The founders of a vegan business platform called vKind are set to launch their very own plant-based culinary competition, called Peeled. The cooking show came about after a standalone episode on vKind’s YouTube channel was met with raving reviews.
Drawing inspiration from other reality cooking competitions, such as MasterChef and Beat Bobby Flay, Peeled aims to provide vegans with more representation.
“As a vegan and a foodie, I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with cooking shows,” said Star Simmons, vKind founder and Peeled creator.
“Peeled allows vegans and vegetarians to enjoy cooking shows again, and gives plant-based culinary arts a platform to be taken seriously.”
Panel of all-vegan judges
Each episode will feature classically trained chefs competing against each other in front of a panel of all-vegan judges.
In a bid to be named the “Hottest Vegan Chef” around, the chefs will be put through different culinary challenges to showcase their cooking skills and passion for plant-based food.
Each episode, the contestant with the lowest scores will be “peeled off,” or eliminated, leaving the remaining chefs to progress in the competition. The final winner will be awarded a large cash prize to be donated to a charity of their choosing.
The Peeled squad
A team of well-renowned vegan professionals are confirmed for the series, including Chef Josie Clemens, who was a contestant in Season 20 of the hit cooking show Hell’s Kitchen. Chef Clemens will also be joined by Sophie’s Kitchen CEO Dr Miles Woodruff and celebrity chef Chris Tucker.
“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,” said Clemens, who is now a co-creator of Peeled.
“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.”
The growing ‘VegEconomy’
Peeled is also an opportunity to promote vegan businesses, Simmons explained. “We’re especially excited to provide vegan brands a new platform to showcase their products in front of an audience hungry for vegan alternatives,” they said.
“We roll out the green carpet for businesses of all sizes contributing to the VegEconomy.”
Peeled is being filmed in Las Vegas, at the Vegas Vegan Culinary School and Eatery – said to be the nation’s first all-vegan cooking school. The show will debut on September 24 with a Red-Carpet Premiere at the Directors Guild of America (DGA) in Los Angeles.
Peeled will launch 24 hours post-premiere on Unchained TV, which is available for free on Amazon Fire, Roku, and Apple TV.
Representation and criticism
In the lead-up to its debut, Peeled has received backlash for claiming to be the “first and only 100 percent vegan cooking competition show.” And, for its lack of representation of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities.
New York-based chef Charlise Rookwood, founder of Vegan Soulicious and host of The Black Vegan Kitchen, spoke to Plant Based News about the matter. “[Peeled’s] lack of diversity is one of the main reasons I refused to promote it,” Rookwood said. “Coupled with the fact that the show producers are claiming it’s a world first, seems rather disingenuous.”
“Considering Tabitha Brown’s new vegan cooking competition will be featured on a mainstream media channel in August, a full month before Peeled, these claims sadden me,” she added.
Indeed, on August 11, a new cooking competition show featuring only plant-based meals will air on Food Network. Called It’s CompliPlated, the new series will be hosted by Brown and will see chefs create dishes that cater to various dietary restrictions.
“This show is about to change the way we all see food,” Brown shared on Instagram. “It’s for everyone and I can’t wait to take you all on the journey with me.”
This article was originally published on March 16, 2022. It was updated on August 1, 2022 to rectify the false claim that Peeled will be the world’s first vegan cooking competition show, and to include comments made about the program’s lack of diversity.