Chopped continues to excel in showing the challenges that not only chefs but ordinary cooks face every day. You must improvise!
Maybe the combination of food ingredients tossed to these competing chefs is not the usual experience for a cook. But the push and the need to improvise are always there. The problems with an oven, the ice cream maker that doesn't give the right consistency to the product, the simple mistakes of adding too much salt (how to fix that!) are common enough for anyone to sympathize.
This is by far my favorite cooking show because cooking dinner is a lot like 'Chopped' - unless you are a person who has planned every purchase and every step down to the smallest detail. At that point, something doesn't work as planned - and we are once again back to improvisation.
I learn so much from listening to the chefs' and the judges' comments. This season, Amanda reminded me that it's important to salt the water when you cook pasta. Does every cook not know that? Apparently not, because some chefs have been known to omit this step in the process of cooking pasta for the competition.
One of my favorite parts of this season in particular is the Alton Brown set of challenges. That man is vicious! I'd hate to have him judge my food, but it's fun to watch him from the couch. He also sets some fascinating basket challenges tied into his food science theme. This sets this season apart a bit and makes it particularly worth watching.
I don't know what is going on in the behind-the-scenes politics of this show, but the trend where the judges participate in the human interest interviews of the contestants destroys the emotional impact of them. I guess someone took Ted for granted, but when he is the one listening to the stories of the contestants, it is far more impactful. Letting the judge's ask "Why did you move to California.. oh.. uh huh.. I really relate to that"... it's just stupid. Let the host be the host, dummies. You're ruining what makes your show work.