The Chopped Hate-Watch Recap: Celebrity Holiday Bash

As a Food Network-obsessed stomach porn enthusiast, I continue to watch Chopped even though I hate it now and it just infuriates me. I figure the least I can do is live-blog my breakdown. Thus, the Chopped Hate-Watch Recap was born. 

Oh, Chopped. I don’t know why I bother anymore. This used to be legitimately one of my favorite shows, a must-watch, high-DVR-priority treat every week. Now it just tortures me, and I record it solely to find out how it’s going to yank the football away this week. Is it going to be real chefs cooking with real ingredients this week, or restless-leg syndrome survivors trying to make themed treats out of medical waste using nothing but decorative chopsticks?! GOD DAMMIT I NEVER LEARN. AND WHY DO I CARE SO MUCH?! Gahh, this is like an abusive relationship.

Okay, so it looks like this week is a celebrity episode. This gives me some small hope that maybe they’ll be cooking with actual food this week. It’s one thing to f*ck with trained chefs by giving them 20 minutes to repurpose canned haggis and leftover escargot paella, but when it’s out-of-work actors who can probably barely tie their own shoes let alone cook, it just seems cruel. You know how the questions are way easier on Celebrity Jeopardy? Maybe give that some thought, Chopped. We don’t need to punish the contestants, this isn’t Japan.

Also, what’s the point of getting a bunch of washed-up b-listers together and making them play for charity? Let them play for themselves, you sadistic bastards.

Looks like they’ve got Mary-Ann from Gilligan’s Island (aka Dawn Wells), Teri Hatcher, Antonio Sabato Jr., and Anthony Anderson, who ironically is skinny now. The opening sequence where they introduce them all is actually educational, because I did always wonder who the f*ck Antonio Sabato Jr. was and why I knew his name. (The answer is “soap operas,” by the way).

And now the moment of truth. “Please open your baskets!” Ted Allen squeals.

Pleaseberealfood pleaseberealfood pleaseberealfood…

And the ingredients are…

  • Reindeer Pâté
  • Sparkling Cider
  • Candied Ginger
  • Jelly Doughnuts


Chefs. Who cook food. Using ingredients. That’s it! The the secret of the show! YOU HAD THE PERFECT FOOD SHOW CONCEPT. YOU COULD MAKE 100 OF THESE A WEEK. HOW DID YOU MANAGE TO F*CK THIS UP?

Who is this show even for? No one who actually likes food wants to watch amateur chefs try to “reimagine” dog food, packing peanuts, and a tire iron. For one thing, it’s gross! For another, it has nothing to do with cooking! This is Fear Factor with aprons! The only joy I get out of Chopped these days is watching Jeffrey Zakarian try not to spill boiled lamb testes in Rockstar Energy Drink gastrique on one of his snootiest turtlenecks. The man is a human New Yorker cartoon.

The contestants begin “cooking,” and Zakarian jokes “I love having A-rate actors come over to my house and cook for me.”

“A-rate actors.” Anthony Anderson, Teri Hatcher, Antonio Sabato Jr, Dawn Wells. The balls on this guy.

The contestants go on and on about reindeer pâté this and reindeer pâté that, and what are you supposed to cook with reindeer pâté, it’s so weird, isn’t it?? Jesus, not only does this show suck now, half of it consists of the producers congratulating themselves for the decisions that ruined it. Reindeer pâté! Aren’t we clever?! NO. NO ONE WANTS TO WATCH PEOPLE MAKE REINDEER PUREE OUR OF REINDEER PATE!

Antonio Sabato tells us the Italian word for dougnut. Very informative. Now he says it’s not about cooking the basket ingredients, it’s about presenting them, “like a painter would, with a painting.” “The plate is a canvas,” he says. Please, tell us more about this fascinating metaphor, Antonio. What’s the frame, your wooden skull?

Teri is making a croquette out of the doughnut bread and the pate. Okay, that’s winner of an idea right there. You want to know the secret of Chopped? Turn your ingredients into a fried ball and put that fried ball into a taco or sandwich. Done. I’m convinced this is how falafel were invented.

Now Dawn Wells is chopping up the candied ginger. “And then I realize, Mary-Ann is chopping Ginger?” She says. “All my life I’ve been trying to chop Ginger!”


On a serious note, I’m not old enough to get that joke, and I’m in my thirties.

They finish, and Teri Hatcher runs around congratulating everyone, but actually just trying to make herself the center of attention. She seems like she’d be obnoxious to hang with. “There’s just nothing more loving than cooking for people at holiday time,” she says, and everyone quietly agrees, even though that is a ridiculous statement. Because God forbid the pretty actress be challenged at any point in her life. Dammit, you have to shut these people down when they say dumb stuff, this is why we have unvaccinated kids running around LA.

Ugh, if one of them starts tearing up when they talk about their charity I swear to God I’m shutting this off.

Now Amanda Freitag is going on and on about how hot Antonio Sabato Jr. is. Yeah, we get it, your producers are geniuses. Go take a cold shower, Freitag.

Antonio Sabato Jr. says he’s playing for the Boys and Girls Club of Ventura, where he volunteers, teaching the kids acting and helping them get representation. Wait, how is this a charity again? This guy is creating more out of work actors in Southern California. He should be stopped. By the way, his dish was just the basket ingredients, cut up on the plate, with some bread and a couple of garnishes in the colors of the Italian flag (sorta?). Including mint that he thought was basil. If he doesn’t get Chopped first, this whole thing’s rigged. How did he even get on this show? Okay, on second thought, him getting people representation might not be a bad charity after all. His agent must be a goddamn miracle worker.

Sabato gets booted because duh.

Next basket:

  • Rosca De Reyes (some kind of Mexican cake with Jesus figurines baked into it)
  • Wagyu Ribeye
  • Broccoli
  • Cocktail Sauce

Ugh, always with the stupid leftover desserts. Still, at least there’s only one of them. This basket is closer to an actual meal challenge than goddamned deer pâté and jelly doughnuts.

Anthony Anderson decides to make stuffing out of the cake. GOOD IDEA, ANTHONY! Meanwhile, Dawn Wells combines her cocktail sauce with mustard, in case you wanted to dip your fine Wagyu steak in sauce I wouldn’t let near a cafeteria hamburger. BAD IDEA, MARY ANN! Gee, I wonder who’s getting Chopped in this round. Didn’t they say this chick wrote a cookbook? Aaaand now she’s talking about what it was like playing Mary-Ann again. Okay, now this is  just getting sad.

Zakarian sees Teri Hatcher resting her meat and clucks his snooty approval. Now, here’s another thing about Chopped: the judges shouldn’t be allowed to see the contestants cook. They just sit there backseat driving the whole time, and then when the food gets there, they just try to justify their own critiques. “See? You should’ve cooked it the way I said you should have. It turns out that thing I said was a mistake at the time is the exact problem with your dish. Who knew?”

Dawn goes home. Shocking, I thought her mustard-cocktail steak sauce was going to rule the day. It’s down to the final round!


  • Douglas Fir Brandy
  • Plum Pudding
  • Dried Persimmon
  • Chocolate Santa

Hmm, let me go out on a limb here… Someone’s going to make bread pudding. Seriously, dessert sucks. Making one dessert out of two already-prepared desserts, a drink, and a fruit is even suckier. That’s not a skill anyone cares about. A while back, Chopped did a special episode that was breakfast, lunch, and dinner, instead of appetizer, entree, and dessert. Why didn’t anyone recognize that this was a far superior concept? You can’t have the climax of a cooking show be dessert. They just throw some butter and sugar on everything and bake it. Butter, sugar, ice cream. That’s every Chopped dessert.

Anthony Anderson says he’s making a “hoecake,” while Teri Hatcher is attempting a “crostata.” I don’t know what the hell either of those things are, but they both involve, flour, butter, sugar, eggs, and an oven, so I’m calling the spirit of my bread pudding prediction basically correct.

They both baked some shit and made ice cream. Shocking. At least none of the judges complained about their dessert being “too sweet” this time. Though Zakarian does point out that he thought his crostata was too dry. See? F*cker wanted it more bread puddingier.

Anyway, Teri Hatcher ends up winning, and she tears up thinking about all the money that’s going to go to her children’s arthritis charity. Game, set, match.

So, to recap, we had:

  • Gross Stunt Ingredients
  • One Contestant Who Clearly Had Never Seen the Show
  • Snooty Zakarian
  • Horny Freitag
  • Two Forgettable Judges
  • Fried Croquettes
  • Crying Contestant
  • Bread Pudding (basically) Made From Other Desserts

This is every Chopped episode now. Someday I will learn. Someday.