Following an ultimatum that forced masterchef Romania's first vegan participant to leave the show, the Portuguese version of the show has named its latest winner: vegan chef Teresa Colaço.
Colaço, who was born in the Algarve but now lives in Lisbon, served up several meat-free dishes during her time on the show, and the finale was no exception. The chef, who has a degree in speech therapy, elected to prepare a vegan meal for the competition's finals, demonstrating that animal-free food can prevail in one of the world's most popular cooking contests.
Colaço described the triumph as “an honor” on her Instagram.
‘This is only the beginning.'
Colaço stated in November that she is “at a big disadvantage” in comparison to her fellow competitors, “all of them are superb cooks who master animal protein and Portuguese cuisine.”
“I don't specialize in one or the other; my specialty is veggies, beans, algae, and other unusual elements in between that few people here are aware of.”
“I need to concentrate a lot, study a lot, and pay attention to every detail,” she explained.
Her perseverance paid off, as the mother of two took first place on February 26.
However, “this is just the beginning,” according to Colaço. The 32-year-old stated in a statement that she wants to “take vegan meals as far as possible.”
A vegan competitor has left MasterChef.
Meanwhile, in Romania, the country's MasterChef program was adopting a new direction. During an elimination round, the judges told the participants to prepare a meat-based meal. Alex Lenghel, a vegan and elite athlete, protested, claiming that doing so would violate his ethical values.
“I'd like to ask you again. Alex, are you going to prepare the meat or go home?” one judge said. As a result, Lenghel removed his apron and exited the set.
The vegan for three years (and vegetarian for six) declared in an interview that veganism is about more than simply eating. “I told them I couldn't do it… “It's all about the message you want to deliver,” Lenghel explained.
Lenghel, like Colaço, has no intention of stopping now. Both chefs intend to devote their time after MasterChef to promoting and supporting plant-based cooking and nutrition.