On August 12th, 2019 American Natural Foods (ANF) hosted the 1st Natural Foods Competition with a focus on pulses. American Natural Foods is a non-profit organization founded by Chef Ron Pickarski in 1996. The organization is passionate about increasing the reach of plant-based meals and information.
The competition took place at the University of Denver, utilizing their on-site competition kitchen. The dishes created were not allowed to have dairy, dairy bi-products, meat, meat bi-products, or honey in their meals. The competitors had 100 minutes to complete the task and were required to create and plate four portions of a completed meatless dish. Additionally, contestants needed to supply judges with an informational packet which included the recipe, nutritional information, and color photograph, among other pieces. The judging was based on the degree of technical difficulty of the recipe, cooking techniques, and originality.
For the purpose of this competition there was a large focus on the use of Colorado Proud Beans, this included pinto, kidney, and yellow beans, but the competition was not limited to these. Pulses are an incredibly nutritious food to add to any meal and also use as a meat replacement.
While the competition had a large focus on pulses, ANF has an overarching goal of providing a plant based culinary experience for chefs of all experience levels. They hope to cultivate a classic vegan and vegetarian cuisine environment that would carry into every day life. Along with ANF, we encourage you to integrate pulses into your meals as a nutritious addition to any table!