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Chefs cutting themselves (reality shows)

I know it makes for good drama, but I hate it when they show chefs cutting themselves on tv.

Without spoiling - a preview for next week's Top Chef's masters shows that a chef will be basically cutting the end of their thumb off. Gross. I don't want to see that and I don't want to hear about it.

Chopped is another show that tends to show the cut, or does not edit out shots of the chefs cooking with gloves and bloody fingers under them.

I am really squeamish when it comes to blood and other injuries and I'd rather not see it on tv. Thankfully I DVR TCM so I can fast forward past the grossness.

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  1. I personally dislike reality shows, but from what I've seen of them and what friends tells me, reality shows are nothing without the forced drama. Hence the blood.

    1. It may very well be played up for television but the reality is that professional chefs cut themselves all the time. Head into any kitchen and in addition to the first aid kit required by OSHA you will find various types of cut kits containing everything from finger cots to crazy glue.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Duppie

        "It may very well be played up for television but the reality is that professional chefs cut themselves all the time"

        That was my point. It's real and they choose to keep it in for the "drama" of it. They could choose to edit it out, but then what's the fun in that? :)

        1. re: ttoommyy

          I once sat through a class where the Chef broke down a whole lamb with 2 fingers on his right hand stuck into a cut off thumb of a latex glove wrapped in packing tape.He refused to prolong a Friday Class by raiding the first aid kit the next class over. Can't get much more real that that.

      2. Err, the thing is, we really do cut ourselves ALL the time. It just happens.

        1. god forbid reality tv attempt to show reality! ;-)

          7 Replies
          1. re: LurkerDan

            It's not just a TV thing or a drama thing. This sort of thing happens in real life too. Cuts - sometimes bad ones - and even worse injuries happen in professional kitchens all the time. Fast forwarding through the offending segments is the solution for those who can't handle the truth.

            I figure if the chefs who cut themselves can handle it, why shouldn't I be able to. It helps me to deal with the inevitable cuts and burns that happen to me as a cook.

            1. re: tangovoxtrot

              It can be a bit dramatic in real life as well, chefs tend cut themselves at the worst possible moments. The best of them just break out the bandages, crazy glue, masking tape, plastic wrap, finger cots or gloves and keep moving.

              After years of practicing knife skills, cuts decrease in number, but burning oneself goes on forever. Somehow you don't see that occur on TV.

              1. re: bushwickgirl

                chefs tend cut themselves at the worst possible moments. The best of them just break out the bandages, crazy glue, masking tape, plastic wrap, finger cots or gloves and keep moving.

                And then there are those like Jamie Lauren on Top Chef All-Stars who go to the hospital for 2 stitches and leaves her teammates in the lurch.

                Meanwhile, Carla Hall gets her finger bandaged and gets back to work.

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  Yup. I was appalled, woman up, Jamie. Carla was on.

                  I once sliced my little finger while wiping the oil off a just sharpened knife, wrapped it up and went for stitches after my shift. I'm tough, plus we were busy. ;)

                  In defense of Jamie, if there is one, not everyone responds the same way to an injury. She might not have reacted like that under less pressured circumstances.

                  1. re: bushwickgirl

                    If it was opening night at her restaurant I would bet the farm Jamie wouldn't have left to go to the hospital short of slicing an entire finger off.

                2. re: bushwickgirl

                  After years of practicing knife skills, cuts decrease in number, but burning oneself goes on forever. Somehow you don't see that occur on TV.
                  so true! i sustain burns more frequently than cuts, though fortunately neither happens that often...yet the only burn scenario i recall seeing on one of these shows was when Anne Burrell took an eyeful of hot spattering oil on Chopped Champions and toughed it out until the end.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    And that's a tough one to tough out. Amazingly not that painful, after the initial splat, but scary nevertheless and you can't see very well for a time. It certainly can do some damage.

                    I pray that your burns and cuts are reduced to nil, ghg.

            2. surely you're not a real chef until you've earned your tiger stripes (burned inside forearms).

              9 Replies
              1. re: smartie

                Well, not really, I got my first set in school removing veal shanks from a kicking oven but the rest I got from home cooking, A Shepard's Pie in a cast iron casserole was the worst and I assure you I'm no Chef.

                1. re: smartie

                  Happily, burn scars, even the bad second degree variety, fade over the years.

                  I was in a bar one night, with a 20 something female drinking next to me, and I happened to notice her inside forearms, heavily striped. I guess that she cooked for a living.

                  1. re: bushwickgirl

                    A couple weeks ago a friend asked me if I was a cutter, because of the striped scars on my forearm. I told them that they were my resume. There's also a bar in NYC that will give you a free beer if you show them your fresh cooking burns.

                    1. re: dontcallmethefword

                      Resume, that and dues. Years ago a friend on mine, upon looking at my badly striped arms told me to "be more careful." Right.

                      Ok, what bar would this be, as it's inevitable that I burn myself. It's a sort of perverse idea, a beer on the house for burns, but you might as well get something free for your pain.

                      1. re: bushwickgirl

                        I'm an amateur, but my forearms give me lots of cred.

                        I don't hurt myself very often, but when I do, it's a doozy, and will almost always be a new scar.

                      2. re: dontcallmethefword

                        I broke my elbow once and in the ER the young intern mistook my stripe scars for 'cutting', and the next thing I know, some psych intake nurse was down giving me a psych exam. I finally asked her what for, and she said the intern said I had scars from cutting - so I showed them to her, and told her they were burns from working in a kitchen. We had a good chuckle over that.

                          1. re: dontcallmethefword

                            I think I'm more than a little disturbed that someone with an alleged medical education can't tell the difference between the scar from a cut and the scar from a burn.

                            I can sorta see the misdirected logic, but most laymen can tell the difference between the mark left by a cut and the mark left by a scar. (here, look at my hands - I'll show you!)

                            1. re: sunshine842

                              Yes, that crossed my mind. Knowing first hand and very well the difference in appearance of cuts vs burns, I do believe it was the tendency by the ER staff to react rather than observe, in jeanmarieok's case. I have had some very thin partially healed burn lines that could have masqueraded as a healing slice, if one did not look closely, but that's not generally the rule. Cutters sometimes burn themselves as well, sadly; perhaps the medical staff was erring on the side of caution.

                              How did we get onto the burn subject anyway? It takes me back to a somewhat darker place. The worst for me as far as suffering went was the J-shaped burn on my chin, don't ask, wrong place, wrong time, faulty equipment. Took months to fade and I had to fend off lots of questions.

                  2. I do not mind the cuts but have a very diffcult time when they then serve the dish. I was watching Chopped and the chef put his fingers in a spinning blender, and the tip nicked the blade. And he served the sauce (one of the judges asked if he lost the tip). On with the plastic glove. But there was one episode where the chef cut herself and did not put on a glove. The judges did not eat the dish.

                    For me, I found out te hard way that the orange glowing rod on the top of the oven are really hot, have plenty of scars from knives, picked up way too many hot pans and have poked myself on numerous occassions with skewers. I am better for all of these events.

                    1. I think they show this not just for the drama (though drama is key), but because it puts the chef at a disadvantage in completing the challenge, and how and if they choose to continue says something about them.

                      1. I'm surprised, with how quickly they use mandolines w/out handles, and how small the final piece is, that more don't slice their thumbs (speaking from personal experience).

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: chowser

                          The tendency to not use the mandoline guard in professional kitchens is common; I'm not sure why, I never used the guard either, and never cut myself on that tool. I keep my thumb out of the way, that's the most prone area for cuts. Chefs or cooks flat palm the last bit of veg. I don't suggest this gets tried at home, though.

                          1. re: bushwickgirl

                            I've seen them use the flat of their hands and thought that was an even bigger surface to slice. It amazes me how quickly they do it w/out injury. I don't like using a guard, either.

                            1. re: chowser

                              Somehow you're much less likely to cut the flat surface of you palm, as opposed to the tip of the thumb. The fingers are curved upward slightly as well, don't come near the blade, and you use the knuckle area of you palm to loosely cradle whatever you're slicing. A big part of not getting injured is paying close attention to what you're doing; a moment of distraction can result in stitches.

                              I want to say it's all in the wrist, but it's not. ;-)

                        2. So what you're saying is: 'I don't want a reality show to show us a significant event that happens while the contestants compete.'

                          1. Eh, it's just blood. And it's a real part of and a real challenge for anybody working in a commercial kitchen.

                            Different context, but my dad used to say "You're not really a carpenter 'til you run a finger through the saw. Run enough fingers through the saw? You're not a carpenter any more."