Imagine Los Angeles in the summer, June of 2019.
It’s hot outside—sweaty, breezy, beach weather. People pack the coasts during the day and wander the streets at night, hopping from restaurant to bar, from bar to other bar, from other bar to food truck.
It’s in this vibrant setting that the first Los Angeles Vegan Meat Competition is held.
Local chefs and food scientists have been working for months to perfect their recipes for the competition—celebrity chefs like Marcel Vigneron of the restaurant WOLF and Betty Fraser of Grub; food scientists like Ted Russin; and food entrepreneurs like Amelia Posada.
And the thing that’s similar about all of these individuals? None of them are vegan, or even vegetarian.
But despite diet or beliefs about animals, everyone loves a good competition, and these foodies are in the business because of their love for…well, good food. They, and dozens of other competitors, are in the Los Angeles Vegan Meat Competition because they like challenges, and because they want the chance to beat out everyone else for first place. The media attention alone is good enough, not to mention the drama and controversy around some of the meat-loving chefs entering a vegan food competition.
Not only that, but these people own businesses—new recipes are good for them, and the vegan community is a thriving base of consumers. From a strictly economic standpoint, it’s a no-brainer for them.
This is the beauty of competition: It can bring people together around a common purpose based solely on the spirit of besting each other and accomplishing a challenge, even if the competitors might not care as much about the object of the competition.
The result? A fairly easy way to make friends out of unlikely folks for a short time, to get media attention around the animal-friendly (vegan) future of food, and to create a huge amount of new products in a short amount of time.
The only problem, of course, is that for the time being the Los Angeles Vegan Meat Competition doesn’t exist. It’s just a story in our imaginations, in this article.
But it could exist—and hundreds of other vegan product creation competitions could exist too, in every city around the globe. Not only that, but dozens of other types of competitions could exist. Competitions to create new forms of animal advocacy. Competitions to saturate a city with anti-speciesist education. Competitions to create new organizations and institutions that help us build a food system without exploiting animals.
Everyone loves a good competition.
Maybe the first competition is to see who can create the second one.