It's a contest, and the diners vote for the winner. Jojo at vegan.in.brighton invited me to join her this year, and considering how envious I have been in past years, I was all for it. Sadly, my suspicion that I bring bad luck around with me like a personal storm cloud was reinforced, because most of this stuff was hella gross.
Everything I have eaten that was actually made by Moshimo chefs has been wonderful. It's this whole letting-other-chefs-use-your-kitchen-and-feed-utter-nonsense-to-unsuspecting-patrons thing that gets tricky. At this event, eight chefs from different Brighton restaurants and catering companies came in and shared a vegan dish that incorporated the vegan sushi theme and their individual restaurant's style. It's a chance for great local chefs to be really creative and exciting and impressive. Usually, they are. This year, due to my storm cloud (but mostly due to lack of effort, taste buds, and common sense), the dishes ranged from boring to inedible to almost good, the worst kind. Well no, 'inedible' is I guess worse than food that with a little more effort could have been solid, but the latter makes me angrier. Let's see what went down!
First, let's look at all the wonderful food that Moshimo sent out between contest dishes to keep us happy. Seriously, these dishes were the best part of the night. Moshimo is a conveyor-belt-style sushi place, so it was really fun to pick the best looking plate coming down the belt. And it was really smart to keep diners happy and full with actually decent food.
The dish from catering company 64 Degrees was at least properly named. It was called Gotcha, which is mean but it's honest. And yeah, everything about this felt like trickery. It wasn't bad at all, as a snack, but it was odd as a meal. Who thought of this? I wish I could have been in the room when the following conversation undoubtedly took place:
"We should take those small square Japanese rice crackers that everyone knows well from bulk bins and are generically named "Asian Snack" and soak them in a sweet sauce until they get chewy. BUT NOT SOFT."
-- "Um, Pete, that's really weird. We're trying to impress people with how good vegan sushi can be."
"F%*# vegans! All good sushi has fish in it. So let's just take something that's already vegan - rice cracker thingies, they don't have a name - and serve it like it's dinner."
-- "But that will be really...weird. It might be a decent snack, but that's not a good meal. We're trying to win a contest here by presenting dinner food."
"If we win, then vegans win."
"Do you want vegans to win?"
"Do you have a better idea?"
And that's the story behind how we were served bowls of those crunchy rice crackery things soaked in a sweet miso glaze until they became unbelievably chewy and caramelized, and how we all lost teeth and gained future cavities.
Man alive, can you believe this showing? Do I dare attend next year? It can only improve, right? Even though a lot of the dishes were gross, I'm really glad I went this year. I now know so many businesses to avoid! But seriously it was a lot of fun, and it's always good to get Moshimo sushi! Even if I had to eat a lot of other crap as well.