Who are the best street chefs in L.A.? The Vendy Awards, serving New York for the past five years, will make their West Coast debut in May to help answer that question, the The N.Y. Street Vendor's Project announced this morning. The coveted "Best Vendor" award won't necessarily go straight to Roy Choi and Kogi, as the finalists are determined by popular vote online. The Vendys are linked to the Asociacion de Loncheros, the grassroots organization that stands up for the rights of neighborhood taco trucks, rather than the SoCal Mobile Food Vendors Association, which reps trendy new trucks. In other words, real L.A. street food is being put on a pedestal this time. So where will the honors take place?
Staying very true to the streets, the Vendys will be awarded during a cook-off bash at MacArthur Park on May 15th, capping off the first national street vending conference, "Contesting the Streets: Vending, Open-Air Markets, and Public Space," that runs through the weekend at UCLA. All-you-can-eat street food is promised for $50, proceeds going to organizations like CHIRLA and the UCLA Downtown Labor Center. The judges, who will name a final cook-off winner based on flavor, portability and personality, haven't been decided yet, but we'll bet our lunch that J. Gold will be there. Stay tuned to find out who the finalists are on May 1.
The L.A. Vendy Awards May 15th, 4:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. at MacArthur Park.
Earlier: Vendy Awards Finalists Are Announced [Grub Street NYC]