Vegan Fried Chicken Vendor Atlas Monroe Is ‘Best’ Says National Fried Chicken Festival Judge

At this year’s National Fried Chicken Festival, vegan catering company Atlas Monroe’s plant-based Cajun Fried Chicken and Waffles were declared “the best” by Time’s Extra Crispy editor, and one of the event’s judges, Ryan Grim.

Despite the fact it was the only vegan vendor at the New Orleans festival, Atlas Monroe made quite an impression on Grim.

Grim was tasked with sampling and reviewing the range of fried chicken from all 35 festival vendors. He wrote that “all the dishes [were] pretty good,” making the competition tough. However, Grim declared that Atlas Monroe’s vegan chicken reigned supreme as the tastiest dish.

The meatless dish is made entirely from wheat protein and covered in a batter flavored by a signature blend of spices. “The thigh and drumstick were super-crunchy and super-tender, even after sitting for a while,”  he reviewed. “The skin was thick, nubby, and crunchier than any fried chicken skin I’d ever encountered. And … it wasn’t even chicken. It was vegan.”


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He went on to praise the vegan dish as the most enjoyable fried chicken” and called it a “meatless wonder” that was a hit with all of the judges. “Atlas Monroe’s plant-based food will convert any fried chicken traditionalist,” he said.

Deborah and Jonathan Torres, the founders of San Francisco-based Atlas Monroe, shared their excitement via Instagram. “I woke up this morning SCREAMING,” the post read. “I’m getting emails and texts from strangers and friends all over the world announcing their congrats and cheering us on.”

The chefs also raved about the future of plant-based eating when speaking to Grim. “If you can eat big, juicy, extra-crispy pieces of succulent and flavorful fried chicken without harming any animals using a hundred percent organic and fresh ingredients, why wouldn’t you?” Deborah asked.

Atlas Monroe has also served its vegan fried chicken at a number of festivals including San Francisco’s Brew Fest ‘n’ Vegan Eats, Los Angeles’ Vegan Street Fair, and Vegandale Houston. It has plans to open up retail locations soon.

Image credit: Atlas Monroe

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