Lisa Pitman has been a vegan since childhood. She works full-time as a social worker, specializing in macro practice (policy and research), and has worked in family violence, child welfare, youth development and with children who have special needs. Outside of her day job, she has completed a Raw Chef Certificate at Matthew Kenney OKC (formerly 105 Academy) and enjoys hosting cooking demos, creating food-based outreach events, and contributing recipes for One Green Planet and the Toronto Vegetarian Association, as well as originating and organizing the Annual Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake-Off. She recently co-wrote Tiny Treats, a vegan cookbook available as an ebook.
1. Tell us about the Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake-Off!
The Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake-Off is an amazing annual celebration of incredibly delicious, cruelty-free confections. It brings together, passionate plant-based bakers with enthusiastic eaters.
The Bake-Off is a perfect event to invite along those who believe that a vegan lifestyle involves deprivation – once they see table after table of spectacular sweets, it would be hard to believe that the vegan diet is anything but bountiful.
2. Why did you start the Vegan Bake-Off?
Five years ago, we were looking to create a community celebration of compassion.
3. Why do you think Toronto is such an ideal place for the Vegan Bake-Off to be so successful?
The event has certainly evolved over the past five years. The first year about 50 of us gathered in a small park, to sample the sweets and recognize local bakers. The following year we sold almost 600 tickets in an hour.
Toronto has a vibrant vegan community and a growing awareness of veganism among the mainstream culture. We have vegan treats in our cafes, we have thriving vegan bakeries, and we have lots and lots of fantastic home bakers who can’t wait to show-off their skills. Sweets from the Earth is the perfect example. Your goodies are now found in restaurants and grocery stores all across Toronto, showing that veganism in Toronto has grown and truly entered the mainstream in this city.
4. Tell us 3 reasons people (or businesses) should enter the Vegan Bake-Off?
Amazing prizes! Every year we put together fantastic prize packs for our winners donated from local and international vegan businesses, like Sweets from the Earth!
Bragging rights. Who doesn’t want to be able to say they make the best vegan cupcake in the city? You get a 1st place ribbon to help you tell the tale.
Community. Participating means that you’re part of creating a special event, a rare gathering focused on celebrating compassion and changing ideas about what it means to follow a vegan lifestyle.
5. If you were entering the Bake-Off yourself, what kind of treat do you think you would make?
I’m just getting into the Valentine’s Day mode and would love to create a decadent lavender infused chocolate truffle.
6. What is your favourite thing to do besides planning for Toronto’s sweetest event?