A vegan contestant will take part in the 2022 series of MasterChef UK, it has been confirmed.
Meg Long – owner of vegan food page @offtheeatentrack – was one of just 45 applicants selected for the 18th series of the BBC cooking show. She will compete against eight other contestants this week.
Taking to Instagram to announce the news, Long wrote: “It’s a privilege to be chosen to be on the show from [thousands] of applications and to have the opportunity to cook vegan food on a show I’ve loved for years.”
She added: “Everyone knows how much I love cooking and especially sharing my love of vegan food so I’m really excited to be part of this year’s show.”
MasterChef, which is presented by chefs John Torode and Gregg Wallace, sees amateur chefs compete to win a cash prize, trophy, and the MasterChef title.
Each week, nine new contestants take part in the “audition stage,” before battling it out for a place in the quarterfinals. The series is now in its fourth week, with Long’s episode airing on Tuesday, April 12.
MasterChef’s reliance on meat
The food show, notoriously meat-heavy, has attracted some criticism from the vegan and vegetarian community for its excessive use of animal products.
Richard McIlwain, chief executive of The Vegetarian Society, previously branded the show a “dinosaur” in a society in which many people are cutting down on meat. A report by the Guardian found that during one season of MasterChef, 37 percent of the meals served featured red meat. Meanwhile, 40 percent contained fish, and just two percent were fully plant-based.
In February, a vegan chef walked off the set of MasterChef Romania after being ordered to cook with animal products. Speaking about his decision, he later told Plant Based News: “I can’t cook meat when I believe that it is not normal to kill animals just for our pleasure.”
The franchise has, however, taken small steps to embrace vegan cooking. Earlier this year, a plant-based chef named Teresa Colaço was crowned winner of the Portuguese version of the program after cooking up a completely vegan menu for the show’s finale.
She later said her victory was “just the beginning.” And, that she plans to “take plant-based food as far as possible.”
MasterChef UK continues at 8pm on Tuesday, April 12, on BBC One.