I’m slowly but surely getting over this head cold. Very slowly. Maybe not so surely. I was getting better for a few days, and then it flared up just to remind me who was boss.
Well played, head cold.
I’m not as snotty anymore (which my keyboard likes) but there is a constant pressure in my head that makes it feel like it’s going to explode (which my keyboard has no opinion on, but I don’t like). Because of this I’ve been having irrationally extreme reactions to anything that goes slightly wrong in my day-t0-day life. Tuesday there wasn’t any Toddlers & Tiaras on TLC, and I think my meltdown that followed rivaled the toddlers.
I’m hoping this gets better because there is only so much craziness my family can put up with. I have enough quirks without the cold-induced-ones. Anyhoo, I’m not here to talk about being sick. I should be here to talk about a recipe, but that’s not going to happen. I’m here to talk about Chopped.
This show is the ultimate when it comes to cooking competitions. It makes Iron Chef look like a leisurely Sunday in the kitchen. For those of you unfamiliar with the show, four chefs compete for a $10,000 cash prize. There are three rounds – appetizer, main course, dessert – and each round has a basket of ingredients. The chefs need to use all of the basket ingredients (as well as anything they need from the pantry or refrigerator) and make a cohesive dish for the judges. What you end up with are super frazzled chefs, kitchen bitchiness, and delightfully judgmental judges.
Alex Guarnaschelli is having none of your shit.
The baskets for the rounds are always filled with the most random ingredients. Some of them are nice and easily recognizable ingredients, and then they throw things in like yak filets and mochi. While the cooking is fun, of course, it’s the drama that makes Chopped irresistible.
Within any given episode you can expect some chef to slice their finger, another chef to set a pan on fire, and at least one, if not two, to either undercook a meat or leave bones in their fish. And nothing pisses judges off like not deboning your fish correctly. Their reaction makes the chef’s faux pas seem comparable to committing murder. In the judges’ minds, this is probably not hyperbolic.
The best is when a chef gets criticized, and one of the other contestants can’t control their reaction. The camera always catches it.
Undercooked chicken? Puh-lease.
My favorite part of Chopped, though, is how inspirational it is to watch as a young cook. I’m always amazed by how well developed the chef’s instincts are for what flavor a dish needs, and their innovation in bringing out that flavor. I always love watching because it makes me want to go in the kitchen and get cooking.
Do any of you like Chopped?