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.
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