Photo by Texasfoodgawker, via Wikimedia Commons

It seems every year, more and more excellent vegan options emerge as alternatives for our favorite everyday snacks. Nowhere is that more apparent than at the World Vegan Mac N’ Cheese Championship, which Baltimore is hosting for the third straight year.

Once known as the “Vegan Mac N’ Cheese Smackdown,” the event brings together thousands of chefs, caterers and foodies who love mac n’ cheese, and know how to make it a strong dish (or enjoy it) without any dairy products or other ingredients made from living creatures and their byproducts. The event’s website lists nearly 30 contestants for the competition, including The Land of Kush’s Gregory Brown, Stall 11’s J.J. Reidy and The Laughing Pint’s Toure’ Stoney, among other locals.

A four-judge panel (which includes Baltimore Del. Nick Mosby) will ultimately pick the winner, who takes home a $2,500 grand prize.

Expect a crowd; organizers say more than 1,000 people came out to the inaugural competition in 2016, 2,500 attended last year, and upwards of 4,000 people are expected to come this time around.

The event is a cornerstone piece of Baltimore’s second annual Vegan Restaurant Week, which begins today and ends Feb. 18.

Event runs in two-hour slots from 12-2 p.m. and 3-5 p.m; Radisson Hotel downtown, 101 W. Fayette Street; $15 for adults, $10 for children. More info here.

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...