What does it take to be a master chef? For years, the high-end culinary scene has shunned vegan cuisine in favor of more traditional cuisines that focus on meat and dairy, but plant-based chefs around the world have turned that doubt into a challenge. Master Chef Portugal Contestant Teresa Colaco proved that a plant-based chef can truly be considered a great chef when she landed first place in the competition, showcasing the culinary potential of vegan and plant-based cuisine.
“Winner Master Chef Portugal was the achievement of a goal. It was an endurance race and reaching the finish line first was amazing,” Colaco said in a statement. “Master Chef Portugal represented a lot of learning, especially.
Seeing her disadvantage during the competition, Colaco never felt discouraged by her vegetal point of view. Instead, the chef presented the judges with an exciting selection of meatless dishes not usually seen on the TV competition. His victory meant that vegan cuisine could be taken seriously on the world stage.
“I know I’m leaving for this trip at a great disadvantage compared to my colleagues, who are all excellent cooks and have mastered animal protein and Portuguese cuisine,” Colaco wrote on his Instagram at the start of the competition. “I’m not good at either, my forte is vegetables, legumes, seaweed and a few weird ingredients in between that not many people know about here.”
Despite his victory Chef headline, Colaco revealed that she doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. In the statement, she said ‘this is just the beginning’ and that she hopes to ‘take plant-based food as far as possible’, inspiring chefs around the world to consider plant-based techniques. in the high-end kitchen.
Vegan chef withdraws after judges ask him to cook meat
Chef Colaco’s victory came shortly after chef Alex Lenghel left Chef Romania in protest. The plant-based chef participated in two successful rounds of the cooking competition, but when the judges asked him to cook meat in the elimination round of the competition, he refused. The chef and professional athlete joined the show as the country’s first vegan contestant.
During the episode, the judges demanded that he cook a beef dish and when they stood still, he explained that he would not compromise his ethics and lost the contest. Although Chef received criticism for its excessive meat content, Lenghel hoped to win against the odds to prove that vegan cuisine would not compromise its performance.
“The vegan lifestyle that I follow now has made cooking a part of my life, and there was no chance of compromising and going back to cooking meat,” Lenghel said. “Chefit was a big challenge for me, to compete with passionate people [sic] on the kitchen.
American cooking shows go vegan
Over the past year, plant-based chefs have entered more cooking competitions than ever before. Last summer, Hell’s Kitchen invited its first two plant-based chefs, Josie Clemes and Emily Hersh, to take part in the grueling cooking show. The two plant-based chefs showcased the talents and promise of plant-based cooking against harsh criticism from chef Gordon Ramsey, who has always expressed his distaste for vegan foods.
Most recently, celebrity chef Bobby Flay invited two plant-based chefs to compete against him in the first vegan episode of Beat Bobby Flay, which featured Temearra Dyson and Adyre Mason in the historic showdown. After two rounds, the judges said Dyson’s vegan kitchen beat Flay in her own kitchen. Dyson, the founder of Souley Vegan, has proven plant-based cooking can top one of the world’s most recognizable chefs at his own game.