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MasterChef viewers outraged after contestant is allowed to use cheese instead of fish

MasterChef viewers outraged after contestant is allowed to use cheese instead of fish

The contestant had previously refused to cook with eggs.

Plant-based diets might be on the rise, but this hasn't stopped viewers of MasterChef from being outraged at the treatment of a vegetarian contestant.

It all went down on an episode of the cooking show in India, where a vegetarian contestant was allowed to use cheese instead of fish in a round.

Aruna Vijay cooked with paneer while the other contestants cooked fish as they battled it out to win an 'immunity pin' to keep themselves in the competition for longer.

As reported by the BBC, the judges did not specify why the exception was made and in the episode, which aired on Friday (17 February), the other contestants did not seem phased by the difference.

The contestant herself did not seem surprised that she was allowed to make the substitution, either.

Some vegetarians praised the contestant for her decisions.
MasterChef India / Sony TV

The decision was made in episode 35 of the show following her earlier objection to cooking eggs, it has been reported.

Vijay is not only a vegetarian herself, but she is from the Jain community, who are known for sticking to strictly plant-based diets.

However, while the decision to allow her to use cheese instead of fish didn't appear to be an issue on the show itself, it did not go down well with all viewers on social media.

While the other contestants cooked fish, an exception was made for the vegetarian contestant.
Alamy / Tatjana Baibakova

Instead of agreeing that the show was respecting her views, some argued that she should have competed in a vegetarian only season - and others went as far as to suggest that the judges were giving her an unfair advantage.

One viewer slammed: "Masterchef had a pure vegetarian season long time back and Aruna should have come in that season if she had to cook with vegetarian ingredients.

"If you have made an attempt to compete in masterchef you should be ready to cook with everything.

#MasterChefIndia [sic]"

"Height of favouritism by @SonyTV," declared a second.

"Aruna allowed to chose protein of her one choice jus cuz she is a vegetarian. Never such partiality has happened in other versions of Masterchef.

"If she can't cook non-veg food or out of her comfort zone she she'd leave the show.

#MasterchefIndia [sic]"

The contestant was allowed to cook with paneer instead.
Alamy / Angela Serena Gilmour

However, not everyone was so critical of the contestant and some vegetarians praised the cook for sticking by her principles even when competing.

One wrote: "Tamilnadu's Aruna Vijay , who is a marwari jain, who was in the top ten in Sony TV's master chef India, refused to cook the dish wherein she had to put eggs. She stood for her principles, and values even at the cost of losing 25 lacs.

"Proud of her. #vegetariansociety."

Another praised the show for allowing the chef to have the option.

They wrote: "I also had narrowed my thoughts that if you are being part of master chef you need to cook veg/non veg both! But I'm glad that #MasterChefIndia gave option to use paneer instead of fish to Aruna bc she's doesn't cook non veg.

"You can still stick to ur roots & grow! Felt good tbh [sic]."

Featured Image Credit: Picture Partners / Julija / Stockimo / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: TV and Film