Thursday, August 6, 2009

Top Chef Masters featuring *gasp* vegans

I'm a big fan of just about every show on Bravo. Despite the fact that every episode of Top Chef thus far has been meat-centric, I'm still a fan of the show. Just because I can barely boil water and don't eat 90% of what's served on the show, I can still appreciate the skills required to put together a gourmet or innovative meal.

I'm not sure how I feel about last night's episode of Top Chef Masters. The quick fire challenge was all about creating the best burger possible. This portion of the show was completely uninteresting to me. (except for the fact that Morgan Spurlock of Supersize Me fame was a guest judge) And what came next after serving ginormous burgers? A vegan, gluten free challenge.

The chefs were asked to create a meal for Zooey Deschanel think it was the (sorry, Zooey, but I had no idea of who you were) and 19 of her closest friends. I was really disappointed to see how the chefs reacted when they found out they had to make vegan food. (The way they said "vegan" you'ddirtiest word in the English language) There was so much moaning and bellyaching from the majority of the chefs. A few of them even resorted to buying pre-made items at Whole Foods just because they had no clue about vegan cooking. My hero of the night was Hubert Keller. He talked about how he's familiar with vegan and vegetarian food because he cooks these kinds of foods in his restaurant.

I know that veganism and vegetarianism isn't all that mainstream yet in middle America, but I had really expected top notch chefs to be a little more familiar with vegan and gluten free cooking. I also felt like there was a not-so-subtle message about vegan food being "weird," another aspect of the episode that disappointed me. As any vegan or vegetarian can tell you, there are some great chefs out there who "get" this kind of cooking. Hopefully this episode makes more people aware of vegan dining options (they can be delicious!), despite some of the snarky comments made on the show.

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