In January 2022, the Foodstuff Community created background with its to start with vegan episode of Beat Bobby Flay—a cooking competitors exhibit that is been on air because 2013. 

Final 7 days, extra than a calendar year soon after the series’ inaugural vegan episode, Conquer Bobby Flay welcomed chefs Troy Gardner (chef-owner of Texas-dependent TLC Vegan Cafe) and Rachel Klein (chef-owner of Philadelphia’s Overlook Rachel’s Pantry) for the chance to facial area off in opposition to celeb chef and host Bobby Flay.

Vegan comic Nikki Glaser and movie star chef Michael Voltaggio were being tasked with judging the competitors’ initially round dishes to establish who would continue on on to round two for a chance to get on Flay himself.   

VegNews.TroyGardnerRachelKlein.PCTroyGardnerScottKinkadeLeft: Troy Gardner, appropriate: Rachel Klein by Scott Kinkade

In the initially spherical of the opposition, Gardner and Klein each designed a dish employing a mystery component chosen by Flay: beets. With just 20 minutes on the clock, Gardner opted to build a beet taco topped with tomatillo and tomato salsa. But in the long run, it was Klein’s beet green pasta with spicy beet pancetta that proved victorious.

Just after successful around the judges with her Italian dish, Klein went head to head versus Flay in spherical two, in which she picked the dish they would each individual be producing: vegan cheesesteaks—an homage to the city of Philadelphia, Klein’s homebase. 

Mushroom meat takes heart phase

For her ultimate dish, chef Klein relied on maitake mushrooms for her meaty stand-in. She completed off her sandwich with a rutabaga and cashew cheese sauce, broccoli rabe, spicy tomato jam, and crispy fried onions stuffed within Italian rolls. 

VegNews.BeatBobbyFlay.FoodNetwork1Klein’s vegan cheesesteak / Food Community

Flay, far too, turned to mushrooms, opting for thinly sliced portabello mushrooms in spot of meat. The superstar chef topped his Philly cheesesteak sandwich with caramelized onions, sautéed peppers, cheese sauce built applying cashews and dietary yeast, dairy-free of charge provolone, and potato chips all packed within of a hoagie roll. 

This final round was judged by Wealthy Landau (chef-proprietor of Vedge) chef and cookbook writer Nikki Dinki and Chris Cheung (chef-owner of East Wind Snack Store). 

“I’m a vegan, and I’m from Philly, so this is suitable up my alley,” Landau mentioned in the episode soon after tasting chef Kelin’s cheesesteak. Cheung, much too, gave Klein’s sandwich a glowing overview, stating, “I’m a meat-eater from New York, but I’m definitely digging this vegan sandwich.”

VegNews.BeatBobbyFlay.FoodNetworkFlay’s vegan cheesesteak / Foods Network

Flay received combined critiques about his cheese sauce and his decision to consist of potato chips in his sandwich. Eventually, Klein was crowned the winner, and she proudly declared, “I just defeat Bobby Flay.”

Rachel Klein of Miss out on Rachel’s Pantry tends to make record

With her victory, Klein has cemented her place in Food items Network background, turning out to be the next vegan chef to defeat Flay, signing up for Tamearra Dyson of Souley Vegan in her victory last January. 

“It feels surreal,” Klein tells VegNews about her earn. “I’ve been executing this for so prolonged. I begun [Miss Rachel’s Pantry] in 2007, and it is tremendous great to attain a new audience.”

To prepare for the opposition present, Klein was severe about her schooling. She watched countless episodes of Defeat Bobby Flay, a passtime she was fond of as a young grownup.

“I made a whole list of elements, almost everything I imagined the [round one secret ingredient] could be,” Klein says. From there, she began pondering about the distinct dishes she would make making use of every of the substances on her list. 

“If [the secret ingredient] is mushrooms, possibly I’ll make a taco, a sandwich, or a crab cake,” Klein recalls. “If it is a beet, maybe I’ll make it into pancetta—which I did—or into roasted salmon. 

She was elated when she learned about what the solution ingredient would basically be. “When they mentioned it was beets, I was so content for the reason that we use them so usually [at Miss Rachel’s Pantry],” she suggests, calling the root vegetable her have key ingredient of kinds. 

VegNews.BeatBobbyFlacCompetitorRachelKlein.FoodNetworkFoods Network

Klein was, having said that, hesitant about generating pasta. “Making pasta was not something I believed I need to do,” she describes. “I’ve observed it not be effective with other contestants.” 

Inspite of her reluctance, she moved ahead with her selection to make pasta for the judges. Incorporating beet greens—the leaves that expand atop beets—into her pasta was instrumental to her strategy. 

Also, incorporating the magic formula component in several techniques has normally offered rivals the more enhance they need to have to win—a factoid Klein seen even though seeing earlier episodes as component of her prep for the display. 

Chef Troy Gardner’s Food items Network return

Klein’s competitor was Gardner, a musician-turned-chef and proprietor of TLC Vegan Cafe in Richardson, TX. 

Gardner himself is no stranger to the Food items Community. He formerly competed on a vegetarian-themed episode of Guy’s Grocery Video games, wherever he came in second put. 

Even though filming Conquer Bobby Flay, Glasser approached Gardner, asking the chef if he was vegan himself. In the episode, Gardner says no, and commences conveying why he continue to eats non-vegan meals in advance of Glasser cuts him off with, “Alright, that’s a real cop out.” 

VegNews.BeetTacos.TroyGardnerCourtesy of Troy Gardner

When requested about his eating plan and his decision to work vegan meals companies irrespective of not eating totally plant-based himself, Gardner told VegNews, “The only cause I’m not 100-percent vegan is simply because I’m a vegan chef.”

“In buy for me to recreate [dishes] and consistently increase, I remain open to maintaining my palette the identical so that I can actually recreate goods as authentic as doable,” he claims. “I’ve acquired a reasonable target of not turning just about every individual who walks via the door into a vegan, but at least earning them take in far more vegan meals.” 

“By being in a position to recreate factors as near to what they really flavor like, I think that it is develop into far more productive,” Gardner suggests. “I’ve been capable to earn in excess of so quite a few people today who have been skeptical [about vegan food].”

The Texas-centered chef applauds Defeat Bobby Flay for continuing to deliver veganism into the mainstream. “Food Community using these meat-pushed reveals like Defeat Bobby Flay and building a vegan episode [will help people] notice that this is a thing that is going to continue on escalating,” Gardner claims.

When the series has been around for a decade and has aired 32 seasons, the reality that it carries on to embrace vegan episodes is a indicator of something more substantial. 

Fieri_Guy-e1635350109497Richie Bowie / VegNews

For Gardner, Conquer Bobby Flay’s second vegan episode is a sharp contrast from the vegetarian episode of Guy’s Grocery Video games he formerly competed in. The 2018 episode centered all around vegetarian cooking, despite host Man Fieri’s desire to movie a vegan episode, due to pushback from the community by itself. 

“They were terrified to do a [vegan] episode then, and now, we can freely get in touch with it vegan,” Gardner suggests. “We did not have to mask it [behind vegetarian]. That’s a good deal of progress.”

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