Cheftestant (cooktestant?) Perry Pollaci of Bar Blanc
While Ed Levine, Adam Kuban, and Eat Me Daily were pretty down on Chopped, our commenters were more forgiving, as was Time Out’s Feed blog: “It’s a very entertaining show, and there’s a refreshing awkwardness about it; the chefs are less comfortable in front of the camera — it feels more realistic. True to Ted Allen’s promise, the focus was on the cooking. There were no ‘make edible pajamas for Padma to wear to a slumber party with Gail and Martha Stewart’ challenges (or was that just a dream?), and it was refreshing to see all NYC chefs in a show that was filmed in NYC (hint hint, Top Chef V).” And in an article addressing copycat accusations, the LA Times offers that Chopped’s “stripped-down style relates to the everyday cook in a way that other cooking competitions don’t.” Eater, for one, was bored by this (“these dishes aren't really wowing anybody, least of all the viewers”), but we’ll join them and TONY in giving the show props for using New York judges rather than “personalities” with cookbooks (and Bravo shows!) to plug.
Finally, Fork in the Road has a take that more or less mirrors earlier criticism:
The absence of Diet-Dr.-Pepper Quickfires doesn't make up for the fact that Chopped's format is boring, the talent of its chef-testants subpar, and the general look of the show cheap. We'll take the occasional Bertolli challenge in exchange for some decent production value and an occasional change of scenery... There's little entertainment value in watching half-skilled pro-am (we're being generous with that designation) chefs attempt to cook a halfway decent meal under light constraints. If anything, it makes you appreciate the very aspects of Top Chef that Allen criticizes.
Chopped: There Are No Top Chefs Here [Fork in the Road] 'Chopped': Food Network stirs the pot with entertainment format [LAT] Chopped! The Historic First Recap [Feed]
Read more posts by Daniel Maurer