Winner will be featured on the cover of Taste of Home magazine, cook with Carla Hall, and take home $25,000!

Finalist

Lillian Cumic

Favorite Chef would allow me to create a Hawaii-based cooking show where food is both a visual feast and a celebration of health.

     

Currently 9

in the Final 12

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Voting for this year's Favorite Chef ends Thursday the 25th of July at 7PM PDT

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Who or what inspires you to cook?

As a vegan chef, I'm deeply inspired each time I see the surprise and joy on someone's face as they discover my dishes are entirely plant-based. These moments of wonder fuel my creativity and drive my mission to elevate vegan cuisine to new heights, proving it can rival any traditional dish in flavor and satisfaction. It's about changing perceptions and inspiring healthier, mindful eating, one plate at a time.

What's your all time favorite dish to make?

My all-time favorite dish, Beet Wellington, encapsulates everything I love about vegan cooking. A vibrant tender beet and tofu center enveloped in a layer of umami-packed mushroom duxelles, and wrapped in homemade puff pastry—flaky, buttery, and golden. I serve it with a shiitake mushroom dashi gravy, which adds a silky, savory note that enhances every other element on the plate. This dish challenges conventional expectations making it a standout representation of how dynamic vegan food c

What would you do with the $25,000?

I'd launch "Nourishing Paradise," a cooking show designed for health-conscious foodies and avid travelers seeking an authentic taste of Hawaiian culture and cuisine. By transforming classic dishes with plant-based twists and infusing every recipe with the spirit of Aloha, this show will not only celebrate Hawaii’s unique flavors but also position the islands as a premier culinary destination, inviting viewers worldwide to explore and embrace our vibrant food culture.

James Beard Foundation

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