Local Home Chef Appears on Vegan Cooking Competition Today

Teresa Stone is making her debut on YouTube’s Top Vegan, a vegan cooking competition filmed in Columbus.
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Teresa Stone is ready for her YouTube closeup. Starting today, the Loveland-based home chef and vegan recipe developer appears on the first season of the internet cooking competition Top Vegan.

APRIL 2023

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF TOP VEGAN

The show features eight vegan chefs competing in six challenges across six days. For each challenge, the participants got 75 minutes to prepare a new vegan dish. The overall winner will receive $10,000 and a business mentorship. New episodes air weekly on Thursdays at 6 p.m. EST.

“I love reality cooking shows,” Stone says. “Top Chef, MasterChef, Iron Chef—I’ve seen them all! I always wished I could participate in that kind of competition, but as a vegan home chef, there were no options that aligned with my dietary restrictions and level of cooking skill.”

Last summer, Stone—who went vegan while she was in college in the ’80s and has been perfecting her recipes at home for her family for more than 30 years—saw a post in a local vegan Facebook group about a production company seeking applicants for a new concept that was just what she’d been looking for. On a whim, she submitted several photos and descriptions of meals she had prepared for her family. Since she’s not a professional chef and had never worked in a restaurant, she didn’t think she had a chance of being chosen.

“When I received an email from Chad inviting me to be a contestant, I was shocked,” Stone recalls. “There was a moment of panic when I thought, ‘What on earth have I gotten myself into?!’”

The show was filmed at Columbus State Community College’s culinary facility Mitchell Hall and was created and hosted by Chad Goodwin, vegan restauranteur and owner of Columbus’s 4th & State.

“What was particularly fascinating was seeing all that goes into the production of a show like that,” she says. “There were sound guys, a make-up artist, camera people, producers, director, not to mention the host, judges and other cast members. I never thought I would experience whipping up a batch of biscuits with a huge camera literally a foot away, documenting my every move.”

APRIL 2023

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF TOP VEGAN

While it was nerve wracking at times, the show brought out her competitive spirit. Prior to appearing on the show, her homebrew chili won the “People’s Choice Award,” “Best Use of Ingredients,” and “Most Likely to Fool a Carnivore” categories during beloved green general store Park+Vine’s chili competition. More recently, her recipe for black bean picadillo was featured in the cookbook, Rust Belt Vegan Kitchen.

“I’m a very competitive person,” she says. “For three weeks before the show’s filming, I practiced cooking against the clock to acclimate myself with time pressure. I learned how to be efficient, how to multitask, and what was possible for me to accomplish in an hour. I figured out how to adapt bread recipes to accommodate a shorter rising time. I thought a lot about what sorts of things I could do to make a dish stand out flavor-wise and visually, too.”

Her love of culinary competitions even helped her pinpoint which dishes to avoid during challenges. (“Risotto, I’m talking about you!”)

Stone says she hopes to host a vegan supper club at her home sometime this summer so that she can apply all of the lessons she learned on the show and entertain guests who share her passion for exquisite vegan food.

“I wasn’t there for the $10,000,” she says. “I wasn’t there for the business mentorship. “I was just there to cook my heart out, challenge myself, check off this bucket list opportunity, and accumulate a wealth of stories to tell.”

To see more of Stone’s recipes, follow her on Instagram at @veganfooding.and.shooting.

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