I have got to be honest. I’m really running out of things to recommend bingeing. I’ve been looking for new shows to watch, but I have struggled to find anything. What is a man to do? Watch the American Gladiators channel on Pluto TV? That show is not as fun as I remembered. Netflix doesn’t really do old sitcoms anymore. I don’t have Peacock or HBO Max yet. I mean, I do, but they aren’t on any of my streaming equipment yet, which is obnoxious. You know what? Screw it. Watch Chopped all weekend.
Yes, Chopped. The most-popular Food Network show of all time. The perpetual cooking competition. I swear, they have a new episode every week. Each Tuesday night, I watch Chopped. If I’m home, at least. If I’m not, I know at some point in the week I will be watching it. I swear, they claim to be in their 40th season or something at this point. They have been on for over a decade now. If you have Sling, you can watch episodes on demand there. If you have the Food Network app, it’s on there as well.
Chopped is simple in premise, but they pretty much nailed how to do the whole cooking competition thing. Each episode features fours chefs. There are three rounds, usually appetizer, main course, and dessert. The hook is that each round requires the chefs to use four mystery ingredients that they find out about right before the cooking begins. A lot of them are weird or difficult ingredients as well, like chicken in a can or durian. After each round, three judges – all food professionals – taste the food and then one of the chefs is chopped. That means they are eliminated. They aren’t actually chopped up or anything. At the end of the show, the chef who isn’t chopped wins $10,000. Winning Chopped often helps chefs in their careers as well, especially if they own a restaurant.
Chopped is one of those perfectly formulaic shows. That makes it so easy to binge. There will be chefs you like and chefs you don’t. Ingredients that are funny and ingredients that are gross. Some chefs nail it and some completely blow it. The host, Ted Allen, is really good, and I like most of the judges as well. If you have it on in the background all weekend, that works perfectly fine. You can duck in and out and still figure out what’s going on. Just try and be sure you see the opening of the mystery basket, but even if you miss that you can usually figure out what the ingredients are. Just throw the show on and kick back. That’s what Chopped is all about. Right now, that seems like the smart way to spend a weekend.