Long-running Food Network show Chopped recently aired an episode titled “No Meat, No Problem,” which challenged contestants to create meals using only vegetarian ingredients. On the show, contestants must impress judges with meals they created within a limited time period using ingredients from a mystery box revealed at the beginning of each of the three segments (appetizer, entrée, and dessert). Along with celebrity chef judges Alex Guernecelli and Chris Santos, the meatless episode featured guest judge Kimbal Musk—a restaurateur and brother of Tesla CEO Elon Musk. While the episode did feature dairy products, the show’s four “chef-testants” worked with a variety of plant-based ingredients, including eggplant, basil, rhubarb, dates, Buffalo cauliflower wings, and plant-based burger patties. “It’s a plant protein that has a texture the same as beef and has soy-based blood,” Musk described the burger. “It actually bleeds. If you cook it to medium rare it will bleed just like any other burger. It’s incredible.” While the contestants were busy cooking, the judges discussed Meatless Monday. “That’s the direction I think a lot of people are going in,” Santos said. “I notice when I do a meatless day, it completely seems to reset my digestive system.” Chef Joya Carlton (who developed the recipe for plant-based lox at vegan deli Orchard Grocer in New York City) was eliminated in the first round and Jeffery Salazar (executive chef at Parsnip restaurant in Cambridge, MA) went on to win the competition. On the other side of the pond, BBC Wales aired Dirty Vegan (an entirely vegan cooking show featuring former Dirty Sanchez star Matthew Pritchard) in January and teased future vegan shows after its successful run.
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