Vegan and professional athlete Alex Lenghel joined the latest season of MasterChef, as the show’s first-ever vegan contestant.
In the latest episode, the contests were teamed up in pairs to create a dish for the judges for the first challenge. Lenghel, along with fellow contestant Andrei Klabacs, worked together on a dish using a recipe that Klabacs put forward.
However, once the food was presented to the judges for the final taste test, the judges decided to send Lenghel and Klabacs to the elimination round, along with several other contestants for a final cook-off.
At the start of the elimination round, the contestants were presented with beef, and the judges explained that they needed to recreate a meat dish following the cooking instructions provided by guest chef David Contant.
Refusal to cook meat
The challenge began with tying a piece of string around the meat and it’s visibly clear that Lenghel wasn’t going to follow.
One of the judges goes on to say “come on Alex,” as a way of urging him to begin the challenge. However, Lenghel explains that he doesn’t wish to cook meat and that he has no intentions of compromising on his ethical principles.
In response, the chef goes on to say that he doesn’t have to eat the meat, he only needs to cook it for the judges. Lenghel explains that he doesn’t want to cook the meat, reminding the judges that he didn’t join the competition to cook meat as a vegan contestant.
After being questioned by the judges at his cooking counter, one judge probes, “I’d like to ask you again Alex, are you going to cook the meat, or are you going to go home?”, without offering Alex any other meat-free alternatives for the challenge.
Having been vegan for over three years, Langhel decided to remove his chef apron and leave the show.
Wrong to kill animals for pleasure
Speaking to Plant Based News, Lenghel explained that cooking meat went against his ethical beliefs.
“I can’t cook meat when I believe that it is not normal to kill animals just for our pleasure,” he explained.
He hopes that food shows, such as MasterChef, will see the need to adapt to the increasing plant-based demand. The show has been criticized in the past for its high meat content.
“They need to be more flexible with ingredients offered in the show, as there are lots of vegan substitutes for everything,” Lenghel noted.
To read more on this story, go here for our exclusive interview with Alex Lenghel.