Whole Foods Market And Meatopia Denounced By Nation’s Vegans

Much hand-wringing has ensued in the vegan community over this past weekend’s Meatopia festival in New York City. As we all know, the party is the brainchild of Josh Ozersky, the James Beard award winning writer who champions meat and the ethical consumption of animals.

Upwards of three thousand people were ferried over to Randall’s Island, where thirty some odd chefs from all over the USA had built big fires and commenced to grilling a zoo’s worth of animals. The island was carved into districts with each zone having its own name and own meaty theme.

Here’s the breakdown:

Meatopia Heights

  • Michael White, Marea: Grilled Pork Cheeks with Late Summer Vegetable Mostarda
  • Alex Guarnaschelli, The Darby: Canard A La Presse With Sauce Chasseur
  • Franklin Becker, FDB Group: Danish Meatballs With Creamy Dill Sauce
  • Paul Denamiel, Le Rivage:  Beef Shin Bourguignon with Bacon and Champignons de Paris
  • Anthony Goncalves, 42 (White Plains, NY): “Paella de Puerco” with Soft Egg and Jalapenos


Deckle District

  • Scotty Smith, RUB: Skin-On Barbecued Jamaican Jerk Pork Belly; “East-West” BBQ Spare Ribs (Thrillist VIP)
  • Aaron Franklin, Franklin’s BBQ (Austin TX): Beef Brisket With Onion, Pickle And “Air Bread”
  • Jim n’ Nicks Sponsored Chefs:  ”The Fatback Collective”: Donald Link, Link Restaurant Group, Ryan Prewitt,  Herbsaint; , Cochon (New Orleans, LA); Sam Jones, Skyline Inn (Ayden, NC); Rodney Scott, Scott’s BBQ (Hemingway, SC), Sean Brock, McCradys (Charleston, SC) Nick Pihakis, Jim ‘N Nicks BBQ (Birmingham, AL):  Barbecued Fatback Farms Heritage Whole Hog, Mangalista Pork Rack, Cochon Boudin & Pork Cracklins
  • John Stage, Dinosaur BBQ:  Barbecued St. Louis Spare Ribs


Carcass Hill

  • April Bloomfield, The Breslin: Whole Hampshire Hog With Spicy Pepper Seasoning
  • Sponsor / Chef Pat Lafrieda: Whole Thousand-Pound Marinated Creekstone Steer
  • Santiago Garat (Belcampo): Whole Lamb Asado, Uruguayan-Style


The Quarter

  • Adam Perry Lang, Barbacoa (London, England): “Prime Rib Cooked Like a Steak” (VIP); BBQ Short Ribs (Meatopia)
  • Marc Forgione, Marc Forgione: Grilled Rib Steak with Bone Marrow Maitre ‘D Butter and Pickled Grilled Onions
  • Naomi Pomeroy, Beast (Portland, OR): Wood-Seared Intercostal “Finger Meat” with Pickled Watermelon Remoulade
  • Joey Campanaro, the little owl: Sangria Marinated Butcher Steak with Hearts of Romaine alla Caesar
  • Justin Smillie, Il Buco Alimentari: Spit-Roasted Short Ribs W Castelvetrano Olives, Celery, Walnuts And Horseradish
  • Creekstone Farms Sponsored Chef: Jon Adams, Pub & Kitchen (Philadelphia, PA): Grilled “Vegas Strip” Steak Two Ways with Pickled Red Onion and Carrot Salad
  • Tim Byres, Smoke (Dallas. TX): Dry Rubbed Best Butcher’s Steak with Pickled Celery, Mustard Caviar & Buttermilk


Embassy Row

  • Kris Yenbamroong, Night Market (Los Angeles, CA):  Moo Sadoong  or “Startled Pig” Spicy Pork Salad w/Herbs & Raw Garlic) (VIP); Kor Moo Yang (Hog Collar) With “Jaew”  Thai Chili Dip
  • Julia Jaksic, Employees Only: Mini-Balkan burgers with Kaimak and Avjar
  • Serafim Ferdekis, BZ Grill: Grilled Sefalia Sausage with Caul-Fat Wrapping; Cheese-Filled Biftecki Burger
  • Phillipe Massoud, Ilili: Zatar and Sumac-Seasoned Pulled Lamb Shoulder Sandwich
  • Ed Fraundeder, Edi and the Wolf: Veal Roulade with Peaches, Arugula and Rye Bread Vinaigrette
  • Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar, The Cooking Channel’s “Extra Virgin”: Pizza al Carpaccio made with Certified Piedmontese Beef



  • Adam Sappington, The Country Cat (Portland, OR): “Friday Morning” Turkey Trio: Confited Wings, Pope’s Nose, Turkey Scrapple
  • Amstel Light Sponsored Chef Zak Pelaccio, Fatty Crab:  Spit Duck W/ Lady Jayne’s Preserved Citrus
  • Esquire Magazine Sponsored Chef Mike Toscano, PerlaGrilled Quail Alla Diavola with Charred Scallions and Buttermilk Dressing
  • Wyndham Tryp Sponsored Chef: John Walsh, Gastro Bar at 35thGrilled Chicken Thighs On Puff Pastry with Piquillo Peppers, White Sardines, Cameros Cheese Veil
  • Craig Koketsu, The Hurricane Club / Quality Meats: Peking Chicken with Chicken-Skin Crisp
  • Hemant Mathur, TulsiTandoori Chicken Creamy Pistachio, Fennel & Cinnamon Sauce, Tomato Rice


Meatopia County Game Reserve

  • US Navy SEALs:  Grilled Venison Steaks & Marinated Tenderloin 
  • Harold Moore, Commerce, Duo of Squab: Rillette of Dark Meat and Roasted Breast Ancienne
  • Shane Mcbride, Balthazar: Smoked Duck Neck Gumbo With Wild Rice



  • Jonathan Sawyer, Greenhouse Tavern (Cleveland, OH): “Brains and Bread”: Scrambled Brains and Eggs with Crispy Sweetbreads And Lamb Liver Bottarga
  • Takashi Inoue, Takashi: Beef Belly In Takashi’s Bbq Marinade; Nakaochi Kalbi In Miso Burnt Butter Marinade; Tongue In Shiso Marinade With Scallion Ginger Salsa; Heart In Shio Marinade With Minced Heart Chili Sauce
  • Noah Bernamoff, Mile End: Grilled Veal Brisket with Charred Garlic Scapes
  • Andy Little, Shepherd Mansion (Hanover, Pa): Scrapple Sliders On Martin’s Potato Rolls With Chow-Chow Vinaigrette



It makes other meat-centric party organizers around the country look like pikers. With this magnitude of talent, the festival did not go unnoticed in the vegan community.

Vegan Zeitgeist declared corporate sponsor Whole Foods to be Eco Terrorists.

Vegan News Net cried out “….A celebration of butchery & slaughter {Meatopia} – is disgusting & irresponsible”

Compassionate Report ” As Whole Foods grows veganism is undermined. Whole Foods robs vegans of buying power to hold annual slaughterfest Meatopia

If Safeway or Piggly Wiggly were sponsoring this affair nobody would murmur a word. Why is Whole Foods being held to a different standard?

The only job that Whole Foods has is to make money. If they can make a buck off a bunch of bananas they will. If they can make a buck off a ribeye steak they will. They are a business. As long as your money is green they will heartily greet you when you walk in the door and count the money you spent at their store while you lie in bed at night.

They don’t have any responsibility to the vegan community. Nor do they have any responsibility to the carnivore community. It’s silly to hold them to any sort of ethical standards that exist in your worldview, whatever that may be.

And if someone came to them with a well-planned Veganopia festival you can bet they’d jump on board. Because advertising/sponsorships enhance your businesses credentials to the target audience of the festival.

Meatopia is a huge event for the carnists and blog-based media. Thousands of articles will be penned on the affair with Whole Foods receiving tons of tangential coverage. Any grocery store chain would jump at the opportunity to have their name spread around so thoroughly by traditional as well as new media.

It’s smart business decisions like this that have made Whole Foods into the megalith that they are today.

The only question remaining about the affair is how did Pat Lafrieda marinate an entire thousand pound steer before grilling the beast? Swimming pool? World’s largest Yeti cooler?

more coverage: Austin Texas Barbecue: Pit Boss Aaron Franklin Wins Grand Champion At New York City’s Meatopia


photo credit https://twitter.com/arielraks






About RL Reeves Jr

I'm a writer living and working in New Orleans, Louisiana.
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