The first reviews of Ted Allen’s new vehicle, Chopped, are in, and unsurprisingly, they’re not great. Ed Levine and Adam Kuban chat about it and agree that “it has some elements of Iron Chef and some of Top Chef, but it’s not as distinctive as either of those shows.” They have quibbles with the host (“not enough of an expert”), the contestants, including Perry Pollaci, a line cook from Bar Blanc (“just cooks, you never get to know them as people”), and the judges, Aaron Sanchez, Alexandra Guarnaschelli, and Marc Murphy: “[C]hefs, and not super well-known ones … they aren't very discerning — not because they didn't know better (because in fact they know a lot), but because they want to be nice.” Eat Me Daily is even harsher in its criticism.
Chopped isn't a ripoff of Top Chef — it's a cheap, maddening ripoff of Top Chef. We can only imagine the producers sitting in a room, trying to come up with enough subtle modifications so that it wouldn't be an exact ripoff of Top Chef. Ted Allen, as host, was dry and mechanical, simply going through the paces, and the production quality was pretty high (as far as the Food Network goes), but still nowhere near Bravo's. It's just three Top Chef elimination challenges, stacked one after another.
Anyone catch the episode? What did you think?
Review: The Premiere Episode of Food Network's Chopped [video] [Eat Me Daily]
'Chopped' Season Premiere Rechat [Serious Eats]