Today I learned about this new TV show from the Facebook group, 10 Weeks to Vegan. Currently being filmed in at a vegan culinary school in Las Vegas Nevada USA, “Peeled” will be a cooking competition TV show on Vkind TV, where all of the food being prepared is vegan.
Super cool idea!
Alas, it’s not going to air on a major network. Per the article above, it will be on a vegan TV network called Vkind. As a result, I’m not sure how people will access this TV show. If it is successful, hopefully one of the major TV channels or streaming services will pick it up.
Why I love this idea for an all vegan cooking competition TV show!
To be clear, I think it’s fantastic that the food is going to be all vegan. As someone who strives for all vegan food every day, I would greatly value a TV show which provides ideas for delicious and nutritious options, with everything vegan already. No more watching a TV show and having to mentally substitute for other ingredients.
On top of that, in a “traditional” TV show cooking competition, one that showcases animal products in most dishes, the chefs may be required to show competence in specific food preparation techniques, or there may be other challenges which require animal products.
Examples: Freya Cox in the British Bake Off TV Show
Indira Cristin on USA Food Network’s Holiday Wars
This means that chefs may have to prepare meat or other animal products, even if their own philosophical, cultural or religious beliefs don’t allow for that. With an all vegan cooking show, vegans and vegetarians can participate, without needing to work with ingredients that they are not comfortable using. Right on.
One objection, though! An all vegan judging panel? Yikes.
Reading through the article, one thing I noticed is, they said that all of the judges will be vegan. Honestly, that’s a shame. I believe a panel which includes judges with a variety of eating styles would be far more effective and beneficial. Read all about it in the paragraphs below. (Yes, I had so much objections to this point, I had to BREAK IT DOWN.)
1. More entertaining with a more diverse panel
In my opinion, the show would be much more entertaining if the judges had a variety of eating styles and habits: vegan, vegetarian, reducetarian, and meat eaters (being sure to include naysayers), etc. Natural conversations and banter among the judges can make for some drama and humor, or even some quarrels and spats. That usually makes for a good TV.
Plus, it will be more suspenseful to see how the skeptics and hard-core meat eaters, or vegetarians, who might be fans of cheese, butter, yogurt, and eggs, will respond to the vegan culinary creations.
2. Better outreach for animals.
Not only would a more diverse panel of judges be more entertaining, it would be better outreach for animals.
Why is that? The reason is simple. If the goal is to help animals through promoting meatless and/or vegan food options, then the people that we need to impress are the people who are currently consuming animal products today.
It doesn’t help animals to produce an all vegan show for an all vegan audience, not if it doesn’t appeal to meat eaters and vegetarians (a likely outcome, as meat eaters and vegetarians won’t be represented in the show). The TV show may not even be appealing to vegans if it’s not entertaining, due to the lack of push and pull that could have existed, among a diverse judging panel with a variety of eating styles.
3. More authentic; with only vegan judges on the panel, the opinions may ring false.
By only having vegan judges on the panel, it’s going to make the TV show seem false, for two reasons.
First, food that tastes good to a vegan, may not taste good to a person who regularly consumes dairy products or eggs or meat. Keep in mind, people’s taste buds change after they have been eating or not eating certain types of food for a while.
Secondly, the judging panel needs to include at least some people who do not have a vested interest in making the food seem like it tastes better than it actually does.
I’m sure that all of the vegan judges will do their best to be impartial. However, the viewing audience may suspect that a vegan judge will put an overly positive spin on any vegan foods that may come their way. To keep everything ringing true, the judging panel needs people who are skeptical about vegan food and difficult to impress.
4. More useful to regular people who are cooking for a diverse set of eaters.
Lots of people who are vegan or vegetarian are cooking for family members or roommates, coworkers, classmates at school, some of whom would may not be comfortable consuming alternatives for meat, dairy products or eggs, or who may have a negative bias around meatless, vegetarian or vegan food.
If it’s all vegans on the judging panel, people will wonder. “Sure, the judges like it, they are all vegan, but what about the students at my school or my family members? Are they going to like this food?”
If they have judges on the show who currently enjoy dairy-based products and eggs from chickens and meat from animals and fish, that will be the real test. Otherwise, no one will know if the products and recipes featured on the TV show are actually up to snuff.
And … after all of that, I’m not done yet! I do have ONE MORE objection. This one made me do a double take: excuse me, but the cash prize goes to charity, and not to the hard-working contestants?
Donating to charity is great, but why not also give a substantial cash prize directly to the “Peeled” TV show winners and a smaller cash prize to all contestants as well? Many of the contestants will be aspiring chefs struggling to launch their vegan businesses. Setting up and operating restaurants, food trucks, and food delivery services, doing food photography, writing cookbooks or blogs, and doing everything else needed to operate a successful business takes money.
Bear in mind, many entrepreneurs who are just starting out wouldn’t find it wise to take time away from managing their business, in order to participate in this cooking show, unless there was the possibility of a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow … i.e., a cash prize that could help them grow their business.
Many vegans, vegetarians and other people interested in plant-based eating are used to spending dozens of hours each month volunteering and offering their talents for free. As I see it, it wouldn’t be right to take advantage of that generosity by expecting the contestants to work their butts off on this TV show, with no possibility of a cash prize, not even for the winner.
Yes, the “Peeled” vegan competition cooking show on Vkind TV may provide some added visibility for the contestants, but it’s not on a major network or streaming service. How many people from the contestants’ local areas will see the show? As things are, I don’t see that the added visibility would be enough of a reward in itself.
So let’s look at getting some cash prizes for these hard-working contestants!
Back to the positive: Putting a spotlight on established and aspiring vegan chefs
Don’t get me wrong, I totally get it that vegan chefs, both established and aspiring, deserve more recognition. I am all for putting the spotlight on the talented vegan chefs who exist among us. YES! I love the idea for a cooking competition show with all vegan food, and I hope there will be more than just one, in the future. I simply hope the “Peeled” TV show will scrap the “100% vegan judges” plan and instead allow for a more diverse panel.
Basically, one would hope that the “Peeled” TV show could bring in top chefs for the judges, no matter what their background, so that the chefs may simply evaluate the vegan food on its own merits. Heck, for added interest, they could even bring in celebrities and regular people who aren’t professional chefs, to give their honest opinions on the vegan food offerings. And, I hope they will pay a cash prize directly to the contestants as well.
Best of luck to VKind TV and “Peeled,” the Vegan Cooking Competition TV Show!
With a more diverse judging panel, and cash rewards going directly to the contestants, I can easily see the “Peeled” vegan competition cooking show on Vkind TV being a smash hit. As Chloe Coscarelli showed when her vegan cupcakes won the top prize in 2010, competing against “traditional” cupcake bakers, it is quite possible for vegan creations to steal the show.
I wish the producers all the best and hope the new cooking show is a resounding success. Will keep my eyes “peeled” for more updates. Ha ha! Can’t wait to see the first episode when it comes out.
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