Vendy Awards to spotlight and honor city’s best street vendors

The city’s top sidewalk chefs go head-to-head this Saturday.

The city’s top sidewalk chefs will go head-to-head this Saturday for the title of best street vendor.

This year’s Vendy Awards mark the 10th anniversary of the popular cook-off, which is expected to draw 2,500 foodies to Governors Island.

“When we started doing the Vendy Awards, the iPhone wasn’t even out yet,” said Zeina Muna, the Vendys’ managing director. “Now with social media and blogs, the word-of-mouth has grown.”

Six celebrity guests and one fan will judge the competition, created by the Street Vendor Project at the Urban Justice Center.

The judges include Food Network chef Alex Guarnaschelli, TV personality Adam Richman and the city’s commissioner of small business services Maria Torres-Springer.

Five food trucks will vie for the top prize, the Vendy Cup. They are The Cinnamon Snail, Desi Food Truck, El Rey Del Taco, Lechonera La Pirana and Nuchas. Visitors who purchased tickets will have a chance to try each of those nominees’ dishes and vote in the “People’s Taste Award.”

Additional vendors will compete for rookie of the year, best dessert and best market vendor.

Muna said the food truck owners, who operate all over the city, take great pride in being considered for any of the awards.

“Even if they don’t win an award, being on the nomination list puts them on the A list,” she said.

To mark the 10th anniversary, several winners from past Vendy Awards will also duke it out for the Masters Cup award.

“It reminds people how far we have come by looking at these winners,” said Muna.

Ivan Pereira