So it's no surprise that I enjoy watching Food Network's show Chopped, the show in which chefs have to cook their way through three elimination rounds, using hamper baskets full of horrible mismatched ingredients. Host Ted Allen will introduce each round like:
Ted: This is the appetizer round, chefs, and you will have to combine the following ingredients in your baskets: Calf's liver... Hostess Fruit Pies... fiddleheads... and absinthe. You have twenty minutes... time starts now!
Like everyone who's watched the show, I have idly wondered how I would do as one of the chefs. I love to cook; I have moments of intense creativity in combining weird ingredients (frozen burrito and Sriracha!), and like all writers, I secretly want to crush my competitors.
|Have at thee!|
One problem: I suck under pressure.
No, really. My interviews are a mess. When I've done public speaking, my 30-minute talks would be 10 minutes long if you excised the uhhhs, y'knows, and ummmms. And the times I chuckle at my own jokes that no one else laughs at. So I expect I would have some problems.
Here's me in front of the judges, Alex Guarnaschelli, Marcus Samuelsson, and Aarón Sánchez (minus my uuhs and umms):
Ted: Chef Fred! What have you prepared for us?
Me: I have... a meatloaf-marmalade ice cream with a flaming pickled mangosteen sauce and a shredded swizzle stick garnish.
Alex: I like how you've repurposed the swizzle stick.
Alex: But it wasn't a basket ingredient.
Alex: It isn't even food.
Marcus: I'm curious as to your decision to use the ice cream machine.
Me: I thought meatloaf ice cream would make a memorable and unique dessert.
Marcus: You can say that again.
Marcus: But this is the appetizer round.
Me: I panicked.
Ted: And you broke the ice cream maker.
Marcus: It's about the least edible thing I have ever seen in my life.
Me: It was a tough basket.
Ted: The basket contained lobster, spanakopita, Macoun apples, and lime gelatin.
Aarón: Chef Fred, didn't you pick on one of my products on your blog?
Me: No, I didn't.
Aarón: Yes you did!
Me: Hey. don't link on my blog.
Aarón: You break machines, use terrible ingredients that weren't even in the basket, you don't use a single ingredient that was in the basket, you serve us something that looks and smells like elephant vomit, and you picked on my pork! This is the worst thing I've ever seen on this show!
Me: Uh... I cut myself and bled into the ice cream, too.
Me: I'll try to do better in the next round.
Ted: ...Thank you, Chef Fred.