Saturday, July 23, 2016


I love to watch CHOPPED.  My husband (who does not care for the show) just rolls his eyes, because every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, I'm setting the DVR to record any unfamiliar episodes.  CHOPPED is a perfect show to watch on the small TV on the counter, while I'm working in the kitchen.

I've learned much from CHOPPED - many professional terms, dishes, and ingredients that were unfamiliar.  That's where I learned that meat is supposed to rest before serving it, or what an aioli is (a garlicky mayonnaise), or many other cooking terms.  In China, I recognized several items that had been used on CHOPPED, such as durian, a very stinky fruit!.  (People in the Chinese Wal-Mart would inspect the durian carefully, and then put several in their basket.  I sneaked a sniff of one after the other people were left.  It smelled terrible.)

The format of the show is sound.  It doesn't resort to crazy premises  to put itself across to the public.  It's a straightforward cooking competition in which the contestants are given baskets of required ingredients, usually very disparate, to include in their dishes.  One contestant (four start the show) is chopped in each of three rounds, leaving one $10,000 winner standing at the end.

CHOPPED has changed some from the early episodes, when the focus of the editing and judging appeared to focus on catching the "snarky moment."  Now it seems to be more solid in just judging the cooking.  And that is how the show is definitely NOT politically correct.  Age, color, gender, do not seem to matter in which chefs win and which are chopped.  And usually the judges do seem to make sound, objective decisions.

The creativity of the chefs is interesting to watch.  It's unbelievable how some of them can do so well at creating dishes from such disparate ingredients, which have gotten weirder in recent seasons.

It's a little disconcerting the way many contestants try to use a "gimmick" to sway the judges (who do not, however, appear to succumb to that).  Cancer survival, loss of a family member, "make my (parents, husband, children, boss, etc.) proud of me," are just a few of the pegs used by some of the chefs.  And some seem to depend on winning this show to define their existence, or to decide whether to continue as chefs, or to even determine their worthiness at life.  I find that to be sad.  It is a cooking competition.  If a parent or child or boss or whoever loses their pride in someone because he or she loses a contest, then something is very wrong.  Just cook, and win or lose, and accept the consequences graciously.

Which brings up another point.  Even the cockiest of contestants during the actual cooking, if he (and it's usually a he) leaves with a gracious spirit, leaves with a good impression made on the viewers.  And the ones who act like they were way too worthy to be chopped, do not leave the viewers with charitable views toward them.

And finally, as in so many areas of life, the principle of "words written on their hearts" (Romans 2) carries through here.  The prideful, arrogant contestants usually end up doing something foolish or being chopped for some reason.  The ones with a more humble spirit often end up winning.  The disrespectful contestants obviously raise the ire of the judges.  People know what is right and wrong even if they do not acknowledge it outwardly, and it comes out even on a television show.

So, I love CHOPPED, and its spin-off program, CHOPPED JUNIOR.  And will continue to watch it, and learn from it, and enjoy it.


rk2 said...

I've become a big Chopped fan over the past year. Some of the ingredients and combinations are really out there. It seems the ingredients tend to be similar (although not always) with a protein or two, a fruit, and a veggie or carb with at least one ingredient being very unique. I think most go in with about 3-4 ideas of what to do for each category and then adjust the ingredients to that idea. One person obviously did that and went too far because the judges even said you came in planning to make this for dessert and just added the basket ingredients to use them. "It didn't work." I ate rambutan in Hawaii and now it's a fairly regular ingredient in the baskets.

Ann said...

I discovered lots of Chopped ingredients in China - rambutan included.