Alex Lenghel made headlines last week after he walked off the set of MasterChef Romania. The vegan chef and athlete made the decision after judges ordered him to cook meat during the elimination round of the competition.
Plant Based News (PBN) co-founder Robbie Lockie recently caught up with Lenghel to learn more about his vegan journey. And, what exactly went down in the MasterChef kitchen.
“First of all, I want to thank you for sharing my story, and I wanted to also thank everyone because I saw a very, very, very big response. I’ve had lots of support from many people all over the world,” Lenghel said.
The chef explained that he grew up in a village where raising animals was very common. “Twenty-five to thirty years ago, we didn’t have markets everywhere where you can go and buy stuff,” he noted.
As he grew older, Lenghel started to travel around the world, which introduced him to the concept of veganism.
From learning about diseases that arise from animals to questioning the logic behind eating animals in the first place, Lenghel decided to give up meat in 2016.
Thriving as a meat-free athlete
Lenghel competed in multiple bodybuilding competitions as a passionate, meat-free athlete. In 2018, he decided to ditch dairy and go vegan. He has upheld the lifestyle ever since.
‘Going vegan is a process’
For Lenghel, going vegan was a “process.” But you have to “keep doing it and trust the process,” he said.
Lockie goes on to ask Lenghel, “How did you end up getting involved in cooking and being a chef, to then going on MasterChef?”
Lenghel responded: “Cooking became part of my life with the vegan lifestyle.” He went on to explain that getting the right amount of macronutrients in, as an athlete, was really important for him. This propelled him to spend more time cooking in the kitchen.
MasterChef meat incident
Speaking about his experience on MasterChef, Lenghel said: “I joined because I wanted to win without cooking meat.”
When Lenghel was ordered to cook meat, he responded to the judges, “I’m sorry, even if I have to give up this competition, I cannot cook meat, I’m not going to cook it.”
The judges told him that he only needed to cook the meat and that he didn’t have to eat it.
Speaking to Lockie, Lenghel explained, “I told them, I couldn’t do that… veganism isn’t just about eating. It’s about what message you want to send.”
In a previous chat with PBN, Langhel stated that cooking meat goes against his ethical beliefs. And, that he hopes food shows will see the increasing need to adapt to the plant-based community.
After his famous exit from the show, Lenghel now plans on starting a vegan cooking show, where he intends on inviting guests who are equally as passionate about cooking food.
He has also just launched his own range of supplements that go by his nickname: Massive Vegan.
Lenghel noted: “This is what I want to do now, just spread the word, spread help, spread love, and just show people that it’s possible.”