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, puts chefs to the test by using their cooking knowledge to create a dish that everyone at the table, regardless of dietary restrictions, can enjoy. The show is hosted by Tabitha Brown, an author 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 went vegan, I was the only one for a few years and I cook so many different meals that I’m used to trying to please everyone’s palates, allergies or whatever the preferences are.”
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 her vegan diet, is joined each episode by Maneet Chauhan as a judge, plus two rotating judges who have their own dietary preferences/restrictions that the judges must consider when cooking, regardless whether it is a food allergy or a 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 together and enjoy a meal together. You know how on holidays people come and hope to please everyone, that’s the goal. It doesn’t have to be “complicated,” but sometimes it is “complicated,” Brown said. “You have me as the host and judge, then we have Maneet Chauhan, who is my expert judge, and then we always have two picky eaters who will come and have different tastes. Some of them are gluten free and hate onions. I’m soy-free and vegan, then you have someone who eats a lot of meat who will say “I eat meat, I hate vegetables.” So they have these four people and they have to make something that everybody will like.
Brown says that despite the restrictions, the creativity the chefs display on the show is unlike anything she’s seen before. Right off the bat, everything made 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 one of the judges, and I got to try it. It also has to be something I can eat, and I have a soy allergy, so not only does it have to be plant-based, but it also has to be soy-free,” Brown said. “It’s amazing to see where these chefs’ minds go, how well they know food, how well they navigate the kitchen, how well they know what food can do.”
In addition to taste, Brown says chefs are judged on how the food looks on the plate, as well as meeting everyone’s nutritional needs.
“It all comes down to how it looks, is it beautiful, is it covered great, how does it taste, and did they deliver what everyone prefers,” Brown said. “I’m not a chef, I didn’t go to school to study culinary arts or anything like that, 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 appealing, you say, “What is that?” If it smells good, you think, “Oh, I want to try that.” This is how we eat. We eat with our eyes first, we eat with our senses, which makes us want to taste it. That’s why it’s important.”
Brown says “It’s CompliPlated” is unlike any show the Food Network has aired before, and viewers with dietary needs of their own (or family members with dietary needs) will be able to incorporate what they see on the show into your daily life.
“There is so much going on [on ‘It’s CompliPlated’] that the Food Network has never seen before,” Brown said. “It’s like it’s 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 so many people, not just vegans like me, but people with nut allergies or sensitivities, they are dairy-free or whatever the case may be, they’ll be able to see that and see themselves or a family member and say, 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. 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 all the things they need and open their minds to say, oh, I can do something new,” Brown said.
Ultimately, Brown says those who tune in are in for a good time and will feel right at home watching “It’s CompliPlated.”
“I think it makes it feel like you’re at home with me, like you’re an invited guest — it’s almost like going to a party. And I think that’s just a lot of emotion that I think we don’t usually see on food shows. It’s good emotions, there’s highs and lows, there’s laughter, there’s tears, it feels like you’re invited into someone’s house and you can sit on the couch and watch it happen,” Brown said.
“It’s CompliPlated” premiered on the Food Network and Discovery+ at 10pm ET/PT on Thursday, August 11.