Local chef, entrepreneur ends as a finalist on a YouTube show

Local chef & entrepreneur is a finalist on a YouTube show
Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 4:34 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A local home chef who has spent the past 20 years making the perfect vegan dishes for her family decided to enter a food competition on a whim and ended up coming out on top.

Teresa Stone was the first runner-up on the debut YouTube show called Top Vegan. Finishing as a finalist gave her the motivation to keep going, leading her to launch a new business called Sumac and Sage.

The Loveland home chef left quite the impression among local chefs and viewers during the Top Vegan Chef competition this year in Columbus.

”I tried to really push myself all week get outside of my comfort zone, think outside the box and I think it really paid off. Placing second in a competition, I’ll take that,” Stone said.

After competing, Stone says a new fire inside of her ignited, leading her to launch Sumac and Sage, a pop-up dining experience.

”Sumac and Sage was a concept I pitched on the show where I would go in and take over a restaurant for a single evening and I would highlight specific cuisine from a country or a region,” explained Stone.

She held her first event in Columbus about one month ago.

”I was Initially a little concerned. I’ve never done anything like this before and I thought, ‘Well is anybody going to show up?’ The tickets sold out like that so there was a lot of demand. And we were joking that there was as much demand as a Taylor Swift concert because the tickets sold so quickly,” she said.

This was another validating moment for the stay-at-home mom and chef.

Stone’s journey to become a vegan chef began when she decided to try a vegan diet 25 years ago.

”Back when I became vegetarian and vegan there weren’t restaurants that would cater to that diet, so in order to eat I had to cook and so that was really the starting point for my cooking journey and it did not start out auspiciously. I had a lot of mistakes and a lot of failures,” she said.

Dish by dish, Stone built up her skill set and confidence in the kitchen, becoming a master of her own right in vegan food.

”When I first competed I was by far the oldest contestant. I think I was old enough to be the mother of every contestant every crew member, basically everybody. And it really hammered home that no matter how old you are, where you are in life, if there’s an opportunity, go for it,” Stone emphasized.

The local chef says she is currently planning more dining experiences here in the Tri-State.

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