American Natural Foods, Inc…
was originally founded to fund the American Natural Foods Team in its quest for the vegan vegetarian gold at the International Culinary Olympics.
In 1978, a few years after becoming a plant-based vegetarian, Chef Ron Pickarski was searching for a way to promote vegetarian cuisine on an international stage. At an American Culinary Federation meeting in Chicago, he learned that he could compete in the International Culinary Olympics. In 1980, upon qualifying professionally through certifications and culinary competitions, he decided it was time to compete.
Chef Pickarski competed in 1980, winning Bronze; 1984, winning Bronze; 1988, winning two Silver medals; and 1992, wining Silver. In 1996, he established American Natural Foods, Inc. as a non-profit organization to fund his final team competition. That same year, the team won the Gold medal in the first-ever vegetarian category. ANF’s goal of showcasing plant-based vegetarian cuisine on the international stage was a magnificent success.
Part of ANF’s goal today is putting that same cuisine, in a modest version of the Olympic presentations, on America’s plate and inspiring Americans to embrace this new cuisine. At this point, to Chef Ron’s delight, the International Culinary Olympics (IKA) mandates that all national teams competing present a vegetarian course.
In 2019, ANF will be launching a professional plant-based competition, the first of its kind. Through this competition, we hope to encourage plant-based innovation that eventually makes its way back to your dinner table.