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The Shows of 2015: More Indecipherable Seasonings

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We're not going to try to track this show's seasons in 2015 any more than we tracked them in 2014.

 

May we all have a sob-story-free 2015!

 

 

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May we all have a sob-story-free 2015!

 

 Unless Ted is somehow possessed by Mr. Roarke from Fantasy Island and grants us our wish, I don't think there's much chance of that happening.  It would be fun to so see Ted wave at the judges as he intones "Smiles, everyone. Smiles!" 

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Too late! The first show I'm watching right now has a former drug addict who was homeless with her kids and a guy who hasn't seen his father in a decade since his home country is too homophobic. 

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OK, see, that? Is what pisses me off about all this. Because I think all the sob stories are giving those judges who are less than heartwarming the opportunity to look sympathetic and improve their Q scores, and they're horribly clumsy about it. I don't think people should be driven to the point of mocking what may be genuine pain - and believe me, the relentless angst-pimping on this show affects me that way too - so someone out there might be incrementally more likely to think Geoffrey Zakarian or Scott Conant or Alex Guarnaschelli are overwhelmed with fellow-feeling for the contestants. Because, no, I really don't think they are.

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OK, see, that? Is what pisses me off about all this. Because I think all the sob stories are giving those judges who are less than heartwarming the opportunity to look sympathetic and improve their Q scores, and they're horribly clumsy about it. I don't think people should be driven to the point of mocking what may be genuine pain - and believe me, the relentless angst-pimping on this show affects me that way too - so someone out there might be incrementally more likely to think Geoffrey Zakarian or Scott Conant or Alex Guarnaschelli are overwhelmed with fellow-feeling for the contestants. Because, no, I really don't think they are.

Right. And when I feel sympathy for the contestants, it's not just for what they have gone through in the past. I feel sympathy for the fact that their personal tragedy or dilemma is being used in a manipulative and exploitative way on a tv show.

Also, It muddies the results. Did the winner really cook better? Or did the judges decide to give the money to the better sob story? Am I supposed to be rooting for the contestant who need the money for a family member's operation to win over the one who's going to use it for a cruise? I'm sorry that people have so much hardship, but how humiliating to go on a tv cooking show for a chance to overcome hardship, only to go h one broke because you did something like not use enough salt.

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I've always thought of myself as a bleeding heart, but I find, the more I watch these types of shows with their sob stories, and angst, and tragedies, my heart turns cold and dark and I just want to smack the person who keeps saying the same thing over and over over again about why they are on Chopped and how they got to America.

 

The one that sticks out for me, since I just watched it on demand was the woman from Thailand who came to America with "two suitcases and $70." It was the Food Truck Challenge. Every.Single.Sentence out of her mouth was "I came here with $70 and two suitcases" and I have to wonder if her food was really that good, or if by some hoodoo voodoo, she was made champion.

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I have to wonder if her food was really that good, or if by some hoodoo voodoo, she was made champion.

 

My personal prejudice is that all decisions on TFN are made based on who the people in charge think will be attractive to a group they can sell to advertisers, except for the few that are based on whose dinner parties they want to be invited to in the Hamptons.

Edited by Julia

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We're off to a great start!! Calf eyeballs in the basket and one of the chefs lost the sight in his eye and wants to win so he can get a cornea transplant. Bring it on!

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Guy - we dated one year.

Girl - we dated two years.

That guy was a dick. And did they date for one year or two? How can you be off an entire year!!!!!!!?????

I kind of love viewers choice.

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That guy was a dick.

 

Seriously.  And so were the editors, using presumably every piece of footage they had of her talking about their relationship versus just a couple of clips of him, plus that little "we dated for two years and remained friends" vs. "we dated for a year and then she annoyed me by having a [mind of her own]" juxtaposition.

 

I was never a regular viewer of this show - it has always been something I watched if it happened to be on while I was plopped in front of the TV - but I've become even less interested as time goes by because of the stupid storylines they insist on putting forward.  Battle of the Exes was a new low.

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This is a comment on the title, not the latest episode(s) because I haven't caught up yet, but the thread title implies there's a seasoning besides salt. Is that true?!?

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Guy - we dated one year.

Girl - we dated two years.

That guy was a dick. And did they date for one year or two? How can you be off an entire year!!!!!!!?????

 

 

Not only that, but what does how long they dated have to do with who cooks better?

 

Except for the dessert basket, the viewer's choices were pretty normal.

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Three chefs from Charleson, the one lone guy from Portland. How'd that happen? Oh wait...they had to get the ex's on the same show and have them together in the final round. Wonder if production asked one of them "Do you know Vandy from his restaurant down the street from yours?" when doing the preliminary interviews? Nahhh......

It's too bad the lady dropped her egg yolks, I love deviled eggs. But not sure I could stomach a pickled one. When Scott said he dreaded the eyeballs because they might squirt, I had to look away and go to my happy place.

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Once Vandy said, "We were together until I couldn't take it anymore," I knew I wanted to see him go down. Based on the looks he was giving her the whole time, I also knew there would be no voluntary hug or high five at the end of the dessert round. And sure enough. What an uncomfortable show.

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Too bad for the other two chefs, since there was no way the Exes weren't going to be in the final.  My only surprise was that they gave it to Cyclops after he completely blew the dessert round and skated through the first by serving Essence of Eyeball. 

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How on earth did someone that served over cooked pasta to Scott Conant win Chopped?

 

When Chef Vandy talked about how he was an all-conference lacrosse player back in the day, I thought, "Please don't tell me he then got hit by a car, lost a leg, started drinking, his wife left him,  and his dog died. However he was saved by cooking and now needs to win Chopped to prove his self worth."

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I didn't see the new episode in the same way as anyone else here apparently.  I didn't think Vandy was any more arrogant than a good many of the chefs that compete and a lot less so than many of them and I thought his reason for being there (money for a cornea transplant) was legit, not a sob story.  I thought the ex girlfriend whose name I can't recall right now was probably the kind of woman who is hell on wheels in real life.  I also suspected that she's probably not that great a chef based on her background story. 

 

I thought the soup made with a (gag) calf's eyeball was the only appetizer that seemed remotely palatable.  That seemed like a good decision, not a cop out. 

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I didn't think Vandy was any more arrogant than a good many of the chefs that compete and a lot less so than many of them and I thought his reason for being there (money for a cornea transplant) was legit, not a sob story.

 

It wasn't his arrogance level that bothered me. I just wish he had been a little more gracious. I get that people are bitter after break-ups. But, saying they were together until he couldn't take it anymore just seemed kind of mean. She's saying they're cooking careers got in the way and that he was a good guy... and he takes a shot. Just sayin'

 

I figured the two of them would be in the final as soon as Ted said they were exes. In any other circumstance Vandy's overcooked pasta would have gotten him the boot.  

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Not only that, but what does how long they dated have to do with who cooks better?

 

Except for the dessert basket, the viewer's choices were pretty normal.

 

Yeah I agree. I was irritated by the focus on their ex-relationship but I knew it was going to be a focus as soon as it was revealed on the show.

 

I thought the baskets seemed pretty decent too. Well except for maybe the eyeball and the pizza. I've never had beef tongue but I know people like it generally, and the other ingredients to go along with it seemed good. I thought the use of the mac and cheese was mostly pretty creative. It would've been cool if one of them used that powdered cheese packet that generally comes with the pasta somehow.

 

I don't get how Vandy won when he served overcooked and untransformed pasta, and then one of the worst desserts they've ever had (paraphrasing). Maybe they were just so grateful for not having to bite into an eyeball in the first round that it got him the win.

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I'm sure the producers think it's a fun "schtick" that will appear to the viewers, to have an ex-couple or whatever other connections on an ep of Chopped but I find it so irritating because 9.5 times out of 10, the other two contestants will immediately be eliminated even if their dishes are clearly superior. I get that afro guy's pasta was under, but I still have a hard time believing the judges found that more odious than overcooked Kraft noodles, which are seriously gross when they're overdone.

 

I bet the highly colorful retrospective of the ex-couple's relationship will be highly entertaining to their family and friends.

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  ..was that they gave it to Cyclops

I'm going to hell but I laughed and I laughed and then laughed some more. You win my internet today...thanks I needed that.

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After the first basket with eyeballs, the second basket with tongue, we were shocked that the final basket did not include cow testicles or some other disgusting ingredient.

We figured something was screwy after the first round, when afroman was booted, most likely to push the upcoming battle of the exes showdown. Before the commercial break, we figured he was the only safe one, but I guess he didn't fit into the preordained finale.

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"I won my new eyeball cooking eyeballs on Chopped!"  doesn't have quite the ring of "I won my choppers on Chopped!", but it will do.  (I'm going to hell, too.)

 

I still don't think the sob stories themselves are influencing the outcomes, but there seems to be a disturbing new trend in setting up rivalries that do.  If brothers are both on the show, guess what, they end up in the finals.  Now we have a couple of exes.  Me not like.

Edited by backgroundnoise
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They will also bring in a group of chefs at the same time, from the same city. I remember a Vegas competition, they knew each other. And of course they are competitors outside of the Chopped arena, for their own businesses. I'm watching some old first season episodes and it's like a breath of fresh air.

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A show with 4 contestants from Cincinnati or whatever would be fine, and might be interesting, but all these shows where 2 of the 4 know each other are totally lame. I can only think of 1 occasion (brothers, maybe?) where the 2 that knew each other didn't end up in the final.

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"I won my new eyeball cooking eyeballs on Chopped!"  doesn't have quite the ring of "I won my choppers on Chopped!", but it will do.  (I'm going to hell, too.)

 

I still don't think the sob stories themselves are influencing the outcomes, but there seems to be a disturbing new trend in setting up rivalries that do.  If brothers are both on the show, guess what, they end up in the finals.  Now we have a couple of exes.  Me not like.

 

haha yeah, it'll work. (save me a seat on the hell bus?)

 

Yes the rivalry trend does seem to be ramping up quite a bit. I know they've done it a few times before so hopefully it's not going to evolve into an every episode thing. I'm finding myself wishing they'd switch to more of a blind tasting format, similar to "The Taste."  I realize that's probably not completely blind either, but at least it's closer. Somehow I don't think it would've been ex-vs-ex in this one if the tasting were blind.

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They will also bring in a group of chefs at the same time, from the same city. I remember a Vegas competition, they knew each other. And of course they are competitors outside of the Chopped arena, for their own businesses. I'm watching some old first season episodes and it's like a breath of fresh air.

 

That's better than drawing from the same old tired New York/New Jersey/Connecticut backyard.

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When Scott said he dreaded the eyeballs because they might squirt, I had to look away and go to my happy place. 

I am eternally grateful I was looking away when Ted announced the ingredients, as I've learned to keep my eyes averted until I know I won't be grossed out.  But when they started discussing the relative merits of cooking and eating eyeballs, I literally began to retch violently.  Had to FF through the rest of the round. 

 

I have no idea how the viewers make their choices.  Do the producers put out a list and people vote on them, or do people put out suggestions? 

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I still don't think the sob stories themselves are influencing the outcomes, but there seems to be a disturbing new trend in setting up rivalries that do.

 

The rivalries wouldn't be so bad if they could find groups of 4 so the endings wouldn't be so obvious -- 4 chefs from a city, 4 chefs who all used to work for the same chef, etc.

 

As for this week, it did crack me up that Vandy showed up with a sob story ("I need a cornea transplant!") but it basically got hijacked by the ex-girlfriend story.

 

Next time, I think Chopped can take that to the next level.  Chef Manwhore and three past conquests?  Some sort of love-quadrangle, with an ex-boyfriend and ex-girlfriend, with a second ex of each of the first pair as the other two competitors (it would end with either the main pair going head to head OR the other pair, with one of them suggesting a date at the end, since they haven't dated before!). 

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What I didn't get was how three chefs had to actually SERVE eyeballs, yet the eventual winner boiled the eyeballs to extract the flavor???? Really? How much "flavor" can you render out of cooking an eyeball?? And then the judges appreciated that he didn't include the actual eyeball in the dish!!!

I'm sorry, but based on previous episodes, that would have been considered a cop-out, avoiding the squickiest ingredient. For me he crossed the line between TRANSFORMING an ingredient and CONCEALING it.

I hated him when Ted asked Emily what she thought about facing off against an ex. She says "I think it will be fun" And he retorts " for once I agree with you". And he was a bitter jerk the rest of the episode. She displayed grace in an uncomfortable situation. He showed that he is not over her.

He overcooks pasta, makes a dessert that is called "horrifying", But what the hell, let's give him money for a new eyeball!!!

The way to get me to stop watching the show is this - show me a guy being a complete asshole, then have him win , defeating an ex-girlfriend.

Most infuriating episode ever!

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Guy - we dated one year.

Girl - we dated two years.

That guy was a dick. And did they date for one year or two? How can you be off an entire year!!!!!!!?????

I kind of love viewers choice.

I assumed this meant she was rounding up and he was rounding down.

 

I also thought they edited in the worst possible way to make her look like an ass. I thought he came across fine, or at least as fine as the average person on this show. They made her seem absolutely not over it, like they broke up five minutes ago. Whereas they edited it like he was going to try not to bring it up except she already did. I mean obviously, they were put on together so it would be brought up, but there was a conspicuously cut of him reacting to her telling the judges they dated (don't know if that were his actual reaction or spliced from some other moment), but they purposefully show his face which to me had a look that read like he wished she hadn't said what she said.

 

Knowing that they shoot the THs after the whole thing is over, his choosing to say "until he couldn't take it anymore", read more to me like he was super fed up with her after the show experience, not necessarily that he went in intending to badmouth her on TV. I mean, I'm not saying he's a saint, and I do think there's a lot to the edit, and she clearly gave them some ammo, but I thought she came across the worse of the two.

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I enjoyed this episode. The sob stories were kept to a minimum. Chef Emily really impressed me, and even though Chef Alouette didn't have the most imaginative dishes, it appeared she was very sound technically.

 

I would love to watch this episode with my grandmother. She's an old school Southern cook, the kind that throws pork/lard in everything. She would lose her mind at the concept of a soul food restaurant that doesn't serve meat. 

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I liked both desserts but I was happy that Emily won.  She was a lot more creative all the way through.  It doesn't have anything to do with her cooking but she was really cute - pretty eyes, nice complexion, pixie hairdo.  I thought she looked like she could play Peter Pan.

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I thought Chef Emily was way ahead of the other chefs, so I'm glad she won. I did not like the guy who got eliminated 2nd at all.

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I just couldn't get past them having Geoffrey, who to me seems to be the snobbiest of the snobs, judging a frugal meal.  Even when he talked about family meal for restaurant staff, I sensed distaste that he actually has to cook something for the riffraff.

 

You always know that when someone says, "It's going to be me and Chef X in the final round," they are so Chopped.

 

They really tried to bring out the sob stories, but they didn't work because neither of the cheftestants expressed any self-pity whatsoever.  So loved Emily's "life sucked, I got over it" attitude.

 

Funny how they immediately followed Alluette's "I'm making French toast because it's easy," with Ted's warning to provide innovation and transformation.  French toast and bread pudding need to be banned along with double dipping and sob stories.  Putting strawberries in a blender isn't transformation.  Emily pretty much wiped the floor with her competitors all three rounds, without a shred of arrogance.  Good win.

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Wait.  This show hasn't run out of actual working Chefs to put on yet?  I mean at this point I figure they've even been through the fry cooks at IHOP.


Wait.  This show hasn't run out of actual working Chefs to put on yet?  I mean at this point I figure they've even been through the fry cooks at IHOP.

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Instead of "bizarre foods", they should have just called this "foods you wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole". Lox ice cream? There wasn't a dish I would eat tonight.

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Ok, it was driving me crazy the entire episode. Who did the winning chef, Timothy, remind you of? I just couldn't come up with it.

Someone with grass for facial hair, obviously.

Not liking the episode, I almost turned it off after the guy cracked open the goat jaw.

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Instead of "bizarre foods", they should have just called this "foods you wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole". Lox ice cream? There wasn't a dish I would eat tonight.

 

Same here. Usually at least one thing looks good, but this episode everything just looked disgusting. And I was even hungry when I watched it... although after watching, not so much. Maybe that's what this episode was good for - appetite control.

Oh and I almost forgot my one question. How exactly does one get an "unlaid chicken egg"? 

 

I probably don't even want to know.

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Unaid eggs are what you find inside of hens after you slaughter them. My mother loves them, but they're hard to find these days. If you keep kosher, these egg yolks are considered meat and not pareve. My mother would put them in chicken soup.

I really enjoyed this episode. But I am an Andrew Zimmern fan, and try to taste as much of the stuff he's tried as possible - for somebody who lives in LA.

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Those little eggs are delicious too, I might add. They're in the bird's oviducts, prior to being shelled (the shell gland takes care of that). I'm an adventurous eater and didn't think those baskets were all that bizarre. I liked how Ted said that's all a matter of perspective. The Brits think we're crazy for eating peanut butter and jelly!

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Timothy reminds me of a guy I've seen around my neighborhood for many years, and I'm nearly convinced it was him on the show.  if so, that is really randomly cool to me.  I'm going to have to ask him the next time I see him wandering around my 'hood!

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Well, me with my squeamishness, as soon as I knew Andrew Zimmern would be a judge, I put the show on deep background.  I just can't, can't look at goat heads or lamb brains or beef testicles.  And I just felt sad that they had to kill a camel because they couldn't find anything else to eat, poor dears.  Just because all living creatures, including humans, are technically edible doesn't mean they all need to be eaten.

 

I suspected the explanation for the unlaid eggs given above, but was surprised it wasn't explained during the show.

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Well, me with my squeamishness, as soon as I knew Andrew Zimmern would be a judge, I put the show on deep background.  I just can't, can't look at goat heads or lamb brains or beef testicles.  And I just felt sad that they had to kill a camel because they couldn't find anything else to eat, poor dears.  Just because all living creatures, including humans, are technically edible doesn't mean they all need to be eaten.

 

I suspected the explanation for the unlaid eggs given above, but was surprised it wasn't explained during the show.

 

Yeah, I should've done the same but I guess I got a little fascinated.  I did feel like a major hypocrite though. I mean I'm going "aww you can't eat a poor camel" while contemplating what to make for dinner with the ground beef that was in my fridge (which I ended up not eating because I was so grossed out by the show, but that's beside the point). 

 

Same with the unlaid egg thing. I mean I pretty much figured that's where it came from, though thank you to those who were familiar with it and replied to confirm.  Here I was feeling all bad for the chickens, and yet I've got a rotisserie chicken in the fridge too. If they're going to be butchered for meat anyway I guess they might's well use the unlaid eggs. I doubt any chickens lose their lives solely for those eggs. Once I got over the ick factor and my own hypocrisy I realized that might be the only ingredient on the show I'm kind of curious to try, although I have no idea where I'd find them. Maybe the pink asparagus too.

 

I do personally draw the line at anything that's got a whole head in it though. I'm glad someone out there can and does use it, but yuck (did I mention that yes, I know I'm a hypocrite?).

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I do personally draw the line at anything that's got a whole head in it though. I'm glad someone out there can and does use it, but yuck (did I mention that yes, I know I'm a hypocrite?).

 

I felt the same way.   I didn't need to see that the goat has teeth and eyes. Yuk.

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