NCVA Member Giveaway: Two tickets to ZenKitchen’s June 10 fundraiser

This giveaway is now closed – thank you to everyone who entered it!

ZenKitchen has been a long-time friend and supporter to the NCVA for more than five years.  From the moment it opened its doors, ZenKitchen offered an NCVA member discount (10%), sponsored several Veg Fests, and has hosted us on a number of special occasions (anyone remember the special NCVA pub night a couple of years ago?)

Not only that, ZenKitchen has been lending credibility to our message that vegan food can be just as tasty as even the most “gourmet” omnivorous food. It has changed the hearts and minds of countless people in the Ottawa region, making our job a little bit easier.

Dave and Keira serving noms at Veg Fest 2010.

So we were pretty bummed out when we learned of ZenKitchen’s sudden closing just over a week ago. It’s not just upsetting from a vegan options point of view; it was also sad to hear about the struggles of our longtime comrade David Loan.  If only we could have helped, we thought.

Now with the fundraiser that’s being held, Great Chefs Go Vegan, we can!  The NCVA has purchased two tickets for the June 10 event, and will give a set of them away to one lucky NCVA member who enters this giveaway.  (You can buy event tickets here.)

Here’s the event description:

Enjoy gourmet vegan street food from a number of Ottawa Chefs, including Tarak Hassan (Gungfu Bao), Dave Kwan (Shanghai) and others. Live jazz, silent auction, and more!

Proceeds from the event will go to help ZenKitchen recover from recent financial issues and reopen for the public’s enjoyment.

To enter:  If you’ve been to ZenKitchen, tell us here on the blog the best memory that you have from being there. If you have not been there, check out their brunch, lunch or dinner menu and tell us what you’ll have when you finally go!


Details: Giveaway is open to Ottawa-area NCVA members, excluding those in Quebec. We’re using the honour system here, but reserve the right to confirm your membership status. If you aren’t a member, you can easily become one. (Participating on our Facebook page does not equal membership.)  If you’re not sure if you’re a member, email  One random winner will win two tickets to the ZenKitchen fundraiser event to be held on June 10, 2014, valued at $214, to be provided at the door.  Giveaway closes on Tuesday, June 3 at 11:59 PM EST.  One entry per person. Winner will be chosen by random number generator.

The NCVA cannot be held responsible for the winner’s enjoyment at the event, nor can this prize be exchanged for anything else, regardless of circumstances. If you win, please do not try to get a refund on your ticket if you’ve already purchased one – that is counterproductive to the fundraising effort. Consider this a bonus and bring some friends.

20 thoughts on “NCVA Member Giveaway: Two tickets to ZenKitchen’s June 10 fundraiser”

  1. I have been there only once with my girls and would love to come back again! I’ve just looked to the menu and I have to admit that the Fine-Herb Gnocchi especially speak to my heart…

  2. My favorite memory was when my boyfriend and I brought his parents and a couple of family friends to Zen for dinner. They were not vegan but willing to give it a try based on the great reviews it had gotten in the past. The food was amazing and our guest found it a great outing. This was a great feeling for me especially because they just thought I was going through a vegan phase and Zen helped them realize what I was doing was a real option. Since then they have started to be a lot more helpful with my diet when we stay with them.

  3. I went to Zen Kitchen once. It was there that I enjoyed great food and met some like minded individuals. These people are now friends! I will always remember where we met.

  4. Last time I went to to Zen I had polenta (spellcheck wants to change that to “tadpole” for some weird reason!!!), but if I could do it again I would chose this: Marinated Silken Tofu with smoked tomato broth, herbed pistou, house-made salami, scallions, marinated smoked eggplant, crisp mushrooms. Doesn’t it sound FABULOUS?
    Please enter me in the draw for 2 tickets to the Zen kitchen fundraiser🙂

  5. I have never been to Zen Kitchen, but I was hoping to go on a special occasion. I still hope I’ll be able to.
    I would have the Fine-Herb Gnocchi, because gnocchi is delicious and is so hard to do right if you’re not a good cook (and I am not). For dessert, the Chocolate-vanilla swirl Cheesecake. Mmmmmm.

  6. I went to Zen kitchen when it was first opened with someone who had discovered Carolyn Ishi before she had opened the restaurant. He had taken cooking lessons from her and had not even noticed that the food he was learning to make was vegan. He was very surprised when he figured it out, as he had always thought that he was a confirmed meat-eater. He was so excited and supportive of Zen Kitchen when he heard Carolyn was opening it. As a vegan, it was great to see this foodie embrace and appreciate the Zen Kitchen even if he had no intention of becoming vegan.

  7. I love Zen Kitchen’s sundaes.

    Zen is such a great restaurant. I’ve been very often. Dave, and Carolyn back in the day, are terrific. Always great to chat with them.

  8. This is my special occasion restaurant. We go every year for my birthday. It is amazing every time. The whole family looks forward to dinner at Zen Kitchen now. Knowing my family will have a great time and love the food at my favorite vegan restaurant makes me want to celebrate.
    Aside from the me days, the best experience I’ve had was last new year’s eve dinner. Just as delicious as ever and so much fun trying things we’d never even thought of.
    We’re not ready to say goodbye to Zen Kitchen. So we won’t.

  9. Zen Kitchen is my absolute favourite restaurant – it is where I celebrated my last few birthdays (most recently choosing the sundae for my “free birthday dessert” – I fantasized about that sundae for weeks after!!!). It is where my husband and I celebrate our wedding anniversary – once receiving free glasses of sparkling wine because we told our waitress it was our anniversary. I have been vegetarian for 20+ years and vegan for 2 – Zen Kitchen was my happy place🙂.

  10. I love Zen Kitchen. A memorable time that I went was with a group of friends for my birthday. I had the delicious polenta fries and the sopes dish, which was fantastic. Everyone enjoyed their meals, even the non-vegans! More recently I tried a grilled seitan sandwich with a tasty slaw – it tasted like a vegan bahn mi. It was served outside at Chinatown Remixed. yum!

  11. We’ve been to Zen Kitchen many times – we celebrate our anniversaries there and have gone to some of their TV dinner nights … always great food and great service. We were going to go on Friday night for a treat (was really craving their polenta sticks and Knocci), then heard the sad news. I can’t belive we lost 2 vegan restaurants this year (Green Earth and Zen Kitchen) – I hope both re-open soon and that the veg community supports them when they do.

  12. I, sadly, haven’t been to Zen Kitchen in a couple of months and was saddened by the news of it’s financial woes and imminent closing.
    I remember fondly a dish no longer on the menu (at least on the website) that was deep fried mushrooms. They melted in your mouth!
    I love the gnocchi and am looking forward to trying the tajine (I’m forever hopeful that their doors don’t close).

  13. I went there to celebrate New Year’s with a friend and was delighted to take home a package of their brie-style cashew cheese. On my first occasion there, I inhaled the poutine and still can’t get it out of my mind.

  14. I have been to Zen a few times and love it.
    The fried Polenta was to die for.
    I love going to a restaurant and not have to think or pick those 2 items out of 35 that are Vegetarian or Vegan. It’s tiring.
    At Zen you could dine with confidence that the food was not only delicious, but coming from whole food sources.

    In the words of Dr. William Tuttle, “If we fail to make the connection between our daily meals and our cultural predicament, we will inevitably fail as a species to survive on this earth. By refusing to make this essential connection, we condemn others and ourselves to enormous suffering, without ever comprehending why.”

  15. I have been to Zen Kitchen a few times over the years and it is/was by far my favourite restaurant in Ottawa. I remember the first time I went there with my husband, we both have dietary restrictions (he is gluten free)and as such it is not always easy for us to share a meal out. Zen Kitchen was the first restaurant we were able to could sit down and share a meal (like a normal couple) without any risks of the other getting sick and if he I hadn’t of told him he would have never known he was eating vegan!

  16. I have always wanted to go to Zen Kitchen and, for some reason, never got around to it! I have a good friend who used to be a regular and would sing its praises. Looking at the menu, I can see why. If I won those tickets, I would take her and I would order the Small Batch Pickles and Kale Chips for an appetizer (or maybe the Rustic Sunflower Seed Pate),followed by Wild Morels and Fiddleheads (or maybe the Roasted Beets!), and then have Celeriac Three-Ways (or maybe the Chickpea Tajine…or the Pecan-Crusted Seitan!s, and the Mexican Chocolate Cake (or the Desert Sampler….or the Caramel Bourbon Pecan Pie!!). And if I went for lunch….well, I’d have just as much difficulty choosing what to order. Oh jeepers, I can’t believe I’ve never been to Zen Kitchen! I was dismayed to hear that they’d had to close their doors, too. I hope they are able to reopen soon.

  17. I’ve been to Zen Kitchen on a few occasions, hosting a meetup, attending a charity fundraiser, getting a birthday treat… They had a really really good Amuse-bouche and I was never told what it was called, and don’t think it ever made it to the menu.😦

    I hope they will reopen and have another NCVA tasting event because I was very sad I missed the last one!

  18. I love Zens! I was introduced to this restaurant by my younger sister who has been vegan for 2 years now. She brought me there just shortly after I switched to a vegetarian diet. Both the food and the atmosphere were fabulous every time I went. My best memory from Zens is actually a time I went without my sister. I was having dinner with a friend and at the end of our meal Dave came up to ask us how everything was. He recognized me and asked how my sister was. I really liked that. It is nice to come to a restaurant and not feel anonymous (which is how I feel at most other places).

  19. Zen Kitchen is my favourite restaurant in Ottawa! As much as I enjoy eating in the other vegetarian restaurants in Ottawa, Zen Kitchen is a true dining experience; I feel like a diner here! I have brought many non-vegetarian/non-vegan friends to this gem and each person raves about the quality of food and service. I truly hope that we can work together to save this wonderful establishment.

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