Ms Betterhome

I have a grudge against Masterchef…
July 3, 2010, 8:25 pm
Filed under: food, vegan eating | Tags:

and I must get it off my chest or explode.

Even though I don’t eat most dishes they cook, I quite like this program. It doesn’t matter that the food isn’t veggo or vegan, I enjoy watching the contestants cook challenging dishes, & I like seeing the tricky techniques demonstrated in the masterclasses. A few weeks ago, however Masterchef Australia ran a vegetarian challenge. All good, how interesting. However the ‘twist’ was… die-hard meat eaters were the judges. Oh the LOLs, getting truckies etc to eat goat cheese.

It peeved me no end, because as a veggo, I’d like to think that a restaurant veggo meal has been cooked to impress me, not a meat-eater. Often there are only one or two veg items on the menu – why would they have to suit the people who could choose any or all of those other dishes?

AND while I’m on my soap box – all the other challenges are judged by the panel on the basis that they would be fit to serve in a top restaurant. How many times have we heard George, Matt & Gary extol the importance of the perfect crunch of the creme brulee topping, the necessity to make one’s own mayonnaise, not serve bottled etc etc. Yet the judging criteria for the veg challenge seemed to be: if a bloke who generally hates vegetarian food doesn’t gag on this dish, you win.

Having eaten at the awesome Millenium Restaurant in San Francisco, I  know how amazing five-star vegan cuisine can be. I wish more chefs (and home cooks) knew that all the techniques for enhancing flavour in meat-based dishes (like caramelisation, de-glazing, reductions, confits and so on) can be applied to vegan & vegetarian dishes, too.

Masterchef, you could have taught your audiences something really new & unique – instead you went for a cheap shot.


2 Comments so far
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AAAAGH! I know EXACTLY what you mean! I was so excited when Top Chef Masters, Season 1, had the competitors making a vegan, gluten-free meal for the actress Zooey Deschanel. These were super-pro chefs and I was eager to see what they would come up with.

Instead they spent the entire episode moaning and complaining that “cooking without meat is like cooking with one hand tied behind my back.” I was so embarrassed for them! One of the loudest complainers specialized in Asian cuisine, which traditionally uses very little or no meat. What was her problem? Another one of the chefs bought pre-made soy ice cream and mashed it up with strawberries for his dessert offering. Only Rick Bayless got his butt in gear and remembered that Latin American cuisine has plenty of meatless wonders. Out of six or eight chefs he was the only one to make something that actually looked filling and edible. Such a disappointment, and it really made me cringe to see these “master chefs” so unable to improvise or meet a challenge that I somehow manage to meet every single day.

Comment by scrumptious

Not to mention, to add insult to injury, Zooey Deschanel has now quit being vegan and says publicly that it’s because she felt that since she can’t have gluten for health reasons, there simply wasn’t enough for her to eat. Again, this is something I somehow manage to address successfully every single day. Grrr…

Comment by scrumptious

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