The first-ever Bhakti Chai recipe challenge, organized in partnership with the impressive holistic culinary program at Bauman College, yielded this winning recipe: a vegan chili. It’s truly delicious!
Lucky me (again): Last week I got to judge the first-ever Bhakti Chai recipe challenge, organized in partnership with Bauman College Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts.
(Spoiler alert: This vegan chili was the winner!)
If you know me at all, you already know my obsession with fair-trade, spicy Bhakti Chai (find out more about this forward-thinking company here). But you may not be familiar with Bauman College.
I like to say that Bauman College—with outposts in Berkeley, Sonoma County, Santa Cruz, and Boulder—is one of the nation’s best-kept culinary secrets: a nonprofit program that trains people in health-supportive nutrition and cooking skills. Though students are well-versed in classic techniques, this ain’t your typical French-style cooking school; with the focus on taste and health, the curriculum specifically advocates organic, whole foods, nutritive herbs, and appropriate supplements. As detailed in the mission statement, “our unifying philosophy aims to change the way people consume food from convenience to conscious eating.” Professional programs focus on two tracks: Natural Chef and Nutrition Consultant, with the goal of placing graduates in schools, businesses, hospitals, clinics, private families, and more to spread the gospel of eating for health.
Every single dish made by Bauman College students that I’ve had the pleasure of tasting has been delicious, healthy, creative, and full of incredible ingredients. Their approach to cooking is, in my opinion, exactly what the world needs.
So when the good people at Bhakti Chai asked me to judge their first-ever recipe contest—highlighting the fact that the chai is not just a delicious drink, but also a versatile cooking ingredient—I leaped at it. The rules were simple: to create a original recipe that used Bhakti Chai as a key ingredient. Judging criteria included best use and flavor of Bhakti, recipe user-friendliness, and visual appeal.
I can say without exaggeration that all seven entries were fantastic (and I hope to share more of them with you later!). But this vegan Bhakti Chai-infused Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili, created by natural chef Tammy Gould, was the clear winner. It’s absolutely bursting with flavor, with just the right amount of spice and a nice crunch from the pomegranate seeds. The recipe also includes a Bhakti-infused vegan cream garnish that is great on its own; I want to try it on pancakes, squash soup, or oatmeal.
We’ll be printing chef Gould’s recipe in a later edition of Delicious Living, but I didn’t want to wait until then to get it into your hands. Enjoy!