My New Guilty Pleasure - Chopped

So, I pride myself on not watching reality TV. I think it's highly edited and I suspect still scripted. And possibly rigged in the contest shows. I also don't watch cooking shows. Frankly, it's all I can do to make simple meals with my organic vegetables and fruits that I get delivered to my house. A fancy meal for one just ain't happening  so why watch someone create a five course meal in what looks to be minutes? Again, heavily edited. Oh, and they have a full staff to assist them.

However, I find myself enthralled with a reality show that's about cooking. How the frak that happened, I don't know but I'm in love with Chopped. If you've never seen it, they start with four chefs and give them baskets of four items and they have to make an appetizer, a main dish and a dessert in a specified period of time. Each course gets a different basket and a chef gets "chopped" after each course until one is declared the champion and gets $10,000.

I think the thing that fascinates me is what they put in the basket. There's some crazy stuff in there. I watched an episode tonight where the appetizer contained rattlesnake. The main dish basket had fruit roll-ups. They have to use all four items (plus they can pull from a fully stocked kitchen) so it's always a challenge to combine the items. Other crazy things I've seen are Lemon Drops, Cinnamon Candies and cuttlefish.

The host is Ted from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and I love him. Well, I loved him more on Queer Eye because he had more to do there but he's good here. The judges rotate in and out but I have to say that Geoffrey Zakarian is kind of a dbag. He just has to say something completely deflating to the contestants.

Watching them cook is great but they do little interviews with the chefs that are also quite interesting. So far, the most confident chefs have not won. I'm talking some of them were full on arrogant. It made me root against them. Most of them will say things like "My dish was clearly the best. I would be embarrassed to put out something like my competitors did."

It's good to be confident in your abilities but to think you're the absolute best in that format is over-confident. None of the contestants are lacking in skill or experience so you have to know you need your A game in each round. I find myself cheering for the chefs who acknowledge that.

I've got lots of episodes coming up on the DVR so I expect I'll be spending a lot of time watching others in the kitchen. I doubt I'll learn anything to improve my cooking skills but I will be entertained.


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