Guest Post: Dave Huffman on Cleveland VegFest

 

If you have ever gone to a rock concert and found yourself feeding off of the energy of other like-minded fans, you’ll understand my excitement for the upcoming Cleveland VegFest. At VegFest, thousands of people will literally be feeding off of our shared love of vegan food.

On Saturday, May 5, area vegans and veg-curious will descend on the Huntington Convention Center from 11:00am to 7:00pm. For the first time, I will not just be one of the giddy attendees. This year I will be there as a vendor and a presenter as I introduce Cleveland to my new YouTube cooking show, Bitchy Vegan Homo.

I’ve been gay my whole life, vegetarian for most of it, and full vegan for more than seven years. As for the bitchy part . . . stop by my table at VegFest and I’ll tell you what I think of your outfit.

Since I grew up in a traditional American house where dinners were crafted around some dead animal, I’ve been making most of my own plant-based meals for years. In fact, even before I was vegetarian, I cooked a lot on my own since my mother wasn’t exactly a culinary wizard. She bought canned vegetables which are terrifying on their own but made even more troubling since she cooked them in the can. Honestly.

Years before there was a Food Network, I watched cooking shows on PBS. I wasn’t tempted to make the meat-based dishes I saw but I did start to teach myself to cook by watching these on-air chefs. I marveled at the pure uniqueness of Julia Child but had to look away as she abused some poor carcass with a mallet. My favorite was probably The Frugal Gourmet, with Jeffrey Smith. (Mind you, this was all before he went down in a sexual abuse scandal).

As much as I enjoyed watching these shows, most of them weren’t making anything I would actually eat. Still, these programs made me want to cook for reasons beyond the basic need of feeding my face.

For years, guests at my home have joked that they felt like they were watching “The Dave Huffman Cooking Show” as they chatted with me in the kitchen. One evening, as I was making dinner for one of my best friends, he jokingly referred to me as a “bitchy vegan homo.” I immediately declared that if I ever did have my own cooking show, that would be my show’s title.

On April 21, the pilot episode of Bitchy Vegan Homo, featuring Matt Fish of Melt Bar & Grilled, went live on YouTube, making this dinner party joke a reality. I’m excited to bring my love of vegan comfort food served with a bit of gay sass to the masses.

My show, and website (bitchyveganhomo.com), showcases delicious vegan takes on classics like mac and cheese, pancakes, and a slew of desserts. I hope you’ll tune in and tryout some of these recipes. I promise they will satisfy vegans and flesh eaters alike.

As for VegFest, I will be hosting a live cooking demo from 3:15 pm-4:15 pm. I will highlight some easy vegan recipes to make your next party a hit with all of your guests. Did I mention that I’m not only a bitchy vegan homo but I’m also the world’s best host? I didn’t? Perhaps that will be my next YouTube show’s name.

— Dave Huffman

Last year’s VegFest drew 10,000 attendees. Event organizers expect this year’s event to be even bigger.

 The Cleveland VegFest on Saturday, May 5, is presented by the Cleveland Vegan Society. A $5 admission is suggested and appreciated at the door. The event has grown to include more than 100 vendors, informational lectures by renown speakers, films, live music, and plenty of compassionate and conscious food choice. Full details here.