Ready for Vida Vegan Con’s Speaker Reveal #6? We’ve been featuring a handful of our speakers each week for VVC2015, and here is the sixth, and almost final, installment. Our speakers come from all over the world and range from cookbook author to activist to blogger to athlete. So many incredibly talented passionate and inspiration people applied to speak, and we’re so so excited to share, in no particular order, this group of awesome speakers:
Here they are, in randomly random order, your sixth set of Vida Vegan Con III speakers (and there’s a wee bit more to come!):
Fran Costigan, Queen of Vegan Desserts
A highly regarded veteran of the culinary world, Fran Costigan is a pastry chef, author, speaker, culinary consultant, demo instructor and graduate of both the New York Restaurant School and the Natural Gourmet Institute. There is no doubt that Fran knows her chocolate, and she’ll be returning to our lineup for 2015 to show us all how it’s done while “demo’ing the demo” at our opening day Vida Vegan Bazaar, sharing everything you need to know for showcasing your own cooking demo, with whatever setting you’ve got. The Big Apple-based “Queen of Vegan Desserts” is the author of More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts Naturally and her latest hit, Vegan Chocolate.
Julie Hasson, Julie’s Kitchenette
With an impressive professional background that includes an array of popular cookbooks, cooking videos, websites, working as a private chef for celebrities, the founding of a famed Portland food cart, and new line of gluten-free baking mixes ⸺ not to mention helping us bring a little more Portland flavor to Austin ⸺ Julie Hasson returns to our lineup to discuss her diverse and successful experience, and get real on building a smart vegan business. Julie’s latest cookbook was released just this past week: Vegan Casseroles.
Amey Mathews, Vegan Eats & Treats
We bet you know Amey Mathews of Vegan Eats & Treats from her charming drawings she somehow manages to include in her already exciting blog posts. (Secretly, her fine-art skills would blow you away!). Amey is passionate about yoga, art, animals, travel and is one creative and flexible cookie. She’ll be sharing those passions and talent in her very own “Let’s Make a Zine!” workshop at VVC2015. Hi Amey!!
Bianca Phillips, Vegan Crunk
Like to eat out? Drink out? Both out? Bianca Phillips is a savvy journalist with the The Memphis Flyer by day, and the personality behind the popular and long-running Vegan Crunk blog by night (and all other times!). Bianca returns to our lineup this May to share her take on the ethics of vegan dining and boozing (and requisite blogging, of course). Plus, we hear she has a thing or two or three to share about DIY Vegan Homebrewing. Her first cookbook, Cookin’ Crunk: Eating Vegan in the Dirty South, was released in 2012.
Joni Marie Newman, Just The Food
More culinary royalty! Joni Marie Newman is the undisputed Queen of Veggie Burgers and as the author/co-author of eight vegan cookbooks and guides including The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet, Vegan Food Gifts, and Fusion Food in the Vegan Kitchen, certainly knows her way around a cookbook. She’s returning to our VVC2015 lineup ready to help you tackle your own cookbook development dreams, from concept to proposal to testing to publication. Get inspired, get thinking, get writing!
And definitely get ready: Vida Vegan Con returns in May!
From Bryant Terry to Terry Hope Romero, The Sexy Vegan and 20+ other vegan all-stars, check out the rest of our exclusive lineup reveals below:
Ready to register? Mark those calendars, commence the vegan taco call and grab your spot today!
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Vida Vegan Con III ∗ May 29-31, 2015 ∗ Austin, TX
It’s the return of our blogging Q & A! This time, we’re joined by the super talented and lovely Amey Mathews. We are so excited to have Amey return as a speaker for Vida Vegan Con 2013—whether you can make it or not, check out her blog, Vegan Eats & Treats. We love Amey for her positive, genuine attitude. She is smart as hell and is an endless font of adorable little drawings.
Where do you see blogging going?
It’s amazing how many blogs there are now—which is really great. When I first started blogging, there were just a small handful of vegan blogs. Today there are so many, that everyone can find a sense of community for exactly the way they enjoy eating and being vegan. There are all the PPK community blogs, all the raw date-ball blogs, the no-salt-oil-sugar blogs, vegan athlete blogs, and so on. Sometimes I’ll stumble onto a new blog that’s outside of my usual favorites, and find a whole sea of comments from other bloggers I’ve never discovered before… It’s pretty amazing.
Also, I was just looking at some old posts the other day and looking at how crappy my pictures were. Ha ha! There are a handful of bloggers like Hannah at BitterSweet, or Susan at Fat Free Vegan, or Allyson at Manifest Vegan, who take SUCH great pictures—I think they’ve really helped raise the bar for the rest of us. Even if you’re not gonna spend 30 minutes staging your picture (I gotta eat dinner, man!), you’re also not going to be satisfied with a yellowish picture with dirty dishes in the background.
One last thing, is how many bloggers are turning their blogs into cookbook deals. It’s amazing and exciting! I wish I could write recipes, but it’s really not my strong point. But if anyone needs little doodles for their cookbook, I’m here to help.
What’s your favorite photo editor?
I use ArcSoft Photo Studio if I want to actually cut and paste and combine my doodles and photos and all that, but usually I just use PhotoShop for simple things like brightness or color balance. The best is making dinner before dark so I can just use natural light, and not need a photo editor at all.
What blogging trends are you liking? Disliking?
Liking: Great photography—especially the folks who really take photography seriously. I love that blog writing is evolving into something much more focused and not just “I had some seitan and broccoli for dinner,” like it was in the old days of blogging. I’m LOVING all the mofo themes, and people who are doing a different theme every day for the whole week. It’s a cool idea even for non-mofo-season! In general, I love that the blog designs seem to be getting more attractive, more classy, and more appealing to look at. I love that Blogger—my old faithful blog host—has really improved its design options…and I LOVE that we can finally respond to individual comments on Blogger!
Disliking: my number-one blogging pet PEEVE is the whole weird giveaway thing that is going on. Kittee calls it “Like Gate,” which I think is hilarious. This is the situation where someone says “I”m giving away a free pizza coupon”…”but first you have to ‘like’ me on Facebook, and ‘like’ the company on Facebook, and tweet about this contest to everyone you went to kindergarten with, and leave 10 voicemail messages on your parents’ answering machine, and leave a comment for every single thing you do, so that I have 1,000,000 comments by the end of it!” It makes me grumpy, as you can tell. For me, it makes the blogosphere feel crass and corporate and pander-y, instead of having it feel like a community of friends who want to do something fun like have a giveaway for the fun of it. I feel that as vegan bloggers, we should be serving one another (our fellow vegans or aspiring vegans), and not serving the companies. I don’t mind product reviews or cookbook reviews, because I think that’s news everyone can use…but I think some discretion is needed. Changing the whole tone of your blog post into something with an advertising tone just so someone can win something worth $5 isn’t worth it to me.
What blogs/websites do you read?
I read so many blogs! I usually read anything in my blog crawl on the side of my blog. I love reading randomofo.com SO MUCH—I’ve marked so many new favorites this mofo season. A few of my standby favorites are: ColdandSleepyCooks, Meet the Wikos, Cake Maker to the Stars, Tahini Too, Manifest Vegan, Julie Hasson… But gosh, the list goes on!
What’s your go-to vegan meal in Seattle?
I actually lived in Seattle, for 2½ years after I graduated college. Back then, I was just a vegetarian—not yet a vegan, and Seattle had only a couple of all-veg spots. But halfway through my Seattle stint, a beautiful veg spot called Carmelita opened up, quite near my house. I was a pretty poor youngster back then, working part time for minimum wage…so I only went to Carmelita once, when my aunt took me out for dinner. I haven’t been back to Seattle in years, but next time I go, I’d really like to go back to my old neighborhood and try out Carmelita again. For old time’s sake!
Oh Portland! I love Dovetail Bakery and Back to Eden most of all, because where I live (in Santa Cruz), no one is making delicious vegan baked goods. I usually load up, and come home with a huge supply that go straight to the freezer for the times when I want a baked treat and I don’t want to bake it myself. For proper nutrition, my two favorites are Native Bowl and Blossoming Lotus. I love the bowls at Native Bowl—so full of flavor and veggies and proteins…filling and fun! I also really love the food at Blossoming Lotus—so far I haven’t ever had a dud there. Once I got to go there for brunch, and that was totally amazeballs!