When you’re trying to please a crowd with various dietary restrictions, things can get a little…complicated, or should I say CompliPlated?
Food Network’s newest competition show, It’s CompliPlated, tests chefs using their culinary knowledge to create a dish that everyone at the table can enjoy, regardless of dietary restrictions. The show is hosted by Tabitha Brown, a writer and foodie who has her own restrictions on what she can eat.
“I’m vegan, I’m the only one in the house who’s vegan,” Brown said. “When I first became a vegan, I was the only one for a few years, and I cooked so many different meals that I got used to trying to cater to everyone’s tastes, allergies, or any other preferences.”
In each episode, four chefs compete in three rounds of cooking challenges to create dishes that will please all the judges. Brown, who also has a soy allergy in addition to following a vegan diet, is joined each episode by Maniet Chauhan as a judge, along with two rotating judges who have their own dietary preferences/restrictions that the judges must consider when cooking, whether it’s food allergy or dietary lifestyle.
The winner of each episode will win $10,000.
“The goal is to bring the family back to the table, where everyone can sit down together and enjoy the same meal. You know how during the holidays people come and hope everyone likes it, that’s the goal. It doesn’t have to be “difficult,” but sometimes it is “difficult,” Brown said. “You have me as the host and judge, then we have Manit Chauhan who is my expert judge and then we always have two tricky eaters who come in and they have different tastes. Some of them are gluten free and hate onions. I don’t eat soy and I’m a vegan, then you have someone who loves meat a lot and says, “I eat meat, I hate vegetables.” So they have these four people and they have to make something that they all like.”
Brown says that despite the restrictions, the creativity the chefs display throughout the show is unlike anything she’s seen before. From the get-go, everything cooked has to be plant-based, and chefs have to think on their feet to make something enjoyable.
“It makes it more competitive, none of these chefs are vegan chefs, they’re just chefs. So I’m also one of the judges, I have to try it too. It has to be something I can eat, and I’m allergic to soy, so it has to be not only plant-based, but also have soy in it,” Brown said. “It’s amazing to see where these chefs’ minds go, how well they know food, how well they know how to navigate a kitchen, how well they know what food can do.”
In addition to taste, Brown says, chefs evaluate how the food looks on the plate, as well as meeting everyone’s nutritional needs.
“It all comes down to how it looks, how good it looks, how great it is on the plate, how it tastes, and whether they delivered something that everyone liked,” Brown said. “I’m not a chef, I didn’t go to school to study culinary arts or anything, but I’m a foodie. I am a real person, I am a mother, I am a woman who loves food and we eat with our eyes. So the first thing you want to do with your food is look at it. If it looks attractive, you say, “What is this?” If it smells good, you think, “Oh, I want to try that.” This is how we eat. We eat first with our eyes, we eat with our senses, which makes us want to try. That’s why it’s important.”
Brown says “It’s CompliPlated” is unlike any show the Food Network has aired before, and viewers with their own dietary needs (or family members with dietary needs) will be able to incorporate what they see on the show into their everyday lives .
“There are so many things going on [on ‘It’s CompliPlated’] that the Food Network has never seen before,” Brown said. “It feels like a show that’s never been seen before, it’s going to be something new and fresh, but it’s also something for everyone because there are so many people, not just vegans like me, but people with nut allergies or sensitivities them, they’re dairy-free, or whatever, they’ll be able to see it and see themselves or a family member and think, “Oh, that’s a good idea, we should try that too.”
Brown says the show has a range of emotions that viewers will see while watching it. Each episode will also feature tips from Brown on how to easily prepare plant-based meals at home (she recommends dishes like tacos, quesadillas, and pasta as easy options for first-time plant-based eaters!).
“I’m giving you these little tips that are quick and easy to do plant-based. I hope people see everything they need to and open their minds to say, ‘Oh, I can do something new,'” Brown said.
Ultimately, Brown says those who tune in will have a good time and feel right at home watching “It’s CompliPlated.”
“I think it makes it feel like you’re at home with me, you’re an invited guest — it’s almost like you’re going to a party. And I think it’s just a lot of emotion that we don’t usually see on food shows. It’s good vibes, there’s ups and downs, it’s laughter, it’s tears, it feels like you’ve been invited into someone’s home and you can sit on the couch and watch it happen,” Brown said.
“It’s CompliPlated” premiered on the Food Network and Discovery+ at 22:00 Kyiv time on Thursday, August 11.