Durham chefs compete for best vegan dish during Bull City Vegan Challenge in April

Bull City Vegan Challenge 2016 organizers in front of Durham’s bull statue.
Bull City Vegan Challenge 2016 organizers in front of Durham’s bull statue. Courtesy of BCVC

More than a dozen Durham restaurants and bars are competing in this year’s fourth annual Bull City Vegan Challenge, which runs the entire month of April.

Here’s how it works: Durham chefs add a vegan dish to their menu for 30 days and diners vote for their favorite in several categories online, in person or via social media. Chefs are not allowed to make dishes for the challenge that include the usual suspects on restaurant menus for vegans or vegetarians: portobellos mushrooms, raw vegetable platters or hummus.

Watch a fun video explaining the challenge:

Some of the participating restaurants include Luna Rotisserie & Empanadas, Dos Perros, Gocciolina, Geer Street Garden, Parts & Labor at Motorco, Parker and Otis, Guglhupf, Beyu Caffe, The Federal, Saltbox Seafood Joint, Happy + Hale Durham and Durham Co-op Market.

Rise in downtown Durham, The Parlour and The Cupcake Bar will be offering vegan desserts.

During the first week in April, Monuts will offer a vegan donut and The Pinhook will be serving a vegan-themed drink special.

As an example of what the restaurants will be serving, here’s what Dos Perros will offer:

Appetizer: Tomato masa empanadas with asparagus, mushrooms and jalapeno and topped with poblano salsa.

Entree: Crispy corn tostada with black beans topped with pineapple, pickled onions and jack fruit pibil (marinade of guajillo, achiote and fresh citrus juices)

Dessert: “You Won’t Believe It’s Not Butter” chocolate mousse with fresh strawberries.

To spread the word about the challenge, a participating chef will do a vegan cooking demo on April 9 at the Durham Farmers’ Market.

Winners will be announced May 7. The winning chef will offer a class in June showing how to make the winning dish. (Details still being determined.)

For more information, go to