Homegrown winners

Stephen and Stephanie Rocard from The Flying Pigeon (Damjan Janevski). 404871_01

Zoe Moffatt

With the smell of truffle mixed mushrooms, pesto and porcini dust in the air, Kyneton based cafe Social Foundry plates up its award-winning combination with fresh avocado on sourdough toast.

For cafe manager Jess Ford, it’s a meal she often eats for lunch, and will stay on the specials board at the cafe for about a month.

“[The dish] was a variation of a meal we had on our previous menu… we wanted a lot of flavours without relying on [ingredients like] goat’s cheese or eggs,” she said.

While the team at Social Foundry were feeling hopeful and happy with the dish they had created, Ms Ford said there were a lot of good cafes that entered the competition.

“We had a couple of people come in who mentioned they were trying all the venues [in the competition], but we also had a lot of people visit from Melbourne.

“Once they saw the promo card on the table they were happy to try.”

Ms Ford said the cafe is about to change its menu, and looks forward to entering the competition next year.

In the restaurant category, Gisborne based The Flying Pigeon restaurant was once again crowned the winner with its crunchy and crispy wok tossed green beans made with a sweet, smokey savoury vegan XO paste.

The Flying Pigeon owners Stephen and Stephanie Rocard have now claimed the restaurant award for two years in a row, following their winning Yuxiang eggplant dish last year.

With a range of inclusive meal options, such as plant based, low fodmap and no soy or nut dishes, locals can check out The Flying Pigeon on Goode Street in Gisborne.

The edgy veg awards and trail initially started in 2022 by the ​​Veg Action group in an effort to encourage people to eat more vegetables and try new dishes.

Project coordinator Lucy Campbell said the initiative is great for people that might be hesitant to try plant based or haven’t cooked that way before.

“[When you try eating plant based meals out] I think people realise that you can have beautiful food and don’t need meat on dairy or anything to make it super tasty,” she said.

“A lot of the cafes [and restaurants] are using local produce, so things that are growing seasonally in the Macedon Ranges and they’re working with what’s local.

“It helps keep prices down to eat locally sourced food and that can be amazingly cheap to have legumes as your protein source as opposed to buying meat.”

Details: veg.mrsg.org.au/edgy-veg-awards