyn Mathers, who works for and was entered by non-profit animal protection organization Compassion Over Killing (COK), took home the trophy for third place in the professional category.
Chef Gwendolyn created a more compassionate version of America’s favorite sandwich, beating out a line-up of contestants with a variety of non-vegan ingredients. Her winning Honey Pot (dessert) entry, The Aurora Borealis, featured sourdough bread fried in Earth Balance vegan butter and maple syrup; filled with Daiya Mozzarella cheese, Tofutti Cream Cheese, and brandy soaked peaches; and was topped with swirls of blueberry and strawberry reductions made from scratch.
There were two other vegan competitors this year, including representatives from the newly-opened, vegan-friendly brewery Golden Road Pub, and home chef Jenny Harrison, who won first prize in the amateur category with her Honey Pot submission.
“Multiple vegan bakers have already won Cupcake Wars, and now we’re winning at the Grilled Cheese Invitational with vegan cheese,” said Chef Gwendolyn. “These awards prove that we can enjoy the same foods and flavors we’re used to, without the cruelty. Watch out chili cook-offs – you’re next!”
The GCI is the largest and most festive sandwich cooking contest in the country, drawing in nearly 10,000 people every year. In addition to that actual competition, the Invitational includes cheese-themed poetry, grilling demonstrations by professional chefs, a costume contest, vendors and food trucks.
Chef Gwendolyn’s winning recipe for the Aurora Borealis is now available on Compassion Over Killing’s blog at COK.net/blog.
Compassion Over Killing (COK) is a nonprofit animal advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. with an additional office in Los Angeles. Since 1995, COK has worked to end the abuse of animals in agriculture through undercover investigations, litigation, corporate campaigns, public outreach, and other programs. Online at COK.net.