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Peeled, the first vegan-only culinary competition for U.S. broadcast is currently in production. The show will be ‘cooking up compassion’ instead of meat and is predicted to make its debut this summer. The production is spearheaded by vKind, the vegan digital platform, after it debuted the concept as a single episode on its YouTube channel and received calls for more. For the new series, selected professional chefs will compete against each other, with an all-vegan panel of judges in place.
Taking inspiration from existing reality-style cooking shows, such as Beat Bobby Flay and MasterChef, Peeled claims to remain unique due to the entirely plant-based menus. The production team claim that participants are chosen to create an exciting dynamic, with personal vegan journeys being discussed throughout.
Why a vegan cooking show?
“As a vegan and a foodie, I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with cooking shows,” Star Simmons, founder of vKind and creator of the show said in a statement. “Peeled allows vegans and vegetarians to enjoy cooking shows again and gives plant-based culinary arts a platform to be taken seriously.”
Contestants will take part in a series of challenges, to try and win the title of “Hottest Vegan Chef”. The crowned winner will be able to choose a charity to receive a cash donation. In each episode, the chef with the lowest scores will be eliminated, or “peeled off”, leaving the rest to carry on, under the watchful eye of the judging panel.
A slew of recognised vegan professionals are confirmed for the first series, with raw chef Babette Davis and TV personality Dr Shabnam Islam on board for presenting duties. Sophie’s Kitchen CEO Dr Miles Woodruff, celebrity chef Chris Tucker and former Hell’s Kitchen contestant Chef Josie Clemens are in place for judging. Clemens was so impressed with the format that she has joined the project as a co-creator.
“Competing in Hell’s Kitchen was a great experience, but not at all hospitable for a vegan chef like me who would otherwise never opt to cook anything that wasn’t entirely plant-based,” Clemens said in a statement. “I was thrilled to learn that vKind would be producing an all-vegan cooking competition. Signing on as co-creator was a no-brainer for me.”
Vegan Las Vegas
Peeled is being shot in Las Vegas, in the Vegas Vegan Culinary Scool and Eatery. The location lends a pleasing symbiosis, claiming to be the U.S’s first all-vegan cooking school and providing a suitable backdrop for the first all-vegan cooking competition show.
Alongside being a showcase of vegan food preparation, vKind has slated the promotion of vegan brands to new audiences as a driving motivation for the production. “We’re especially excited to provide vegan brands a new platform to showcase their products in front of an audience hungry for vegan alternatives,” Simmons said in a statement. “We roll out the green carpet for businesses of all sizes that are contributing to the VegEconomy.”
A rise in representation
Despite Peeled being the first all-vegan competitive cooking show, vegans are claiming more representation on mainstream alternatives. Founder of Souley Vegan, Chef Tamearra Dyson made history at the start of the year when she beat Bobby Flay on his own show. It represented a first for the programme, which is 28 seasons strong. Flay embraced the historic moment by tying his own apron onto Dyson, in a show of respect and admiration. Dyson won with a fully vegan burger of her own creation.
Earlier this month, a Romanian MasterChef contestant declined to continue in the competition. Asked to prepare a meat dish, the plant-based cook declined numerous times before finally walking away with his ethics intact. A professional athlete, Alex Lenghel has been vegan for more than three years and would not compromise his lifestyle or understanding of healthy nutrition.
Embracing the niche of vegan cooking shows, Miyoko’s Creamery announced in November last year a brand new vegan butter programme. Broadcast via the company’s YouTube channel, programmes will be focused on the use of animal-free butter and how to use it properly. Hosts will differ each episode, with respected plant-based chefs offering practical advice and tasty recipes.
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels.