The Vendy Awards return for the 13th year on Saturday, and the contenders are lining up their trucks and carts for the “Oscars of street food.”
After soliciting nominations from the public for their favorite sidewalk chefs, contest organizers pared down the list last month to five finalists in categories like dessert vendors, vegan ones and rookies. Those finalists will compete in a cook-off on Governors Island this weekedn, when ticket holders and a panel of celebrity judges including Saveur editor-in-chief Adam Sachs and Resy CEO Ben Leventhal choose the winners.
amNewYork has the specs on this year’s rookie contenders — the freshly minted vendors who could be the next Luke’s Lobster, Calexico or Wafels & Dinges.
“For me, this is such an exciting category because these vendors are so new and enthusiastic,” said Street Vendor Project director Sean Basinski, whose nonprofit organizes the awards as a fundraiser.
“Years from now they will be battered by all the stress and difficulty of selling on the street, but right now they are in their moment.”
Stuf’d co-founder Rebecca Mitchel and her partner Josh LoCascio were honored and excited to be nominated as a rookie vendor, Mitchel said.
“When we found out about the nomination, we were freaking out,” she said. They’re be preparing 1,500 to 2,000 samples of their best selling sandwiches to woo the judges and the public this weekend, with LoCascio in the truck and Mitchel giving her best pitch.
Here are the cliff notes you need on Stuf’d and their competition before you judge their cooking: