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Natalie Portman ‘Top’-ples ‘Chef’s’ Meaty Ways

Written by PETA | October 29, 2009

I know we just talked about Natalie Portman yesterday, but let’s face it, she’s kinda magical. How magical? Enough to make a steakhouse go vegetarian—at least for one night.

It all went down on last night’s episode of Top Chef. (Warning: Spoilers ahead for those who haven’t seen it yet.) Like my fellow PETA Files blogger, Missy—who gave us a heads-up about this treat back in July—I’m a fan of the show despite its constant emphasis on serving up, well, dead animals (which the contestants bizarrely insist on calling “protein,” as if they’re nutritionists instead of chefs).

True to form, the opening “Quickfire Challenge” involved creating TV dinners inspired by iconic TV shows, and all of them ended up meat-centered. So when the chefs were told that the “Elimination Challenge” would take place at judge Tom Colicchio’s Vegas steakhouse, Craftsteak, they eagerly began planning which cut of meat to use and how to cook it.

But Top Chef loves its surprises, and this week’s came in the lovely form of guest judge Natalie Portman, who told the cheftestants, “I love food. I love eating. I’m pretty adventurous with flavors and different cuisines, and the one thing is, I’m a vegetarian.” Cue the dramatic music and shocked faces.


Top Chef


Some of the chefs, like Robin and Mike I., professed confidence in handling a veggie challenge, while others were apprehensive, including Kevin, who had earlier proclaimed, “Cooking meat is me in my element!” But more surprises were in store, as meat-loving Kevin won the challenge with his hearty ensemble of mushrooms, smoked kale, candied garlic, and turnip purée.

I hope this episode provides aspiring chefs—both on and off the show—with food for thought (sorry).

Written by Jeff Mackey

Commenting is closed.
  • ken h says:

    All of the arguments criticizing PETA for their endorsement of vegetarians are ignorant selfrighteous childish idiotic unintelligent… well you get the point. Greg actually yes being beaten IS better than being killed and being molested IS better than being raped. If you cannot understand why this is so then just stop posting because you are a MORON!! Though vegetarians may not live up to your standards like anyone should care about what you think eating a plant based diet rather than meat OBVIOUSLY makes a much bigger impact on animal wellbeing than mindlessly chewing on carcasses on a daily basis. I realize that the dairy industry is a huge source of torturous evil to innocent creatures SO IS THE MEAT INDUSTRY!!! So your basically going to exclude people who do not eat meat and probably eat a very limited amount of dairy to feed your own useless ego? Do you people even care about the animals or is this just some selfserving selfrighteous game to you? Hmmm…

  • Thomasina says:

    Look all i wanted to say meant was think about how much PETA depends on the support of citizens if they turned to every vegetarian and said “no thats not good enough” imagine how pissed off people would be and then PETA would be nowhere. I already said that the “ideal” is Vegan of course but alot of people cant just jump to that. I never said PETA was perfect but I think they’ve done pretty well and I dont think this is worth critizing them over.

  • Thomasina says:

    So your saying that i might as well just eat meat because being a vegetarian does nothing to make a difference? Well that is just the most ignorant thing i have ever heard. You STILL dont get it all PETA was doing was commending Natalie Portman for speaking up about vegetarianism and i’m pretty sure that not eating meat is making more of a difference then someone who eats all animal products. So calm down and accept the fact that no matter what you say and how “self righteous” you are acting PETA has done more and will continue to do more to end the suffering of animals then you EVER will. Oh and P.S you may want to check your Caps Lock……you sound a little out of control when you yell everything

  • simara says:

    Would you say that some one “only” being molested is better than being raped?Would it have been a good “improvement” if the “some” victims of the Holocaust were only beaten whilst others were murdered?fuck no. when another being violates tortures or murders another it is alllllll bad.Animal cruelty for ANY animal is horrible and must end.It doesn’t help if the supposed largest organization of animal rights is pushing for conditions “a little better” and pushing for the end of just some of the torture and murder.PETA is not some uneducated person with mass mentality they themselves know what happens to the animals that support a “vegetarian” diet.Pushing vegetarianism is just as bad as the people who murder the animals for that yogurt cheese milk or leather. I don’t care if you agree with me as this is not a matter of opinion or belief like your favorite band or religious choice this about facts. You are not hurting me or anyone else you lash out at on here or anywhere you throw a hissy fitif you are hurting anyone it is you and your contribution to the animal lib movement.and in the end the ones who are hurt the most are the animals. I think you need to rethink your comment it just makes you look threatened by the truth that the other commentators posted and instead of using this as an opportunity to really grow and be a positive advancement in your own journey as as what you wish you were as an animal activist you are making excuses for those who are supporting animal cruelty.PETA is not GOD they are an organization made up of humans and humans are flawed and like us all PETA has room for improvement.Don’t put PETA on a pedestal where they can do no wrong and get away with anything just because they have done a lot of good.and they have done and do a lot of goodI always say so when they do.I am not here to JUST point out areas I feel PETA are not doing good but I am not going to turn a blind eye to them either.I am a Vegan and have been for years but I am not perfect and have room for growth everyone does.

  • GREG says:


  • Thomasina says:

    Well the reason they have to encourage vegetariansim too is because evey little bit helps in saving the lives of animals if people can start by going vegetarian then that is already a big achievment. PETA is very smart about apreciating all its supporters. Even though beings Vegans is the ultimate goal they are still very happy to hear that people are starting by taking meat out of their diet. If you cannot understand this then maybe your not fully informed or ready to take on the responsability of being an animal activist.

  • carla says:

    Shut up Leslie…

  • Pam Ernest says:

    I was VERY pleasantly surprised by this episode of Top Chef….

  • Leslie says:

    HI what I don’t get is why you guys think it’s cool to tell people to be vegetarian?some of us at school were talking about this today and it doesn’t make sense.You have a video on your site about all these poor cows and chickens and yet you keep telling us to be vegetarian.Frankly PETA I think YOU need to do some revamping to your site.I normally agree with you but not on this.Why don’t you just say Vegan?I used to tell people all the time to go to your site but not anymore because it confuses them.On one part you say Vegan and on another part you say Vegetarian.I thought you fought for animals????why just animals used for meat?don’t you care about animals killed for Dairy? Peta did not used to be this bizarre in a bad way maybe someone new is running PETA or maybe you guys are just getting careless with who you hire to blog but I don’t trust you anymore .

  • GREG says:


  • lowercase v says:

    natalie is the perfect woman. couldn’t watch the vid.

  • simara delilah rose says:

    You have Natalie Portman listed as Vegan below and than call her Vegetarian here!?with all due respect this is a perfect example of why it is so dangerous for PETA to give the mixed message of Vegan aka Vegetarian.They are NOT one in the same.Being a vegetarian one still supports just as many thousands of animals being held prisoner being neglected tortured and murdered.PETA you yourself have posted many videos documenting the horrific animal mistreatment and outright cruelty most recently at a dairy farm where a cow had their bodies infested with infection and actual insides hanging out.You have also posted a lot of info on how Dairy is incredibly unhealthy and frankly vile.Yet you continue to say vegetarian all over your site thus confusing a hell of a lot of people.Most people are a real challenge to get them to change for the better once they go vegetarian “because Peta promotes it ” they often are shocked that they have to go even further and than give up entirely out of sheer frustration.Every person I have shared the realities of animal cruelty with I have not sugar coated or tip toed around the subject I dive straight into Veganisim and almost all of the people I speak to go Vegan not sort of Veggie not Vegetarian but Vegan.If you are all about animal cruelty being stopped than I encourage you to be straight up and lay it on the line.Being the largest animal rights group please take responsibility for what you put out there and be more clear.Your messages are often mixed and confusing and while I don’t blame the everyday person who is unknowingly ignorant YOU at PETA DO know better.fuck vegetarianism it’s just as cruel unnecessary unhealthy immoral and unethical as eating full on flesh dairy is rape it is also liquid meat.

  • Lulu says:

    Finally! I’m a Top Chef fanI wrote to producers at the end of the season to ask them to have a damn vegetarian challenge already. I’m sure i wasn’t the only one who did. The veg episode was done with a winkafter all they still showed live lobsters crawling aroundand next week they’ll probably have a veal challenge just to appease meataddicted “foodie” fans. Still it was great to see and I love Natalie.