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Vedge's Landau to battle on Food Network's 'Chopped'

But the joke was on him.

The Food Network cooking-contest series Chopped sends four chefs to the stoves to create dishes using a basket of mystery ingredients.

Judges then weigh in, and the successful chefs move on to compete on the next course.

One ingredient must have given a chuckle to Rich Landau of the Locust Street destination Vedge, arguably the city's best-known vegan chef.

Producers didn't throw beef cheeks or chicken necks or tiger shrimp or skate wings at him.

He and his three competitors were asked to use tempeh.

Landau used the soy product for years. Its texture mimics meat, and patrons of his previous restaurant, Horizons, lapped up his rum-glazed tempeh and other entrees.

But since he and wife Kate Jacoby opened Vedge, he has forsaken tempeh in favor of elegantly prepared vegetables.

The chefs - Texans David Garrido and Sonya Cote and New York's Mustapha Rahiim - also had to use chia seeds, dandelion greens, and fresh berries.

Bound by a nondisclosure agreement, Landau wouldn't talk about the show.

The air date is Tuesday, June 18 at 10 p.m.