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Mar 8, 2009 08:07 PM


Yeah. The Food Network show. Does anyone else find it to be the singularly most unappetizing show on television? The gray chefs' coats. The dingy gray set. The gray baskets of almost Zimmern type food. Then Ted What-his-names weird"chopped" speech. WHAT is Food Network thinking?

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  1. The food is stupid. What's the point of having such incompatible food in the basket? It's just gimmickry. Hey, what can you do with artichokes, sardines and bubble gum? erk

    And darn it, I loved Ted on Queer Eye. FN is misusing him in this show and the Food Detectives one. He's so stilted when he has a script to follow. Much better on ICA.

    4 Replies
    1. re: coney with everything

      I agree.....they could have challenging ingredients that actually CAN work together instead of the one ingredient that is out of place and often of low quality. One episode they had a chef from Israel and he commented how he was excited to see dates but the dates were of very low quality and something he would not cook with. The judges expected more of him with the dates. I felt bad for the guy.

      1. re: coney with everything

        why do they continue to script ted allen? he is much better on his own wits, it seems. otherwise, his speech *is* "choppy" and stiff.

        1. re: alkapal

          I like the idea, but Ted Allen is speaking too oddly as the host.. he comes across as some kind of robot. And although I like the idea of the challenge, sometimes the ingredients comes across as just too crazy - your basket contains 2 lbs of beef suet, 3 moldy apples, a box of Hot Pockets, and a pint of cheap whiskey!

          30 minutes does seem a bit tight for some of the most talented chefs - a lot of them are finishing with undercooked stuff. Maybe lenghten it a bit..

          1. re: grant.cook

            >>>>2 lbs of beef suet, 3 moldy apples, a box of Hot Pockets, and a pint of cheap whiskey!<<<

            watching the show, i'm gonna opt for the pint of cheap whiskey!

      2. My problem with the show is they don't give enough time to think and cook so you have:

        a) chefs use the easiest possible method, as in take any cereal grain in the box and use it as a coating.
        b) they have to rush, rush, rush and the food almost always suffers in quality and presentation.

        The time limits mean that we don't see chefs actually grapple mentally or physically with odd mixtures of ingredients.

        1. I have to admit some of the (jazz hands here) *drama* amuses me. What irritates me is as follows (sorry, anyone who lives with me can tell you a lot more irritates me...)

          1- Timelines, as another poster pointed out. Hello? Entrees often take longer to ideate and execute. Can we make the enree section lohger to get better/more reasoned outcomes for the dishes? (hey, this show is edited, so time is not a real issue for broadcast.)
          2- Why, oh why do we have to have the Completely Ridiculous ingredient in the basket? We home cooks have always raided the pantry and made do, but the forced use of things that don't go well together? I find it a bit cruel to cooks trying to do their best.
          3-Finally, why does the elimination always have to come down to dessert? I know there is supposed to be a consideration of all dishes, but dessert is, frankly, the least of my interests (personally), and the weight given to the finish of the competition (and the means of elimination being dessert) is oddly constructed. I would rather all four contestants remain in to the end.

          But then there's no >cut to commercial< "You've been chopped" moment, is there?

          I really want to like the show. Really. I. Do.


          2 Replies
          1. re: cayjohan

            The Food Network's fascination with tight time-frames and cooking speed really annoy me. It's akin to saying Eddie Van Halen is the best guitarist on the planet because he can play really fast, whereas Stevie Ray Vaughn (RIP) sucks because he plays much slower.

            It's ridiculous, really. Good food -- like good music -- often takes a little time and effort to get it "just right". The FN's obsession with speed is annoying me -- why don't they simply feature McDonalds' and how, as a corporation, they've reduced the cooking time of the average burger.


            1. re: cayjohan

              And why no eggs during the dessert challenge

            2. Another thing that annoys me is the surprise lack of ingredients in the pantry. If you are making the contestants cook a course in 20 or 30 minutes with weird ingredients, at least let them have as much eggs/milk/bread as they need. That said, I am enjoying this show, I think because I can identify with the chef's reactions. I am amazed how in TC they immediately run and start cooking and almost always come up with a respectable plate. On Chopped, you see the wheels turning. I could definitely see myself roaming the pantry for something to add and undercooking the meat, etc.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Val55

                The lack of supplies in the pantry is only half as annoying as the extreme lack of proper equipment. They give them fish "filets" laden with pin bones and they have to pull them out with their bare hands? Come on, people! Pop for some pliers, or at least a decent pair of tweezers. That's just stupid.

                1. re: Caroline1

                  I agree Caroline and that is one aspect that is so frustrating...the basis of the show is fine and with some tweaking it could be very good, but a number of little things make it stupid instead.

                  I'm waiting for an 18 pound frozen turkey to be in the basket or a live chicken.

                  1. re: Janet from Richmond

                    It will probably be at least an 18 pound turkey.... with a toaster oven to cook it in! If my kitchen was as poorly equipped as theirs, I would live on take-out!

                    1. re: Caroline1

                      After three viewings, I find the CHOPPED concept ridiculous. It's akin to telling a jazz trio, "here's a banjo, a cowbell, and a pipe organ -- create something that sounds like Miles Davis circa have 30 minutes..."

                      Who ever cooks this way, utilizing "found" ingredients? College-age bachelors?

                      "Hmmm, here's a can of Campbells Cream of Kidney soup, a bag of frozen lima beans, and a jar of Hunt's Chili Sauce....what can I make before my poli-sci exam?"

                      Give the contestants something decent to work with (food AND tools) and for Allah's sake, get a new host! That guy is the definition of WOODEN.


                2. re: Val55

                  Oh, that annoyed me so much when I saw last night's show. And it's not just a lack of ingredients in the pantry but a variety of ingredients. The Top Chef's well-stocked pantry is stocked by Lee Anne Wong (who was a former contestant and chef). There seems to be a greater breadth in the type of ingredients that are there. Judging from the few glimpses I see in Chopped's pantry, it would be very difficult for certain chefs, for example, an Asian-food-cooking chef, to compete in.

                3. Watched the show for the first time last night. We thought it entertaining. I though they intentionally only had two eggs in the fridge come dessert time.
                  This takes a special "outside the box" kind of cook to do well in this competition. If you only really do one type of food well, you are in trouble. Dessert are not a forte of mine, either....
                  Also, with so little time (the pace is amazing) you can't think about it for long or change your mind. It's really a gut thing. I once had an employee who would did very well in this environment. He'd start doing the obvious basics right away and once started he would develop a plan and improvise as he went along; always making it work in the end. Unless you can't undo it or fix it, plowing ahead with a few changes of course is often better than planning too long and (likely), still face changes. As noted by judges, one competitor didn't even unwrap his fish until he was down to five minutes! It could at least been getting up to room temp and looking at it might have inspired him.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: Scargod

                    The things that many have complained about - incompatible ingredients, limited supplies, limited time - are the very things that make the competition challenging and the show interesting. They also help distinguish this show from the dozen or more other competitions on FN and elsewhere.

                    More than with any other competition show, I find myself thinking about what I would prepare given those ingredients and time. I wonder if they have a pressure cooker in the supply room.

                    1. re: paulj

                      I have to admit this show has grown on me. I was pretty bored the first few episodes, and particularly turned off by the wooden manner of my otherwise-beloved Ted Allen. But the past two or three have really caught my attention. Maybe it's getting better, maybe I'm used to it, or maybe I'm desperate without TC and with the CB being so terrible. This week's episode in particular I had fun thinking about what I would do with the appetizer course. With chicken wings, celery and processed string cheese, am I the only who thought upscale-bar food sampler plate??

                      1. re: charmedgirl

                        But to wow those judges you'd have to do more than cut the celery into sticks. At least put some peanut butter and raisins on the sticks!

                      2. re: paulj

                        The supply room puzzles me. Do they get to look around it before the show starts? If so, some don't have a good memory of what's in it.

                        1. re: Scargod

                          to really mix things up, make it like the "concentration" game, where every pantry item or tool is in a different "box." you can see them briefly before the competition starts, and then, in each round, you can only open 3-4 boxes to reveal and use the items inside. ha!

                          1. re: alkapal

                            I've grown to enjoy this trainwreck of a show. The false paranioa (ie. every time Ted Allen says "you will be chopped" they show the contestants practically breaking into tears). the goofy ingredients, the pseudo-serious judges (Alex G. is a trip), the pressure -- it's danged fun to watch.

                            My fave episode was the one where "Sandy" won. He was an older dude from Texas who moved very slowly, took his time, and finished all three courses well under the time limits. His other co-finalist was some fresh-out-of-pastry-school bright-eyed young girl whose over-confidence was annoying at best. She thought she'd win it in the dessert round just because she was a fresh-faced pastry school graduate but Sandy took her down, big time.

                            The look on her face when she got chopped was priceless.


                            1. re: CucumberBoy

                              I like watching but my hubby goes crazy because he can not stand Judge Alex....he says he will only be interested when someone attacks!

                              1. re: CucumberBoy

                                Hubby and I also enjoy the trainwreck. the horrible dramatic music, the dramatic judges, all of the over-confident chefs, and strange ingredients. We also just like saying 'shut up Ted!' every time he talks. Why is he so awful on this show? Is it really just bad direction? I imagine there is going to be some sort of Chopped tournament of champions, right? that would be interesting.