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Reality Fix: Chopped 

Photo Credit: Food Network

I blame Tina Charles for getting me into this show. And it’s not that I’m mad at her at all. I’ve come to really enjoy this show and the challenges those mystery baskets present for some very seasoned chefs. I can’t say I have much talent in the kitchen but it’s so much fun to watch these chefs try (and often) succeed to make something tasty from the strange (and sometimes gross) ingredients they’re given. I didn’t catch all the All-Star episodes but I like when past contestants get to return. So  I was very pleasantly surprised to discover tonight’s episode was all about redemption. Four chefs who’ve been on Chopped before were given another chance to take home that $10K prize. And it was a great fight.

So, you may or may not know this about me but I’m emotional; I get invested in my television shows. I mean, I’ve even been known to cry after a great commercial. This is something I know and accept about myself. I’m not embarrassed, I’m just telling it like it is. I feel the need to say all this because I cried like a baby at the end of tonight’s episode. The fact that Lance Nitahara offered Yoanne Magris a ticket to see her grandmother did me in. What a selfless, generous gift. You could see just how touched the judges – and especially Yoanne – were by his actions. Talk about a gracious, deserving winner.

Photo Credit: Food Network

I remember both Lance and Yoanne from the first time they participated on Chopped. I was disappointed they didn’t win (especially Yoanne) because they are both so creative and the judges seem to enjoy their food so much. They both proved something during tonight’s competition. But to say this competition was only about cooking is to sell it short. Lance and Yoanne gained a regard for each other. I love that they were both cooking their hearts out to redeem themselves but also really seemed invested in each other. But the fact that neither one of them won last time meant we got to spend a little more time with them now, and I think that’s a gift.

Photo Credit: Food Network

And I do love that Lance won. He cooks from such a good place and is so invested in the experience and interactions with the people who eat his food. I feel like anyone who gets to eat his food is experiencing something very special.

Ok, that’s enough touchy feely stuff for now. I’m not sure any other episode will ever measure up to tonight’s. But that’s ok. I’m still interested to see what talented chefs can do with those mystery ingredients. The only thing that would make this (and every other cooking show) better is if I could taste the food too. Can somebody get on that?

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