Following an ultimatum that forced Romania’s first-ever vegan contestant to leave the competition, the Portuguese version of MasterChef has named its newest winner: plant-based chef Teresa Colaço.
Colaço, who was born in the Algarve but now lives in Lisbon, described the triumph as “an honor” on Instagram.
The chef, who has a speech therapy degree, entered the tournament with the goal of demonstrating the possibilities of vegan cuisine.
Colaço said in November that she is “at a great disadvantage” compared to her fellow competitors, who “all of whom are excellent cooks and master animal protein and Portuguese cuisine.”
“I don’t master one or the other, my forte is vegetables, legumes, algae, and some strange ingredients in between, which few people here know about.”
“I need to focus a lot, study a lot, and be attentive to every detail,” Colaço stated.
Her perseverance paid off, as the mother of two took first place on February 26.
But, as Colaço puts it, “this is just the beginning.” The 32-year-old stated in a statement that she wants to “take plant-based food as far as possible.”
Vegan Contestant Walks Away From MasterChef
In the meantime, Romania’s MasterChef program was taking a different path.
During an elimination round, the judges required the participants to prepare a meat-based meal. Vegan and professional athlete Alex Lenghel protested, claiming that doing so would violate his ethical convictions.
“I’d like to ask you again Alex, are you going to cook the meat, or are you going to go home?” As a result, Lenghel took off his apron and exited the set.
The three-year vegan (and six-year vegetarian) revealed to Plant Based News that veganism is about more than simply eating. “I told them, I couldn’t do that … It’s about what message you want to send,” Lenghel stated.
Lenghel, like Colaço, has no intention of stopping now. Following MasterChef, both chefs want to devote their time to promoting and supporting plant-based cooking and nutrition.
Source: “Plant-Based Chef Crowned Winner Of MasterChef Portugal” by Plant Based News
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