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Should Chopped chefs be disqualified for omitting an ingredient?

I mean, it's their show and they can do what they want, but if my armchair statistics are accurate, more often than not a chef that leaves out an ingredient will 1) not lose that round but will make the dessert round and 2) be Chopped because of their omission in the earlier round. I couldn't tell you who, but I think I have only seen one chef who managed to overcome such an obstacle to win the show.

If omitting an ingredient makes winning overall so unlikely, shouldn't omission be an automatic loss if their moving on takes a more possible win away from another chef?

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    1. Yes. It should be an automatic boot in my opinion. Otherwise, why require it?

      1. yes. and then you would need a tie-breaking method if two chefs both leave out ingredient(s).

        my reasoning is that the other chefs have made compromises in their dishes in order to incorporate all the mystery ingredients. whether they lost time cleaning the gritty shellfish, or screwed up their flavours by forcing the durian to work with the leftover tuna casserole, it almost always costs something to incorporate them all. the judging would no longer be on a level playing field.

        it would be different if they assigned point values for taste, creativity, and presentation. hypothetically, for example, you could take a calculated risk that the 100 points lost for omitting a disgusting ingredient might be made up by a hoped-for 150 points awarded for better taste resulting from not including that ingredient. but that's not how they set up the game.

        of course there's also the part where they say on every episode that "you must use every ingredient in some way".

        2 Replies
        1. re: ta0126

          I think it should be an automatic chop. The mystery basket contains: vanilla, chocolate chips, cinnamon, eggs, and sardines. Two chefs go nuts trying to incorporate the fish into some sort of dessert, while one chef just leaves it out. It's a pretty sure bet that the fish-less dessert is gonna taste better. It is too inconsistent for me.

          1. re: NonnieMuss

            Usually it's that they just didn't get it on the plate in the race to finish

        2. Yes, they should be chopped. Also, on another Chopped thread here a few people were of the opinion that some people leave a weird ingredient out on purpose knowing it's not an automatic disqualification. That thought had never entered my mind until then. So double yes.

          1. I think there are more egregious errors than leaving out an ingredient. If I had to choose between the person who cut themselves and left blood on the plate and the one who left out an ingredient I would chop the one who cut themselves.

            1 Reply
            1. re: foodieX2

              "I would chop the one who cut themselves."

              Ouch. Kinda like adding injury to.... injury '-D

            2. I like that it's not an automatic chop, but then it doesn't seem fair to bring it up at the final chop.

              I'd chop anyone who mentioned a dead relative, house in foreclosure, rare disease, bringing a picture of the dead relative, yada, yada.

              1. I watched an episode last night where the person was eliminated for obscuring the flavor of the ingredients, even though someone had ommitted an ingredient. The cardinal sin is first and foremost to obscure flavor (hiding it.. ). You need to allow the basket items to be the stars of the dish. If you miss one but the other three sing, that is better than hiding it and using things that are not in the basket as the focal points.

                1 Reply
                1. re: cwdonald

                  I think this is the main reason why omitting an ingredient isn't sin enough to immediately be sent home. Otherwise, than in the beginning everyone would sprinkle a tiny amount of every ingredient into a sauce so that at the very least they could insist that everything was in the sauce whether or not anyone could taste it.

                  I don't keep Chopped stats, but I do think I remember people who omitted ingredients winning. Particularly you'll have episodes where the "big bad mistakes" aren't even or limited to one person. One person will omit one ingredient from all plates, but another have all of the ingredients present but say have two missing on one plate.

                  I also think that because the judges are watching, there's room to differently pardon a missing ingredient. If a chef takes the time to prepare their durian sauce but it misses the plate due to time vs a chef who totally forgets an ingredient - it's reasonable to assess that differently.

                2. They should have to wrestle an alligator. It would add some excitement to a show whose premise gets tired after about 6 viewings.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: hal2010

                    I would prefer that it is a tournament rather than simply three folsk competing for 10k. Make it 100k... more like Top Chef. And get better quality chefs.

                    1. re: hal2010

                      My husband envisions an episode where they use that cleaver in the wooden pillar to actually chop a body part off the losing contestant. Unquestionably weird and demented, but funny as a speculation.

                    2. Yes, it should be an automatic elimination.

                      But I am so confused by the standards the judges use that I care very little if an ingredient is left out.

                      Some of the inconsistencies I have noted are: sometimes the five ingredients required must also be FEATURED, but sometimes not. Sometimes you can even work at covering them up and that is fine. But other times it is not.

                      Sometimes transforming the ingredients is important, but often transforming the ingredients is not. Thus, in some episodes, if you are given pepperoni, pizza dough, tomatoes, beef gravy, and chocolate, the fact that you made some kind of pizza is fine. Other judges say, "Well, obviously a pizza is suggested by the ingredients. So we will mark you down for creating pizza." (The chef who made a soup with dumplings wins.) Other times, the fact that the ingredients "suggest" making a particular item is irrelevant and not even mentioned by the judges.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: gfr1111

                        I think when the ingredient is one of those gross fake things they throw in to confuse the chefs they like them to hide it. Never heard them say "I really couldn't taste those Halloween candies in your sauce"

                        1. re: gfr1111

                          Yes, that happens all the time. It's not that the ingredients need to be prominent, they need to be used. If you simply sprinkle the crushed cookies on top, so be it. You run the risk of being chopped for it.
                          But there have been many time when the judges (que dramatic music!) berate the contestant because one particular ingredient was only lightly used. The "judging" is inconsistent.

                        2. Think about how predictable the show would be if they automatically booted a chef for omitting an ingredient.
                          This is tv, not reality.

                          1. "Using all five ingredients" is the first and primary rule to the "game".

                            Yes, It's only tv, and 'reality' tv to boot, but it bugs me so much when a contestant breaks the main rule, and does NOT get booted. That's almost like running a race and passing out before you cross the finish line, but being declared the winner because you tried the hardest and looked the best.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Midknight

                              Ultimately its about taste. We are sitting at home on the couch, we barely can see the dishes, and we never get to taste or smell anything.

                              Ultimately its about the taste of the dish.. we as specatators have no clue. Yes its subjective, but its really hard to criticize anything if you dont taste the food.

                              1. re: cwdonald

                                "Ultimately its about taste. We are sitting at home on the couch, we barely can see the dishes, and we never get to taste or smell anything."

                                Chopped is definitely a show that makes me yearn for the day of Taste-O-Vision.

                                Hurry up inventors!

                              2. re: Midknight

                                The result of a race is dichotomous- you finish, or you don't.
                                Preparing dishes on Chopped is multi-factorial, and obviously, based on many episodes, the "rule" that you must use all the ingredients isn't a hard and fast one.

                              3. A good dish minus a mystery ingredient trumps a bad dish IMO.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: scubadoo97

                                  I agree.
                                  Also, a contestant who makes it to the next round, even though they omitted an ingredient, has a really deep hole to dig out of.
                                  The odds are ever not in their favor.

                                  1. re: monavano

                                    Send 'Susie' an email. She'll have a good season I'm sure.
                                    I thought the show had been cancelled. Or was it some other FN show?

                                2. Absolutely. Dems da rules.

                                  1. Yes, absolutely. The same rules should apply to every contestant.

                                    1. I don't think the question is whether or not "chopping" is mandatory if a mystery ingredient is omitted. I think the question is whether it should be rule.
                                      As it stands now, it is not a rule, but a mitigating factor in the judge's decision making process.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: monavano

                                        I think this is a very important point. Ted says - whenever someone misses an ingredient that it's not an "immediate disqualification". That being said, I think that if it was - it opens the show to a lot of potentially bad television. The nature of the very tight time limits has meant over the years, many contestants have missed ingredients. You could easily have an episode where in one round two people miss an ingredient resulting in a bizarrely truncated episode. Or in the final round, missing an ingredients would essentially negate all of the final judging.

                                        An episode of Masterchef Australia was initially designed to consist of 3 rounds where after each round the best would be safe, and the worst would go to the next round. Each contestant was given one whole fish that was supposed to last through all 3 rounds in case one wasn't left safe. Well in the first round a woman decided to risk cooking her whole fish meaning that if she wasn't safe, she was going home and the whole challenge would end. I'm sure on the set that day, it made for interesting viewing - but as an episode of tv, as soon as you could tell that there wasn't really enough time to show other rounds, you knew exactly who was going home and why. Made for a terrible episode of tv.

                                        Perhaps making it an automatic chop would make it more fair, but it would make it less easy to control for reliable television.

                                        1. re: cresyd

                                          Exactly- it's not good television, so unwad the panties!