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Chopped All-Stars -- Episode 1 (contains spoilers)

well I watched tonight's episode with the NFNS contenders. It was a little dull I thought and the baskets are weird as usual.

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    1. re: AMFM

      My husband and I were horrifed at the remark about killing a litter of puppies by Michael. For someone who seems to be sooo concerned about discrimination and ugliness in this world, he is very obtuse and ignorant. If he makes statements like that frequently, maybe his life is what it is because of his mouth.

      1. re: ccjs

        This opening episode was generally crappy in my opinion. Watching Brad sweat was the highlight.

        Michael's comment was unnecessarily vulgar and cast a dark pall on his victory.

        1. re: TrishUntrapped

          I was startled really startled by what he said--especially as I watched with my newly adopted puppy in my lap!
          I'm excited for next week's competition, that should be a little more interesting.

          1. re: TrishUntrapped

            It's clear from other Chopped threads that comments by contestants are heavily edited. They are egged on by staff to sound cocky and even make disparaging remarks about the competition, with the juiciest bits appearing on your screen.

            No comments about the cooking itself?

            1. re: paulj

              Paul did you see the show.. I truly doubt Michael's sentence could have been heavily edited...

              Unless he actually said something like this:

              "I love puppies so much that I would never kill a litter of them to win this. And I mean never."

              I don't think so. ;-)

              1. re: TrishUntrapped

                Ummm, he was joking. Not that it was fall-on-the-floor hilarious but neither was I "shocked" or "startled". It's called hyperbole.

                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                  I half watched the hour. I haven't paid much attention to the Next FN star competition, so didn't know these cooks from any others they have had on Chopped. I did catch that 'horrible comment' near the end. Clearly Michael's persona is meant to be borderline outrageous.

                  I think the future episodes with cooks on the caliber of Aaron will be more interesting (if for no other reason that some have been judges).

                  1. re: TrishUntrapped

                    Ted Allen's blog on this episode
                    "At the risk of stating the obvious, Michael was joking and would never harm a domestic animal, excepting, perhaps, a lobster. He was, in fact, arguably the sweetest and definitely among the funniest contestants ever to compete on The Next Food Network Star—both major reasons we wanted him to compete in All-Stars"

            2. I tuned in and wondered if it was the right show-- I guess these guys are "all stars" in some sense, but having (lost) on next food network star is not quite the same level as Anne Burrell etc. But who knows, maybe the kicker is that the winner of this episode will beat the winner of her episode! I definately didn't think these guys did any better than the usual crew does.

              2 Replies
              1. re: DGresh

                But who knows, maybe the kicker is that the winner of this episode will beat the winner of her episode!
                i really hope not. i was less than thrilled with the way this one ended.

                and add me to the list of people who were disturbed & disgusted by Michael's comment about the puppies.

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  Equally unsettling was when he acknowledged "yes! I look like a clown", or something like that.

              2. Agreed #2. Also agree with the litter of puppies remark. Completely uncalled for.

                Surprised they didn't start off with an episode of the "celebrity" chefs first, then have these former NFNS non-winners be on a later episode.

                7 Replies
                1. re: LindaWhit

                  What was wrong with Lisa last night?? She seemed odder than usual.

                  1. re: C. Hamster

                    They mentioned that her brother had just passed away. She had his picture on her station and said she was playing for him. Brad seemed weird (sick?) as well. He was fine in the interviews, but looked pale and sweaty otherwise.

                    When did these guys become "all stars"? The last time we saw them they were getting sent home for not being good enough. I guess they got around that by calling them "fan favorites".

                    1. re: Whinerdiner

                      When did these guys become "all stars"?
                      i guess in a sense they're *FN* all-stars because viewers know them from their respective seasons of TNFNS...but i had to chuckle every time Ted referred to them as "celebrities." :)

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        I'm sure he was chuckling on the inside. :)

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          "Ted referred to them as "celebrities." :)"

                          yea, they wish. *)
                          my husband commented that he recognized a couple of them.
                          I reminded him that they were the contestants from that other show.

                          I have to agree also about Michaels' remark reg: the litter of puppies.
                          We both wretched as well, not funny, but I think it was a 'shoot from the hip [without thinking] remark' on his part. Probably didn't mean it. Bet somewhere on the web there is already an apology. Who knows....

                      2. re: C. Hamster

                        no offense intended to anyone who liked her first time around on TNFNS but even then she was not my favorite.
                        I'm pretty sure she knows she has only has so many minutes.
                        doesn't/didn't she watch the show or at least get the memo about how it works?
                        putting only one of the basket ingredients on the plate? REALLY? I'm glad she didn't hang on long, she was mentally elsewhere in my opinion.
                        Brad appeared lackluster in interest and personality & thinner and maybe not feeling well.
                        Debbie, didn't care for her style of cooking or much else on TNFNS so I had no interest in watching her last night.
                        Michael, same as on his first tv show when he didn't disappoint, last night he didn't disappoint me either. I enjoyed his talent and humor.

                        1. re: iL Divo

                          I was surprised Alex was arguing for Lisa's plate of 3 missing ingredients so much. just to add fake drama I guess.

                          I missed the puppy comment.

                          Brad's nails looked a little dirty. I thought he'd win. Everyone seemed really subdued to me.

                    2. i didnt realize being a loser/runner-ups on one show made u a celebrity chef on the FN...
                      have they lowered their standards that far?
                      and until alex gets up and gets her food/double dipping/technique ripped to shreds
                      it wont be as much fun to watch...
                      the duff/irvine/brunell one might be interesting
                      or conant getting just a basket of raw onions....that would be fun...

                      20 Replies
                      1. re: srsone

                        I want to see Conant with raw onions, fish, cheese and cheap premade pasta like Chef Boyardee.

                        1. re: chowser

                          i adore Conant (he won me over with his *amazing* food), but that is THE perfect basket for him :)

                          1. re: chowser

                            I want to see Conant with raw onions ...

                            Does that mean there could actually be a basket with cooked onions? :-)

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              there could....
                              but i just remember he always gets on people if they put onions anywhere on a dish...just because he doesnt like them....
                              like the chefs are supposed to know what people like and dont like ahead of time...

                              well..probably everybody knows he doesnt like them now...
                              and if i was going to be on the show i would research it first anyway..
                              like some of these i have noticed..
                              make sure u get every ingredient on the plate..cook the meat all the way...dont double dip...dont drop a spoon on the floor and use it again..dont use the same stuff every dish...make sure conant doesnt get an onion...and do something wild and crazy at least one dish...

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                This is one of the problems I have with this show. Initially it was being sold as "the tables are turned" show. Judges are forced to cook. Something viewers have been clamoring for. Then it comes out that some of the judges have not agreed to be contestants. Even more ridiculous is that most of these will continue to judge. I have said before, I want an episode of Scott Conant vs. Alex Guarneschelli judged by contestants. Even more sadly not only do we not get these overbearing judges but we get three losers of the ultimate loser, Battle of the Next Food Network Stars for the first episode.

                                1. re: Bob156

                                  Sounds as though FN has successfully cast Scott and Alex as the bad guys you just love to hate. I bet the producer of this show used to stage professional wrestling matches :)

                                  1. re: Bob156

                                    Ted Allen's blog interview with Alex
                                    "Would you ever compete on Chopped?
                                    Definitely. Being on TV, you’re always putting yourself out there at one point or another. It comes with the territory; you have to have an acceptance of your own strengths and weaknesses. I think to be a complete and whole judge, you need to compete and make yourself vulnerable to criticism, put yourself in their shoes."

                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                        Maybe the powers that be (e.g. producers) thought she would serve the show better as a judge.

                                        1. re: paulj

                                          perhaps. they should have polled the viewers - i suspect the majority would have voted to see her compete :)

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            You could add your comment to Ted's blog - though may be you should wait till the furor over the puppy comment dies down. But there was a comment to the effect that in the reruns the puppies comment has been edited out.

                                            1. re: paulj

                                              did you mean fur or furor...oh I'm bad, sorry folks couldn't resist.

                                              1. re: paulj

                                                You know when I rewatched last week's Top Chef, Richard Blais made a comment about being willing to catch a goat and kill it if it would help him. Couldn't help thinking about the dust-up over here about chopped!

                                                1. re: DGresh

                                                  goat = food, litter of puppies = not food

                                                  1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                    what if he'd mentioned a kid (baby goat)?

                                                    A CC bio of Chris Cosentino mentioned the instance where he went to a farm near San Francisco and killed a couple of kids, slit their throats. He described it as a tough thing to do, but he felt he needed to do so to be true to his (developing) philosophy of head-to-tail respectful use of the animal.

                                                    What was the meat in the appetizer segment? Did 4 calves die just to supply their livers for the sake of that show?

                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                      I think if anyone said they'd kill a kid on TV, a ton of people would think it meant a human child. So I doubt it would make it past the editors.

                                                      1. re: piccola

                                                        The editors did remove the puppies comment on repeats of the is episode.

                                                        In another thread, the OP talked of roasting 4 labs. Later he wrote something about lambs. It got me to thinking of the poem - Mary had a little lamb, a little pork, a little beef ...

                                                    2. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                      just to be provacative, they are both mammals. Eating or not eating is a matter of custom.

                                                      1. re: DGresh

                                                        Nothing to be gained here with you guys, so I'll stop.

                                        2. re: Bob156

                                          Did I miss a report that some refused, or is it being assumed that they refused to compete since they're judging and not competing?

                                          Seems to me that they had to have some of them not compete, just so that the judging is "legit", ie by "chopped" judges, and not some complete newbs). And it would look weird if they judged one episode of the tournament and competed in another episode of the same tourney.

                                  2. I got sucked into watching. I always do with "Chopped." I agree that Michael's comment was really weird. Other than that, I'm glad he won. At least he knew to blanch the bitter melon.

                                    1. I've tried watching Chopped, and I even tuned into this episode for a few minutes, but I find the show so incredibly contrived and stilted. I mean, who wants to eat liver with raisins, or chicken with grape jelly? And the judges, particular the female, whose name escapes me at the moment, are so somber and serious. There is zero fun in watching this show, and no playfulness in any of the participants. I really dislike it every time I turn it on, so I guess I won't tune in again!

                                      12 Replies
                                      1. re: roxlet

                                        different strokes :)

                                        i love watching it *because* the ingredient pairings are often outrageous - it challenges me as a cook to stretch my imagination and figure out how i would tackle each basket. that's what i do every time i watch the show - imagine what i would make, and go through the steps in my head as i follow along with the contestants to see if/how i would get it all done in the allotted time.

                                        and there are 2 female judges, but i assume you're talking about Alex Guarnaschelli - she's got a perpetual sourpuss on the show. Amanda Freitag is on sometimes, but she's not *quite* as cranky.

                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                          I guess as a cook it might be fun to think of a dish, but the ingredients are just too random (for me). And the time limit, do they have any idea beforehand? 20 min to conceptualize and find the ingredients then make a dish is pretty ridiculous.

                                          1. re: Joanie

                                            I have a feeling that they're given a few minutes to conceptualize the dish (though I don't have proof). I read somewhere that it's done in Top Chef's quickfires. The producers said that without those minutes, it would make for some pretty bad TV.

                                            1. re: Miss Needle

                                              The producers said that without those minutes, it would make for some pretty bad TV.
                                              funny, i'd think it might make for decent TV, but some pretty bad *food* ;)

                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                Yes, it would be hilarious to see what the contestants come up with without those extra minutes.

                                            2. re: Joanie

                                              That's all part of the challenge. The goal isn't to make a perfect meal; it's to do the best you can with ingredients and time that you have. It's clear that the format is popular with viewers, and for a TV network, that is what matters.

                                              1. re: paulj

                                                like many TV cooking shows and competitions the format has got a bit tired.

                                                1. re: paulj

                                                  But the goal kind of *is* to make a perfect meal. The judges sure nitpick their plates when I think doing all that in 20-30 min is a minor miracle. I don't watch that often cuz it is very dry and humorless as someone else mentioned, and I think the combinations are just too bizarre.

                                                  1. re: Joanie

                                                    Yes, the critiques are so humorless considering how absurd the ingredients are. It's a trivial show that takes itself waaaaay to seriously. And yes, GHG, I meant Ms. Sourpuss herself, Alex Guarnaschelli. And Ted with his little disapproving moue of a mouth. I'm chopping THEM.

                                                    1. re: Joanie

                                                      The goal is to be the least perfect :)

                                                      The judges have to chop someone at each step. It is easiest to make the choice when there are obvious blunders - safety issues, omitting required items, etc; harder when all the dishes are well executed.

                                                      Is it possible to take their seriousness too seriously? I'm sure the producers and the judges, may be even the contestants, know that the 'seriousness' is an act. It may be likely that they crack jokes off camera, and may be on. Wouldn't you like to see an outtakes special?

                                                    2. re: paulj

                                                      I know sometimes (rarely) the contestants have a problem finding items in the pantry. But have you ever heard one of them say it wasn't stocked and it wasn't. They are corrected and it is pointed out where the item is in the pantry. But really what pantry has everything? Also,I can't help but wonder if it is a prerequisite that none of the contestants have a food allergy. hmmm?

                                                      1. re: 02putt

                                                        I can't help but wonder if it is a prerequisite that none of the contestants have a food allergy. hmmm?
                                                        there have been a couple of instances where a chef was allergic to one of the ingredients...but the reaction never progressed beyond swelling or redness in their hands from contact with the ingredient.

                                              2. Does anyone know, has there ever been a tie on Chopped?

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: Whinerdiner

                                                  not as far as i know. i've certainly never seen it happen, and i *think* i've seen every episode at this point. i Googled and came up with nothing.

                                                  1. re: Whinerdiner

                                                    Does anyone know, has there ever been a tie on Chopped?

                                                    Nah, they're not like Top Chef All Stars ...

                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                      yeah, i see what you're *trying* to do there ipse :) but Top Chef has never crowned co-champions.

                                                  2. I'm still waiting for Chopped Champion Madison Cowan to get his own show on FN. Saw some repeats of his victories last weekend. Cooking Talent + Charisma = D'uh, Winning.

                                                    11 Replies
                                                      1. re: NYCkaren

                                                        If only to listen to his voice!

                                                      2. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                        D'uh, Winning.

                                                        LOL! This will eventually become tiresome, but for now, it's still PDF (Pretty Damn Funny) - especially when you hear it in Charlie's voice.

                                                        1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                          yes! he's my favorite contestant EVER. that man's got some serious talent...and i'm not just talking about his cooking skills :)

                                                          1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                            No way, the guy can cook. First rule of the Food Network is that the mousse belongs in the hair and not in the blast chiller.

                                                            1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                              Charisma is interesting, isn't it? Can you imagine him in a homeless shelter? People would WANT to be there!

                                                                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                  TrishUn, isn't he special? What a guy. I've watched his win twice now with his daughter and sobbed both times. Yea, he's magical.

                                                                  1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                    Madison was a judge on "Extreme Chef: Mountain Chefs".....not that I WATCHED it or anything....

                                                                  2. I was really only paying attention to the cooking segments so I missed all the off-color remarks and etc. but what totally struck me was how freaking similarly they treated their dishes. I didn't see much diversity there: all four made (or planned to make, and didn't get it to the plate) liver on a brioche or poundcake crouton. There was more room than that for creatvity, though I do realize that a major time/ingredient constraint seems easier to me, watching, than to the chefs doing the cooking. Then they all did virtually the same dish with the pheasant and farro. It only really diverged at dessert. So yes; maybe boring is the word. I hope it gets a little more interesting.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: mamachef

                                                                      How else would you use pound cake with liver (and a bitter vegetable on the side). You've had a week to think about this. Surely you have come up with something creative. :)

                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                        turn the pound cake into crumbs, combine it with panko. slice the kerala into thick strips. batter, crust & fry the kerala....and turn the liver into a dip to serve with the fried kerala.

                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                          My first thought was to make 1-inch croutons out of both the liver and the poundcake and use them to garnish a salad dressed in a mango vinaigrette, with a dusting of the bottarga. The veg could've been incorporated into that. It wasn't a criticism of their abilities or recipes though; i was just dismayed that it came off as a little contrived - but that's not the chefs' fault, it's the show's. I also was trying to figure out something like a poundcake/liver panini.