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Special Contestants: All Stars and Firefighters and Lunch Ladies, Oh My!

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Did your favorite celebrity chef use too much truffle oil to win the $50,000 for the charity of her choice?

Did the hunky fireman's cranberry-jalapeno sauce doom his tiramisu?

What did that sweet lunch lady do with the hot dogs, chocolate peanut butter, canned asparagus, and pink lemonade mix? 

 

Discuss the special category contestants here.

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OK, I hate hate hate theme episodes of any kind and quad hate hero/saint shows like firefighters, moms, and school employees the most. 

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Veterans are re-running right now. That one I didn't mind so much as those guys and the girl have done a helluva lot to earn our respect already. :)

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I hate teen challenges. I like teenagers, but I hate teen challenges. Why are you doing this to me, Chopped?

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Oh my gosh I don't mind a teen show here and there (except when the teens are obnoxious) but really?  Several episodes of them in a row?  NO THANK YOU!

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I actually kind of like the teen chefs. FN has found some pretty talented kids for the episodes I've seen. In addition, teen chef episodes tend to be more upbeat. I guess the kids haven't experienced enough to have sob stories for the production crew to browbeat out of them.

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I don't like children and am not interested in watching teenagers cook.  Are all the new episodes for the rest of the summer part of this teen tournament?

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I don't like children and am not interested in watching teenagers cook.  Are all the new episodes for the rest of the summer part of this teen tournament?

 

I understood that it would only be five episodes. And Chopped runs weirdly, which means there could be five episodes in five weeks with another "season" happening concurrently, or it could be five episodes in three weeks, or who the hell knows?

 

If anyone does know, btw, feel free to share.

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The tournament rounds are always one a week, so it should run for 5 weeks.  They almost always run outside the normal Chopped slot as part of the rotating specials (FNS, Worst Cooks, Rachel vs Guy, etc) so it will probably take one of those slots on Sundays or Mondays.

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I understood that it would only be five episodes. And Chopped runs weirdly, which means there could be five episodes in five weeks with another "season" happening concurrently, or it could be five episodes in three weeks, or who the hell knows?

If anyone does know, btw, feel free to share.

 

 

According to their site, they'll be airing one tournament episode a week from July 15 through Aug. 12.  How many times per week it'll air is anybody's guess.

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Ugh.  Not that the FN site is all that easy to navigate, but it looks like the endless teen tournament will be followed by an "Ultimate tournament" pitting amateurs and heroes and celebrities and other people who can't cook for another tourney round after the kiddie shows.  So, looks like summer off for Chopped, if new episodes featuring at least marginally skilled people who are judged strictly by what's on the plate rather than by their station in life is what you'd like to tune in to see.

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Let's put the Teen Tournament posts in this thread, okay? \

 

Also, I am going to be away for a few days. The awesome @radishcake will be around if you need to contact a mod for any reason between now and the 18th. Otherwise, keep snarking away, try not to use too much truffle oil with your canned asparagus and cheetos, and have a great week!

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canned asparagus and cheetos

Also in your basket: gluten-free haggis and marshmallow vodka. I want perfect unity while distinctly tasting all of the ingredients. /alexface

radishcake is a perfect Chopped name...

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Jeez, I'd forgotten how much teen winner Mikey annoys me.  And I want to like him, because good on anyone being that comfortable with themselves at 14, let alone someone who doesn't fit the popular mold.  But, no.

 

Oh my god, now it's Hunter.  No freakin' way I'm living through that again.

Edited by Bastet

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It looks like the rest of July into August is a Chopped-free zone for me, unless they pull some old episodes they haven't blown out by now by overplaying them to rerun during the day.  Because I have two 12-inch spikes under glass marked "Break here in case of emergency", ready to plunge into my eyes in case I should ever get the notion that watching teenagers on TV might be a good idea.

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Oh my god, now it's Hunter.  No freakin' way I'm living through that again.

 

I sort of watched the first two reruns with teens.  I really didn't mind Mikey all that much considering his age.  But Hunter?  No way.  As soon as I saw his face, I hit Mute and went off to read a book.  Even Tryg didn't annoy me as much as Hunter did on Rachael vs. Guy and then Chopped. 

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The only redeeming factor in Hunter's round was that every kid got some type of scholarship. I don't think they'll be able to do that with all 16 of the kids in the upcoming tournament. The final four, maybe, but not all of them. FN is too cheap. If that guy who was a judge didn't start crying and getting emotional at the end, and was probably the one funding the extra money, those three would have walked away with nothing except a Chopped jacket.

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The only redeeming factor in Hunter's round was that every kid got some type of scholarship. I don't think they'll be able to do that with all 16 of the kids in the upcoming tournament. The final four, maybe, but not all of them. FN is too cheap. If that guy who was a judge didn't start crying and getting emotional at the end, and was probably the one funding the extra money, those three would have walked away with nothing except a Chopped jacket.

I don't get that. One of their major sponsors is a cooking school. It would cost them exactly nothing to cut a deal with that school for free classes in return for advertising (where by advertising I mean "mentioning the prize on the air").

Edited by Julia

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I don't get their way of thinking either, Julia. It seems to depend on whether or not the guest judge or whoever offers to give them something for nothing. FN being under no obligation to mention their name, etc.

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Well that was...*sighs* Where did it go so wrong for this show? If this first wave of teens is any indication for what's to come, I just won't be able to make it to the end. The ingredients are rarely interesting, or imo hard to handle, and the kids just...grate on so many nerves.

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I enjoyed the first round although I wanted Jay to win.  The 14 y/o who did win was very cute but he seemed rather smug and entitled.  I got a kick out of Ashley too.  She reminded me of someone very strongly but I couldn't figure out who.

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When I turned this on and saw two females vs. two guys, I knew the girls would be chopped first. That seems to be routine on this show, whether it's teens, all-stars or regular competitors.

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For whatever reason, my DVR didn't record this episode. I don't think I'm missing anything.

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I wanted Jay to win as well. To me, he made less mistakes. And transformed the ingredients better than anyone else. The other kid left the skin on the fish, his hash didn't look like he did much to the french fries or green beans at all. I don't even remember his appetizer, but I know he left too much fat on the lamb. He did nothing to the sundae, and snobbishly said he didn't need to because he thought he had this in the bag.

Ashley reminded me a little of a young Alicia Silverstone. Cute, sashayed her hands all over the place. :) Amazing that she cooks dinner for her family every night, her mom must be thrilled.

Also, every time Ted now says "Be well" I feel like I'm in Walgreens. :)

Edited by cooksdelight

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Right after Hunter was Tryg. It's like FN didn't want us to have an enjoyable Saturday night.

 

For some reason, the show that was labeled as the first episode in Teen Tournament on my DVR (in the normal Tuesday night slot for new episodes) ended up being a "redemption" episode with Tryg. Was it a repeat? I assume so, but for some reason didn't remember it, so I watched it. Glad Sammy Davis Jr. won instead of Tryg. 

 

I'm not super looking forward to the teens, but I just like to have Chopped on while I cook dinner or eat, so as long as I haven't seen it before, I'll watch pretty much any episode. /addict

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Yes, that episode was a repeat. It was the second time Tryg appeared. Tryg was insufferable in his first time around when he lost, thankfully. He said he was going to try to be more humble this time around in the redemption, but I didn't see much. I like Sammy, would enjoy seeing him again.

The teen tournament episode came on at 10, the regular time for me on the east coast.

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I just got around to watching the Teen tournament. I was excited about it at first because I thought I'd be getting a break from idiotic sob stories and shownanigans.

 

Nope.

 

First episode was a standard episode of Chopped. Our constestants:

  • Loopy girl.
  • Openly gay minority boy.
  • Young cocky upstart.
  • Serious food blogger.

 

They got a 30 min appi round. They had insanely easy baskets with no real curveball ingredients. That dessert basket was a joke. The whole episode felt very flat to me and I didn't really care who won or lost. In fact, I read 2 chapters from my bedtime book and almost missed who won. They gave the win to the smug upstart whom I didn't like and sent the openly gay boy home. Whoop de whoop.

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OK, I'm just going to say it. This was the Weird Bunch.

Mikayla seemed slow to me, something just wasn't all there with that girl. The boy who got chopped next, he didn't seem too quick either. I sort of figured it would come down to Lucy and Dante, because they seemed to have the most cooking knowledge. Especially Dante, having a guy mentor him and teach him one-on-one.

Wasn't impressed with any of the baskets, as they seem to keep throwing the teens softballs.

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Mikayla looked like she may have had some sort of health condition. Something was off, but I was impressed with her shrimp cleaning. Tweezahs, please!

 

Gnocchi Boy...well, I think that he got ahead of himself. If he hadn't have screwed up those frog's legs, I think he could have taken Dante out. Dante's dish was safe.

 

Lucy's entree was whack. Frog bones in the pasta. What the freakin' hell? C'mon girl, get your head in the game. I knew she was going to make it to the dessert round though. The spooky, kooky ones usually do.

 

Dante was the clear shoo-in. Mentor, Daddy issues, Mommy worship, giving God the glory...plus he had the stankiest stank face evah! during the judging sessions.

 

I'm sorry to say that Chopped teens has been lackluster so far. The baskets are far too soft for my tastes. Especially the dessert baskets. Last week they had rice puff treats, this week cookies. Next week they'll probably have ice cream and the week after that graham crackers or pudding cups. All of the stuff is like 101, maybe 102.

 

I also don't like how the judges treat them like special snowflakes that are going to melt if they apply too much heat to them. Why praise mediocrity just because the person is a "kid"? Sure, if the kid is crying like Makayla, go easy. But there isn't any reason why they can't lay into cocky smugsters like Dante and the kid who won last week, imho.

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Last week they had rice puff treats

And that ready-made sundae. Which the winner thought he didn't need to bother transforming in any way since he had it won already.

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Yeah, I was thinking had this been the regular show, the B&W cookie would've been in the entree round and the bok choy would've been with dessert.

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I've been liking the teen version so far and I guess I'm in the minority that felt that they didn't give them much slack during the rounds. What 16 year old knows anything about frog's legs. I'm in my 20's and I have never had them.

 

Also so far none of the competers have been annoying and aragent which I like. They all seem to care about cooking and are out to prove it to themselves and learn from the experience. None of them were already thinking they are best ever.

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I agree that frogs legs can be a tricky ingredient, but usually with the regular competition (I'm not looking at a list of ingredients by round all-time  to cross reference, so anecdotal response warning!) the rounds have both a not-the-easiest-to-use ingredient, be it due to rarity/lack of familiarity or just difficult to "transform" effectively, as well as a "doesn't really fit with the course" ingredient, ie candy in the appetizer round, meat in dessert,  whathaveyou.

 

The teen competition has been lacking the latter. So, sure, not everyone knows how to cook frogs legs properly, but they also had a cookie in the dessert round, not, like....beef jerky. They've got no second ruffle and that makes it significantly easier.

Edited by theatremouse
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The dessert baskets are what have been making it hard to watch for me. Cookies, rice puff treats, frozen yogurt sundaes...c'mon, those are easy-cheesy. I'd venture to guess that the kids on Rach and Guy's Cook-Off (who are all younger than the contestants we've had so far on Chopped:Teens) will be getting more complex ingredients to work with in their challenges. I'm not against the ingredients themselves, I just don't think that they belong in a dessert round basket UNLESS they are paired with either rare curveball ingredient that no one will recognize like strange fruits or foreign items  or something that doesn't fit at all like hot sauce, strong herbs, beans, stinky cheese, etc.

 

I also think that since they are getting an extra 10 min for appis, those baskets should be a bit more challenging as well. I'd like to see some dessert items in those baskets, perhaps some everyday items that the kids may be familiar with that would have to be transformed ie pbj sandwich, cheetos, ramen, spaghetti sauce, etc. The french fries in the first episode were a nod to this, but none of the kids excuted them well.

 

I'm just going to say this because it has been bothering me:

Lucy should have won the last episode. I feel like Dante was handed the win because his sob story was more convincing. I know he works one-on-one with a chef mentor and all that jazz, but if this were an actual episode of Chopped and not an episode during a VSE competition series, she would have won for her creativity. I know that I personally would rather watch someone who is creative and having fun in the kitchen over a self-promoting sourpuss any day of the week. I've seen professional chefs that screwed up worse than Lucy who went on to win. Most recently, that kooky lady who was going to use her money to teach troubled youth how to bake bread.

 

I had some notions of this last week up until Jay got chopped over kid-that-won. So which is it show: best sob story or best self-promotional tactics? Most deserving or most watchable? Since they are handing out scholarships, I think that they should limit the contestant pool to charity cases and serious competitors if it is truly about who is most deserving OR ditch the scholarship component if the winners are going to be determined by criteria other than financial need and merit.

 

If the competition is about "Passion is all it takes; anyone can win." then the show should reflect that by dividing the contestants into categories, imo. Serious chef kids who are in vocational programs on one episode, charity cases on another episode, food-passionate kids who aren't training to be chefs on another episode, and a wildcard episode for everyone who doesn't fit into the other categories. Maybe even let the viewers vote for the 16 kids who would get an opportunity to compete, or at least who would get to appear on the wildcards show.

 

I want to like this competition, I really do. But I can't if it keeps on like it is now. I think that it is far more fakeality than genuine and that Chopped could do more to improve this concept in the future. Because I for one am not interested in hearing teenagers' sob stories any more than I am adults'.

 

/rant over.

Edited by auntie thesis
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I think when Lucy left the frog leg bones in a pasta dish, she sunk her own ship all by herself. I agree she was creative, but that was a bonehead mistake. Pun intended. :)

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I thought the appetizer basket was so pointed in one direction, they might as well have put a recipe in the basket. I'm kind of astounded that nobody went with the obvious. Jumbo shrimp, chunky peanut butter, jalapenos and sticky rice = some kind of Thai spicy shrimp dish with a peanut sauce. I don't cook & even I could see it, every ingredient was there.

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Me too, GaT. I immediately thought of putting those shrimp on skewers with some spice rub, grill them briefly, then make a satay sauce with the rest. Since they had 30 minutes, one could have mixed that sticky rice in with some wild rice from the pantry.

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Me too, GaT. I immediately thought of putting those shrimp on skewers with some spice rub, grill them briefly, then make a satay sauce with the rest. Since they had 30 minutes, one could have mixed that sticky rice in with some wild rice from the pantry.

Exactly, satay was the first thing I thought of. They could have even chopped up a little ginger, garlic, lemongrass if they had it & mixed it into the rice & made rice balls or patties out of it & served the skewers on top of it. 

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I feel like Dante was handed the win because his sob story was more convincing. I know he works one-on-one with a chef mentor and all that jazz, but if this were an actual episode of Chopped and not an episode during a VSE competition series, she would have won for her creativity. I know that I personally would rather watch someone who is creative and having fun in the kitchen over a self-promoting sourpuss any day of the week. I've seen professional chefs that screwed up worse than Lucy who went on to win.

I thought she lost for exactly two reasons: 1) bones in her entree; 2) her dessert was effectively all liquid, a sauce, a gel, a paste. There was no there there.

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I agree, I liked her a lot but thought her dessert just didn't work.  It seemed to me like she got too caught up in the "molecular gastronomy" concept and using unique ingredients. The individual sauces sounded good but to me the whole dessert just didn't look like...well...dessert. It looked like stuff that belonged on top of dessert.

 

I think the bones didn't help at all either.  Although, there was Alex's crunch I suppose...ha.

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That kid is lucky I'm not a judge, because I'd have voted him out just for his "God wants me to win" bullshit regardless of what he put on the plate.

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Bastet me too!  My husband barely pays attention to this show and that even caught his attention.  He said something along the lines of "what a selfish brat to think God cares how he does on a cooking show."  (for the record we're both pretty much agnostic, but we agree that if there's a God this is probably just about the least of the worries)

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That kid is lucky I'm not a judge, because I'd have voted him out just for his "God wants me to win" bullshit regardless of what he put on the plate.

Me, too! I really hoped Lucy would win, especially because she did not think she was divinely entitled and she was more creative.

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I wanted Lucy to win but I love girls who love science (BA in Chemistry here).  Also the God talk turned me right off.  Finally, I tend to root against the ones who basically attend cooking school as opposed to those who had to learn on their own.

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