Eat Random

The idea for this blog is to blog about everything I think about food and food culture. I'll tell you what I like to eat, where I like to eat it and if I thought it was good or if I thought it was crap. My thoughts about food could go anywhere. Hey if you don't like it go blog at

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Food TV Review: Chopped All-Stars Episode 2

The one thing I enjoy about as much as food is television.  I can't help it.  I'm a junkie.  Even when on this very blog I have somewhat bashed Food Network before I can't keep myself from coming back to it in all of its corny cheesy goodness.  My favorite show on FN is probably Chopped.  Crazy ingredients.  Stupid short time constraints for cooking.  A guaranteed elimination after each of the 3 rounds.  What's not to love?  To add a little more life to that concept they've decided to have several weeks with "celebrity" or "all-star" competitors playing for charity.  In true Food Network style it really just amounts to "people who have shows on or at some point have been on Food Network in some capacity".
The four competitors:  Robert Irvine (Dinner/Restaurant Impossible), Anne Burrell (Secrets of a Restaurant Chef/Worst Cooks), Claire Robinson (5 Ingredient Fix) and Duff "My Hipster Friends Really Do All of The Work For Me" Goldman (Ace of Cakes).  The ingredients are too numerous to list here in their entirety, but I'll just say that in the appetizer round the main ingredient they had to use was canned haggis.  If that doesn't show you what Chopped is all about I don't know what will.  I'm not going to go through a round by round recap of how the show went because you can probably guess.  There were 2 chefs (Burrell, Irvine) up against some stoner cake decorating guy and a pretty face.  Needless to say Burrell and Irvine wound up in the final round against each other, but while it seemed like they were making nice inventive dishes it is hard to be sure since the judges seemed to be more effusive with their praise than normal.  Of course the contestants dishes could have been some of the best ever made on the show, but you have to remember this is the same network that uses its hype machine to make people think Sandra Lee can actually cook.

Even with some of those thoughts lurking in the back of my mind I have to say this was a really enjoyable hour of television.  It was interesting to see competitors who are used to doing cooking shows instead of chefs who are cooking in a restaurant on a daily basis.  You could really see the focus and intensity on their faces as they scrambled to put dishes together.  No pre-done mise en place or pre-cooked "finished products" here.  I'd like to see more of this kind of programming from Food Network instead of crap like Cupcake Wars or watching Sandra Lee pour onion soup over a hamburger and call it a meal.  Maybe they will realize what actual good programming is like.  Wait, are you telling me they just premiered a whole show about people who do ice sculptures?  Shit.  Never mind.

Photos via,, and


citynomnoms said...

I saw the end of the ice sculpture show - unreal!

Brent said...

If you saw even part of it you are a braver soul than I.