Don’t Judge the Chopped Judges


My husband will tell you I watch a lot of TV and I don’t discriminate. I watch comedies, dramas, reality, news shows, comedy news shows, comedic dramas and dramatic comedies. But, my favorite show above all is Chopped on The Food Network. My friend Erin introduced me to Chopped last summer or the summer before (I literally can’t remember because it feels like this show has been a part of my life forever) and it was exactly what I needed to further my food education. I didn’t even know that I wanted to know more about cooking technique until I started watching Chopped. Suddenly I can define gastrique and pistou and I understand how to use ingredients creatively and not be so stuck in my cookbooks. I could explain the concept and genius of this show, but Food Network did it for me already.

The thing with Chopped is that everyone always talks about what assholes the judges are. I agree, they can been kind of nit-picky and overly critical, but they can also be super positive and effusive. Alex Guarnaschelli, executive chef at Butter, is criticized for being one of the, shall we say, least friendly, but when she loves something she LOVES it! She, in particular, wants to see the chef’s be successful! I used to think she was super mean but, a few months ago I saw Aaron Sanchez do a cooking demonstration and Q&A and he said something that really stuck with me. He pointed out how hard all of the chefs have worked to get to where they are, particularly the women, and they have all reached a certain level of success. This simple statement gave me a whole new perspective on the judges. I started looking at them as experts in their field and not the little bitches they were being portrayed as.

I think the judge that makes it hardest for us to love him is Scott Conant.

Here’s the thing though, Scott Conant has opened 6 restaurants across the country and has published 2 cookbooks. The man knows what he’s talking about and just because he doesn’t like raw onions doesn’t make him a bad person. Frankly, if you are a chef competing on Chopped and you want to put raw onions in something that Scott Conant is going to eat, you’re the idiot, not him!

To be fair, I haven’t eaten at one of Scott’s restaurants (yet,it’s next on my list), but I did make his Tomato-Basil Spaghetti last night from a Smitten Kitchen recipe. Seriously, all this dish includes is plum tomatoes simmered down and olive oil infused with basil, garlic, and red chili pepper. The most labor intensive part is peeling and seeding the tomatoes but then basically you just put them in a pot, mash them with a potato masher as they soften (genius technique!) and simmer for 45 minutes. It’s a really beautiful and flavorful sauce that definitely doesn’t require an all-day-stove-top simmer.

You can read the whole adapted recipe here or see Scott Conant do it himself here.

The meal was wonderful and made me feel justified in my respect of these judges the same way eating braised lamb shank at Landmarc made me respect (worship?) Marc Murphy.

So next time you watch Chopped (as I’m sure you do since you’re reading my blog), cut the judges some slack! And if you’re reading this and you’re in the casting department at the Food Network, I submitted my application months ago. Just waiting on my phone call…

Read more about TV here: The Time I Almost Made My TV Debut and It’s My Superbowl: Fall TV Premiere Week

Read more about Recipes here: Turkey Bacon Biscuit BLTs and Brunch vs. Dinner: My Trials and Tribulations


9 thoughts on “Don’t Judge the Chopped Judges

  1. Pingback: It’s My Super Bowl: Fall TV Premiere Week « Think well. Love well. Dine well.

  2. Pingback: That Time I Almost Made My TV Debut « Think well. Love well. Dine well.

  3. Pingback: Why I Never Stole Cookies from the Cookie Jar « Think well. Love well. Dine well.

  4. Pingback: Brunch vs. Dinner: My Trials and Tribulations « Think well. Love well. Dine well.

  5. Pingback: How to Lose an Evening Making Pot Pies « Think well. Love well. Dine well.

  6. Pingback: Michael Symon: My Culinary Hero « Think well. Love well. Dine well.

  7. Pingback: The Perfect Thanksgiving Hostess Gift « Think well. Love well. Dine well.

  8. Pingback: Risotto: My Everest « Think well. Love well. Dine well.

  9. Pingback: The Bachelor Recap: Why Are We Still Watching? « Think well. Love well. Dine well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s