Double Standards for Chopped All-Stars

SPOILER WARNING: This post contains mild spoilers for ep. 1 of the new season Food Network’s Chopped All-Stars. If you’re a stickler for spoilers, leave the kitchen now.

If you’re a fan of Food Network’s reality TV competition, Chopped, then you’re no doubt you’re relishing the new season of all-stars which started this past week. The show pits the biggest names of the network head to head in the Chopped kitchen to see who stands above the rest. The All-Stars edition is a great opportunity to see how talented chefs deal with the pressures of limited time and crazy mystery ingredients in a creative and professional manner. Or so one would think.

In the first episode of Chopped All-Stars, two of the competing Iron Chefs, Marc Forgione and Michael Symon each drank from a bottle of coconut rum they were given and then proceeded to pour the ingredient from the same bottle into their pots. As any fan of the show can tell you, whenever competing chefs commit a cooking no-no like this, they are always called out by the judges at the end of the round. Always. Judge Scott Conant is a stickler for cleanliness and has made many competitors feel 10 inches tall after having tasted from a spoon and then used the very same spoon to stir their creations. Mysteriously, during the all-star edition no one called out either Forgione or Symon for their un-professional behavior.

Another tidbit that’s just as telling is Iron Chef Cat Cora’s use of raw red onions in one of her dishes, an ingredient Conant is infamous for hating. His dislike of red onion is legendary on Chopped but for some reason he didn’t seem to mind Cora’s use of the onion at all. These details are nit-picky to be sure, but are important none-the-less. Speaking as a fan, it rubs my rhubarb to know the Food Network’s talent is put on a pedestal instead of the chopping block where they belong.


  1. I cant understand why they are calling Forgione the “newest” iron chef, when Jeffrey Zacharian was the last winner of Next Iron Chef and is supposely the most recent addition to the iron chef family

  2. Oh, I thought the SAME thing Ged. I couldn’t believe it when I saw Michael Symon do that and no one said anything. There are definitely double standards and I think they use charity competitions as a reason to ease up on the critiques. They were harder on the firemen a few weeks ago then they were on chefs that should know better than to make some of the same “mistakes”.

  3. I was thinking about this and it seems like the Zacharian thing is maybe a taping delay? If there was a few months between the taping and the end of TNIC, maybe it could happen. I did catch the Cat Cora/Red Onion thing. Lastly, on the booze thing… I think they may treat high proof alcohol a bit differently, spoons are a big issue but I’d be willing to bet that they assume that the alcohol thing is safe–it’s not–while a spoon is a huge germ issue.

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