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Cooking Reality Show cliches

Having watch all of the Top Chef seasons so far, as well as much of the original Iron Chef and some of the Iron Chef America, my ears are becoming ever more sensitive to the overused cliches that pop up. So here is my short list. Add on as you please:

"I'm going to bring my A-game, next week." Generic contestant vow after getting hammered by the judges.

"I have a PASSION for cooking, and I will show the judges that in the next challenge." The thing the person who gets eliminated the following week will inevitably say.

"The judges just don't understand my style." See above.

"I take full responsibility, but there is an explanation..." Any and all contestants at Judge's Table

"Sou-vide is easy." Contestants who's never done sou-vide

"I stand by my dish!" Contestant defense after crashing and burning at Judge's Table

"I really don't like the way you cook your eggs." A certain judge on Top Chef.

"It's so sophisticated!" From the Original Iron Chef, usually some unknown, but cute starlet.

"Its so oily." A certain Japanese judge on ICA.

"Salad is not cooking." A certain judge from Top Chef

"Its not what they have done throughout the contest, its what they have done that day." Same judge on his blog.

"(A certain thing) is like (another certain thing that has nothing to do whatsoever with the first thing.)" A certain British judge on Top Chef.

"Three and a half stars." A certain judge on TCM on any Michael Chiarello dish, no matter if it is good, bad, or indifferent.

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  1. LOL! i love the last two, Phaedrus...but i think the one about Akiko Katayama is my favorite :)

    i'll add a couple more:
    - "i'm not going to throw anyone under the bus." (usually said right before blaming a team fiasco on another chef)
    - "people were coming back for seconds and thirds and telling me how much they loved the dish!" (*always* said by a chef who lands in the bottom 3 after a buffet challenge.)

    1. I dunno -- does "MOST. SHOCKING. EPISODE. EVER!" qualify?

      1. "I didn't get a chance to show the judges what I could do/that I could cook." (Well, what were you waiting for?) Said by contestant after being kicked off.

        1. LOL! Loved the one about a certain British judge, Phaedrus. Could have figured that out without the notation that it was a certain British judge on TC.

          I have another one that's become a buzz-cliche in the past few seasons of TC:

          "This is not Top (whatever), it's Top Chef!" Although maybe it's just that I've seen a variation on that phrase used here on CH threads about TC!

          3 Replies
          1. re: LindaWhit

            Oh, it started in season one. "It's not top sous chef" to Miguel and "This is Top Chef, not top sommelier" and "This is not top waiter" to Stephen...well, a few different times. It seems to have stuck. It's all Tom's fault! He was the one who said them aaaaaaaall in season one.

            1. re: spellweaver16

              I had forgotten the top sous to Miguel and top sommelier to Stephan. Fabio just elaborated upon it with "This is not Top Scallop!" - in his inimitable style. :-)

              1. re: LindaWhit

                <3 Fabio so much. He and Carla made season 5 awesome. I still crack up at "bunky bed"!

          2. Both of these cliches are out of date by 8 to 10 years, but this guy uses them often.
            "That's the bomb!"
            "That's Money!"

            1. Heard on Ace of Cakes this week, with tongue planted firmly in cheek: "I'm not here to make friends, I'll gladly throw you under the bus if I have to."

              1. "Debbie you were fantastic!!"

                ""Paula Deen is so classy"

                "Wow it's Sandra Lee. I'm so excited!"

                "Giada will be tasting my food."

                "Member of the countries culinary elite...The Neelys"

                "I'm Korean"

                1 Reply
                1. I love it when the contestants explain who a judge is, in a tone that seems like they just found who this person is themselves.

                  (Chef's name here) is a really respected well-known great (fill in cuisine) chef with tons of restaurants/cookbooks, etc. I just hope he/she likes what I do.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: MrsT

                    Quoting Ms. Ray, & now Sunny Anderson

                    "Good To Go"

                  2. "Honor the protein." I could go the rest of my life without ever hearing that one again.

                    "I guess their strategy paid off. " Usually uttered by someone in the bottom group referring to the winner of a challenge. Always said in a way that is supposed to make us think the speaker does not have a strategy and that the winner is somehow sneaky instead of talented.

                    "_____ better watch out. It seems like they don't have a clue." Usually said by the person getting the boot that week.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: MplsM ary

                      great call on "honoring the protein" - i can't believe it took so long for that one to come up!

                      something else uttered far too frequently by those who make it to the finale of TC & TNFNS...any variation of "I finally get to cook my own food." whose food were you cooking up until now?

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        "Pack your knives and go home" -- at which point the dismissed chef doesn't go home but is reportedly sequestered elsewhere so s/he doesn't actually go home and spill the behind-the-scenes beans.

                        1. re: ClaireWalter

                          actually, Padma doesn't use the word "home." it's simply "Please pack your knives and go." she doesn't tell them *wheere* to go, so i guess technically, a chef who wanted to protest his or her elimination could choose to "go" straight back into the kitchen!

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            Goodhealthgourmet - Thnx for the correction. If I could bear to watch another season, I'd pay closer attention, but I'll happily just take your word for it.

                      2. re: MplsM ary

                        "honor the protein" Hell, I cringe when anyone even calls meat, 'protein'. Really seems to be a way of making oneself appear more sophisticated than they really are.

                        1. re: chipman

                          They couldn't very well say: "Love the meat." could they?

                          1. re: Phaedrus

                            sure they could...Paula Deen talks about beating her meat! ;)

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              Reminds me of that great old Burger King Commercial where the old lady yells out "WHERE'S THE PROTEIN?!!!!!!!!

                      3. "I'm not here to make friends"

                        1. When Guy Fieri call something "money" or says " I could eat another one or twelve of these"... but if he ever stopped saying such things I would stop watching Triple D. Gotta love Guy!

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: iluvcookies

                            the DDD catchphrases could take up an entire thread of their own ;)

                            - Winner, winner chicken dinner.
                            - Everybody in the pool.
                            - You're drivin' the bus/train to flavor town.
                            - That's off the hook.
                            - That's off the chain.
                            - You could put this on a flip-flop/my shoe and it'd still taste good.
                            - Throw some of these bad boys in there.
                            - It's on like Donkey Kong.
                            - Go big or go home.

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              Turn off the television. Clearly you've had enough. That I recognized all those phrases means I should, too.

                              You missed "Triple D"

                              Yet there is still something captivating about DDD. I can't help liking the guy named Guy. And I confess I watch to see if he's made another swing through Minneapolis/Saint Paul.

                              1. re: MplsM ary

                                Out of all the FN chef/host/stars Guy seems like he is having fun which is why I can deal with all the corny phrases. I'd hang in a diner with him 'cause I know everyone would have a good time. Now if Giada or Bobby Flay starts to say stuff like this... NOOOOO!

                                1. re: iluvcookies

                                  I have a love/hate relationship with Guy Fieri. Love the places he goes to, hate him, actually I hate the dyed blond look, the sunglasses in the back of the head, the cliches, etc. I do think the enthusiasm is genuine though.

                                  1. re: Phaedrus

                                    Exactly... if I thought for a minute he was being phony, the whole schtick wouldn't work. Took time to grow on me, but he sure did... it was the places he visited that drew me in.

                                    1. re: iluvcookies

                                      he may be over the top, but i think he's completely entertaining. i've never seen another host laugh so much or genuinely appear to be having so much fun no matter where they're filming. and he happens to be a very funny guy. sure, the catchphrases are tired, but every once in a while he tosses out a random gem in the moment. of course i also get to drool over all the delicious food they highlight, which is the primary reason to watch anyway!

                                      i just wish he wasn't such an unabashed pig about the way he eats - it's pretty nasty when he ends up with condiments smeared on his face & stuck in his goatee.

                                      and to MplsMary, the irony is that i'm *not* a TV person! aside from Top Chef and football, there's not much i watch on a regular basis. i DVR DDD, and when the mood strikes and time allows, i watch a marathon of recorded episodes.

                          2. "I'm just gonna go simple" or, "I'm all about simple food. . ."

                            1. How about the trite phrase:

                              "My cooking style is to use fresh local ingredients"


                              Commentary about how they are a "single dad or soccer mom and hope that their kids are proud of them"

                              1. All of them pretty effectively savaged here --


                                A great waste of an afternoon.

                                1. How about when someone says a judge just "didn't get it".

                                  And don't forget Guys "that's killer". Some customer recently said that to him on a commercial.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Shrinkrap

                                    I've ALWAYS hated that expression! By saying that, you put it back on the person who didn't like it. There was nothing wrong with your _____ (food, art, comedy, etc.) THEY must be deficient in some way to not get it. Maybe they got it, but just didn't like it.

                                  2. This is one of the funniest posts I've ever read on this site or any other.


                                    No pun intended.

                                      1. re: Withnail42

                                        Half of the thing he says (screams) are burnt look nicely browned to me. Are Scots afraid of color on their food? And when he screams about raw scallops being cold in the middle - well I don't want them COLD, but there are many seafoods that I don't want HOT in the middle because by then they are way overcooked!

                                      2. I'm more than a little annoyed at the way all the cooking show hosts make "...my this..." & "...my that...".

                                        "It will taste great with MY chicken salad."
                                        "Next I'm going to make MY chile verde."
                                        "On today's program I'm going to show you how to make MY peach tart."

                                        Good way to connect with your audience there. Not.

                                        I don't want to make YOUR food; I want to make GOOD food.

                                        1. This would make a great drinking game.

                                          1. Lesbians with really bad tattoos.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: MattInNJ

                                              Well, if you're going to go there: faux hawks.