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Chopped 2019: Put Down the Chopsticks

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1 hour ago, xaxat said:

I laughed when Ted fessed up to liking circus peanuts. If I had to bet on who it would be I would have picked Amanda as the culprit.

Good final two. And, unlike sometimes, when the judges have to engage in dramatic licence to imply a close  contest, these two really did seem to be closely matched through the show.

Blerg to circus peanuts.

I agree it was a good final two. I actually like all the contestants, though a smaller trowel with the eye makeup and fewer tattoos would have benefitted the woman, IMHO. The final two both seemed like really strong chefs.

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Dammit, now I’m craving circus peanuts.

I live in what seems like the tattoo and piercing motherland, so Carolina’s look was just, you know, Tuesday. I actually wished I had been able to see her tattoos better. I don’t have any myself but I like to see them when they’re good. 

Septum piercings, though: I just can’t get used to those. It always looks to me like the person needs a tissue. 

I loved that Claude actually managed to tie the whole meal together with a common thread. He seemed so passionate about his cooking. I actually wish I could have tasted everything, even the rice pudding (and I hate rice pudding).

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Regarding the dollar dish challenge:  I guess it's someone's idea of cooking on the cheap, but not mine.  When you say that you're making an appetizer with ingredients that (they said) cost ten bucks, and on top of that you go to the pantry and fridge and pull out everything else you want, it's not a dollar dish.  And it's just an appetizer, never mind the rest of the meal.  The entree was eleven dollars.  Before they went to the pantry.  The dessert basket was six dollars.  Before they went to the pantry.  So the entire meal was $27 for four plates.  This "budget" meal over a month would cost $810 in groceries, not counting all the add-ons and staples.  And that's just one meal a day.  

Alex called out one of the cheftestants for adding high cost ingredients.  Perhaps those items should have been removed from the pantry.

Melissa D'Obnoxious used to do a similar thing on her show--supposedly make a meal for ten bucks but forget to include the shelf staples in the cost.

Some damn day they'll put two ice cream machines in the Chopped kitchen and skip the drama.  Maybe they can use the money they saved on ingredients.  Figgy should not have had to scrub out red slop before she could make her ice cream.  

I will say it was one of the most refreshingly drama-free, sob story-free episodes they've had.

Edited by meowmommy
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I have to agree about the added ingredients but I really enjoyed the episode.  All four chefs were pleasant and I would have been happy with either of the final two winning.  No Martha either.  🙂

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I agree. I liked all the chefs in this episode. I wonder if FN will be tapping the winner on the shoulder for some work in the future. Not sure why I thought that--I just got the vibe that she might fit in somewhere.

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I saw an interview with Ted not long ago, and he was asked if they'd ever get a second ice cream machine.  The answer?  "Nope!"  Makes no sense to me.  Tellingly, the Canadian version of this show had two 😉

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$10 dish challenge has been done on Top Chef, that’s where they got the idea. They should have closed off the pantry and made them work with just what was in the basket.

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Just watched the pizza challenge. Enjoyed the camaraderie between the chefs, and thought John, the older guy, was the clear winner, but who knows.

I am glad the guy who was the Infomercial for his Amazing World Famous Gluten Free Dough didn’t win. 

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I hate the viewers choice episodes, they pick such stupid ingredients.

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On 4/23/2019 at 10:55 PM, GaT said:

I hate the viewers choice episodes, they pick such stupid ingredients.

You always know they're going to be as awful as possible.  I don't participate in the surveys, so how do they pick?  Is it just a compilation of random choices that people suggest, or do the producers give them a list of noxious ingredients to vote on?  If the latter, then it's not the viewers' fault.  And I always wonder about the wisdom of an episode where the audience who keeps a show alive is publicly castigated.

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I like all the chefs in this Viewer's Choice episode except the Greek guy, though, so there's that. Chef Z was beautiful and I would have been happy with either of the last two winning. Felt sorriest for the judges who had to eat the bizarre combos.

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People suggest ingredients then production picks what they want. In other words, they will amp up the gross and ugly to see what the chefs can come up with.

I miss this show as it used to be. Back when the judges didn’t take themselves so seriously, no chopsticks, no gimmicks or themes. The chefs that won in those days have gone on to create great things. The newbies with all the gimmicks... not so much.

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11 hours ago, cooksdelight said:

I miss this show as it used to be. Back when the judges didn’t take themselves so seriously, no chopsticks, no gimmicks or themes.

Other than some pretentious convicted felons using chopsticks, I honestly think overall, the judges take themselves less seriously than they used to.  Alex was a walking stinkeye, Geoffrey was a snobby spice-o-phobe, Scott was of course in mortal rage over a red onion.  Most of the judges, most of the time, were downright unpleasant.  You would have thought they were judging the Nuremberg trials.  Some of them still have their grumpy quirks, but mostly they're not as nasty as they used to be.

I agree that it's not the show it used to be.  We lost a lot when they decided to run more commercials and more talking heads and eliminate showing the judging after each round.  We lost a lot when every show featured a gimmick instead of showcasing chefs' creativity.  I couldn't tell you any of the Chopped Champions winners for the past several years.  We'll probably never have anything like the Madison vs. Lance showdown, or a Lance vs. Yoanne demonstration of humanity.  We don't need grandma competitions, or kids, or D-list celebrities.  We need interesting baskets, talented chefs, and meaningful prizes.

The evidence that nobody cares is right here.  We have just over 60 posts in four months, when talking about every Chopped challenge used to be a Wednesday morning ritual.  Half the time I'll skip the show completely, or FF from the entree round right to the last cheftestant walking down the hall of shame after dessert.

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I’m not here as much because I hate this new format. I liked seeing which thread was most recently posted to when I see my show list. A lot of shows are gone entirely, others are squished into one thread and all the other topics were deleted.

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The Viewers Choice episode is being re-run right now, but I peaced out after the intro segments when one chef proclaimed himself the "dictator" of his kitchen and bragged about having a "Wall of Tears" (or similar) where he posted the names of anyone who cried.  WTF?  If dictator is your preferred style of leadership, get stuffed, and if employees crying for reasons other than they found out on the job their mom died is enough of an occurrence you can keep track, go find a fire and die in it.  I thought of hanging around in the hopes he got his ass handed to him, but decided I didn't want to waste a minute of my life on him. 

Did he lose?  Preferably knocked out in the first round in spectacular fashion?

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On 4/27/2019 at 2:05 AM, meowmommy said:

Other than some pretentious convicted felons using chopsticks, I honestly think overall, the judges take themselves less seriously than they used to.  Alex was a walking stinkeye, Geoffrey was a snobby spice-o-phobe, Scott was of course in mortal rage over a red onion.  Most of the judges, most of the time, were downright unpleasant.  You would have thought they were judging the Nuremberg trials.  Some of them still have their grumpy quirks, but mostly they're not as nasty as they used to be.

I agree that it's not the show it used to be.  We lost a lot when they decided to run more commercials and more talking heads and eliminate showing the judging after each round.  We lost a lot when every show featured a gimmick instead of showcasing chefs' creativity.  I couldn't tell you any of the Chopped Champions winners for the past several years.  We'll probably never have anything like the Madison vs. Lance showdown, or a Lance vs. Yoanne demonstration of humanity.  We don't need grandma competitions, or kids, or D-list celebrities.  We need interesting baskets, talented chefs, and meaningful prizes.

The evidence that nobody cares is right here.  We have just over 60 posts in four months, when talking about every Chopped challenge used to be a Wednesday morning ritual.  Half the time I'll skip the show completely, or FF from the entree round right to the last cheftestant walking down the hall of shame after dessert.

IMO, probably the biggest thing that helped get the judges to lighten up a bit was having them compete.  Prior to that they sat there in judgement without really knowing what it was like to stand under studio lights with a camera always in your face, a short countdown clock, and judges yelling for you to put something on the plate.  And these are people used to being on camera, so imagine if this was your first time on national TV.  Yes, I realize quite a few of them have competed on Iron Chef America, including as Iron Chefs, and Maneet competed on a season of Next Iron Chef, but even the ICs have said appearing on Chopped is a completely different experience.

I'll add that I agree with the need for "meaningful prizes."  They need to increase the $10,000 prize, especially since a chunk of it is going straight to the taxman.  But I'm not sure if adding things like kitchen equipment would be a good idea, because the taxes on those would be the responsibility of the contestant and if they can't/won't pay them they would have to forfeit the prize.  Just ask anybody who has won prizes on a TV game show, or recall the debacle that resulted from Oprah's car giveaway way back when.

Edited by letusprocrastinate
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On 5/3/2019 at 12:08 AM, Bastet said:

The Viewers Choice episode is being re-run right now, but I peaced out after the intro segments when one chef proclaimed himself the "dictator" of his kitchen and bragged about having a "Wall of Tears" (or similar) where he posted the names of anyone who cried.  WTF?  If dictator is your preferred style of leadership, get stuffed, and if employees crying for reasons other than they found out on the job their mom died is enough of an occurrence you can keep track, go find a fire and die in it.  I thought of hanging around in the hopes he got his ass handed to him, but decided I didn't want to waste a minute of my life on him. 

Did he lose?  Preferably knocked out in the first round in spectacular fashion?

Yay for On Demand!

He owns a Greek restaurant in CT.

He was knocked out in the 2nd round.  His first round appetizer was received lukewarmly by the judges but it was enough to get him through.  In the 2nd round (bitter melon, raspberry vinaigrette, generic Hamburger Helper, and Balut), his pork and Balut meatballs were well-received but his mac and cheese was "flat", he paired bitter melon with bitter greens in a salad without something to balance out the intense flavors, and he made pasta in the first round as well, so buh-bye. 

The bald guy with the beard also committed sins with the bitter melon (it was too bitter, especially being combined with raw onion in the dish) but the judges decided that overall he sinned less.  He wound up winning the episode.

Edited by letusprocrastinate

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5 hours ago, letusprocrastinate said:

I'll add that I agree with the need for "meaningful prizes."  They need to increase the $10,000 prize, especially since a chunk of it is going straight to the taxman.

Not only that, but contestants have to pay their own airfare and hotel, transportation around town, meals, etc. I’ve heard that personally from three different chefs.

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20 minutes ago, cooksdelight said:

Not only that, but contestants have to pay their own airfare and hotel, transportation around town, meals, etc. I’ve heard that personally from three different chefs.

I had heard that once too; thanks for the confirmation.

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1 hour ago, cooksdelight said:

Not only that, but contestants have to pay their own airfare and hotel, transportation around town, meals, etc. I’ve heard that personally from three different chefs.

Well, we know in general that FN is cheap as shit.  But how many sob stories have we heard about cheftestants who're two nickels away from bankruptcy or shuttering their restaurant?  That they would willingly blow a large wad of money that they likely don't have on a one-in-four shot at winning a prize that's then eaten up by taxes and travel expenses is just a head-scratcher.  They'd have better odds on a lottery ticket.

I sometimes wonder how much the judges are paid to sit there and eat.  

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I think it’s a case of them hoping this show leads to other shows. Many from Chopped have moved on to Next Food Network Star, Top Chef and other cooking competitions.

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On 5/2/2019 at 9:08 PM, Bastet said:

The Viewers Choice episode is being re-run right now, but I peaced out after the intro segments when one chef proclaimed himself the "dictator" of his kitchen and bragged about having a "Wall of Tears" (or similar) where he posted the names of anyone who cried.  WTF?  If dictator is your preferred style of leadership, get stuffed, and if employees crying for reasons other than they found out on the job their mom died is enough of an occurrence you can keep track, go find a fire and die in it.  I thought of hanging around in the hopes he got his ass handed to him, but decided I didn't want to waste a minute of my life on him. 

Did he lose?  Preferably knocked out in the first round in spectacular fashion?

I was hoping the same thing the first time this one aired. What a terrible way to present yourself. He really came across as odious. I was also hoping he would go out first and for some stupid mistake but as @letusprocrastinate said, at least he went out in the second round.

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On 5/5/2019 at 2:35 AM, cooksdelight said:

I think it’s a case of them hoping this show leads to other shows. Many from Chopped have moved on to Next Food Network Star, Top Chef and other cooking competitions.

Or simply notoriety for their restaurants.  That's a benefit that's measured in more butts in the seats, which is ultimately a better prize than the 10 grand.

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On 4/26/2019 at 11:05 PM, meowmommy said:

Alex was a walking stinkeye, Geoffrey was a snobby spice-o-phobe, Scott was of course in mortal rage over a red onion.  Most of the judges, most of the time, were downright unpleasant.  You would have thought they were judging the Nuremberg trials.  Some of them still have their grumpy quirks, but mostly they're not as nasty as they used to be.

I remember one time Geoffrey ripping into someone for calling the show "fun" and treating it as "serious cooking competition".

On 5/4/2019 at 6:38 PM, meowmommy said:

Well, we know in general that FN is cheap as shit.  But how many sob stories have we heard about cheftestants who're two nickels away from bankruptcy or shuttering their restaurant?  That they would willingly blow a large wad of money that they likely don't have on a one-in-four shot at winning a prize that's then eaten up by taxes and travel expenses is just a head-scratcher.  They'd have better odds on a lottery ticket.

I've heard from competitors that the sob story angles are sometimes played up by the producers, so they may not be in as dire financial straits as it seems. I've looked into it a little, and while I'm not a tax professional, it seems like Federal withholding are 25%. Plus New York State and their home state get cuts. So, $2500 Federal and $1500 for State withholding and $1000 travel would still end up making $5000. Note with the withholding, they might end up getting some of that back. Not great, but I can see why they would do it. Way better odds than the lottery. Also, I've gone to restaurants simply because I've seen them on the show. 

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1 hour ago, cooksdelight said:

NY doesn’t have the huge game show tax that CA does? CA gets half automatically. Ask Richard Hatch.

Game show winnings are taxed as ordinary income.  The highest marginal tax rate in California is 13.3%, and that's only for the amount of your taxable income above $1 million.

Edited by meowmommy
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4 minutes ago, cooksdelight said:

Nothing in there contradicts what I said.  

Quote

If you win money on a game show you do have to pay income tax on the winnings. On your tax return you would file game show winnings under Miscellaneous Income.

It's taxed as income.  States that assess income tax assess it the same as any other ordinary income.  It's just that if the prize is big enough, it can land you in a higher marginal tax bracket.  The marginal tax bracket, because the prize money is added to any other income you have, might cause your overall taxes to be higher than if you had no other income, but no state, including California, has a 50% marginal tax bracket. 

As I said, the highest marginal tax bracket in California is 13.3%, for single filers with over a million dollars in income, but even that tax rate is only applied to any income above $1M, while lower rates apply to the first million.

But yes, Chopped competitors should know what winning the prize would do to their tax status before they plunk down their own hard earned cash for a shot at it.

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LOL  That looked like it was actually filmed in the Chopped kitchen.  

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34 minutes ago, mlp said:

LOL  That looked like it was actually filmed in the Chopped kitchen.  

I believe it was.

Aidy Bryant's Alex was perfectly done.  And how adorable was that kitten?

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35 minutes ago, sharifa70 said:

Every time someone says “potato tots” I have a minor seizure.

I get an uncontrollable tic when I hear, “cream filled sponge cakes.”

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That's an interesting article about Chopped.  I can see what she means about some of it but I can't say I agree with her in large part.  I can't imagine how they could do that show in 30 minutes for example.  She's right that the format doesn't let you get to know the contestants but, having said that, I'm often surprised by how many of them I remember.

I'm trying to remember Elise whom she mentioned at the end.  The name rings a bell but I can't recall the episode.  I do remember the Thai woman because it turned out she was a complete phony.  

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8 hours ago, mlp said:

I'm trying to remember Elise whom she mentioned at the end.  The name rings a bell but I can't recall the episode.  I do remember the Thai woman because it turned out she was a complete phony.  

Really? Why was she a phony?

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I should have said that the way she presented herself on Chopped was phony.  She came across as a poor little immigrant who needed help when she already had a food truck and a thriving business in Portland or Seattle (can't remember) and, as I recall, she was smart and savvy and doing very well.  

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1 minute ago, mlp said:

I should have said that the way she presented herself on Chopped was phony.  She came across as a poor little immigrant who needed help when she already had a food truck and a thriving business in Portland or Seattle (can't remember) and, as I recall, she was smart and savvy and doing very well.  

Oh. I understand now. I googled her to see if I could do some detective work and couldn't find any dirt on her. The way you explained it makes sense. Thank you!

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15 hours ago, mlp said:

That's an interesting article about Chopped.  I can see what she means about some of it but I can't say I agree with her in large part.  I can't imagine how they could do that show in 30 minutes for example. 

Yeah, to me she just came off as someone with a really short attention span (and an incredibly vague thesis).  Beat Bobby Flay is a 30-minute show where we get to "know" the contestants about the same/a little less than on Chopped, and there are only two rounds in that one.  It's the right amount of time; squeezing three rounds into 22 minutes would obviously mean showing less of the process of creating the dish and/or of the judges critiquing the dish, and they're already light on the latter (and not overstuffed with the former) in 44 minutes.  It would basically be Ted introduces everyone, the first mystery basket ingredients are revealed, everyone says I'm going to make X, then 30 seconds of each of the four chefs making their dishes, and, boom - dishes are presented and the judges give their feedback.

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The Cleveland chef’s story about hunger made me sad and angry at the same time. No one in this country (or any other) should ever have to be hungry, especially when there is more than enough for everyone.

Show comment: is it me, or has the background music gotten worse and worse? Half the time I can’t even hear them talking because the music drowns them out. 

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The person who wrote this article has it going for Tom Colicchio. Hate to tell her, he's not all that. Just as she says none of these judges are known as much for their restaurants as they are for Chopped. Yes...but so is Colicchio known because of TC. And chop it down to 30 minutes...it's not so much about getting to know the chefs as it is seeing what they are cooking. You rarely see that on cooking shows anymore. And to say basically we don't know them afterwards is just wrong. Many of them go on to be seen on other shows...like TC....or the next time we see them, they opened their restaurant. 

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Poor Roe, always a bridesmaid, never a bride.  For those of you unaware, one of the chefs on this past week's competition, Roe Dileo, was a 2-time competitor on Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen.  She came close to getting into the final both times, and botched it both times. 

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Usually each Chopped episode has two or three chefs I don't like much for one reason or another and one or two I don't mind.  Tonight, the only one I disliked went out first and I very much liked both fellows in the dessert round although I was pulling for Rashad because it meant so much to him (and he was good).  When I saw that big tear in his eye when he won, I almost had a tear in my eye myself.  I wish both those guys all the best.  

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On 7/23/2019 at 9:49 PM, Gramto6 said:

And GZ again with the chopsticks! It really makes him look ridiculous.

Yes, I saw him yet again eating ice cream with them! Stop it! 

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On 6/15/2019 at 12:31 PM, sharifa70 said:

The Cleveland chef’s story about hunger made me sad and angry at the same time. No one in this country (or any other) should ever have to be hungry, especially when there is more than enough for everyone.

Show comment: is it me, or has the background music gotten worse and worse? Half the time I can’t even hear them talking because the music drowns them out. 

The hot dog girl or the BBQ guy? I don't know about the BBQ guy, but my good friend actually grew up with the hot dog chick. She doesn't watch the show, but I found out after the episode aired that she knew her and her 'we were so poor"  sob story wasn't too far off. Sadly, there was, and still is, a ton of people in the greater Cleveland area who are going hungry on a regular basis. It's down right disheartening that in a country with such an abundance of food, there's so many still in need. 

I watched an episode the other night, I don't know if it was new or old, but the "winner" was such a loser. He basically started gloating when he won and it was just ugly. I had never seen that on Chopped and I hope to never see it again. I think they were all BBQ chefs, I can't remember and I don't pay that much attention to the episodes, but the gloating stuck out. Ugly always does. 

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On 8/4/2019 at 8:53 AM, Fostersmom said:

The hot dog girl or the BBQ guy? I don't know about the BBQ guy, but my good friend actually grew up with the hot dog chick. She doesn't watch the show, but I found out after the episode aired that she knew her and her 'we were so poor"  sob story wasn't too far off. Sadly, there was, and still is, a ton of people in the greater Cleveland area who are going hungry on a regular basis. It's down right disheartening that in a country with such an abundance of food, there's so many still in need. 

I watched an episode the other night, I don't know if it was new or old, but the "winner" was such a loser. He basically started gloating when he won and it was just ugly. I had never seen that on Chopped and I hope to never see it again. I think they were all BBQ chefs, I can't remember and I don't pay that much attention to the episodes, but the gloating stuck out. Ugly always does. 

"but the gloating stuck out. Ugly always does"

Every once in a while there will be someone like that-& usually they're the ones who end up going home & are pissed about it. Unfortunately one will get through... 

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