If you haven’t seen the episode yet, don’t worry, I won’t spoil you on who won or who made what, but I will talk about the show in general and what the challenge was, so choose now if you want to keep reading.
The episode is called… “Meat Natalie.”
It starts out with a Quickfire Challenge that is not vegan, and we’ll just say that the contestants are totally blindsided by the Elimination Challenge. This episode might have been filmed before Natalie Portman went back to being completely vegan, as the challenge is vegetarian, not vegan. However, it appears that most of the dishes are vegan… even things that are “creamed” may not have actually had cream in them. It may very well have happened that they decided not to use the word “vegan” on the show, but still were actually cooking vegan. I did hear the word “butter” uttered (ooh, a rhyme!), but again, who knows if it was actually butter.
There is an episode of Top Chef Masters called “Dietary Restrictions” that aired over the summer that unfolded in similar fashion with the celebrity judge being Zooey Deschanel, so I guess we’ll have to rely on that episode for total vegan goodness for now!
The episode was somewhat disappointing, especially compared to the Top Chef Masters one. While it’s awesome to see all the vegan dishes, it’s mostly just piles of vegetables. They look really pretty and the judges seem to like many of them, but it’s really a whole bunch of side dishes. No tofu, no tempeh, barely any beans, no seitan and hardly any grains, even. Someone even uses *leeks* to stand in as their protein. I like leeks a lot, but I don’t think that really works.
The best part about this episode? That it airs during Veganmofo, of course!