Preparation for "Chopped" Challenge

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by chefboyarelee, Feb 1, 2018.

  1. chefboyarelee

    chefboyarelee

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    Hello Chefs, I have a reasonable idea of how I want to approach and "train" for this event but I would love to hear from some of you regarding how you would go about "training" for an event such as this.

    The basic format I believe will be open pantry and 1 main mystery item to be highlighted in an app, entree, and possibly dessert. Thanks for your input, it is much appreciated.
     
  2. brianshaw

    brianshaw

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    I think you need to consider the various concepts. You describe more of a Beat Bobby or Hells Kitchen format. Chopped format may be challenging in a different way since there are more mandatory ingredients.

    Whichever you focus on, it seems to me that the aspects to really master is time pressure and completely unforgiving evaluation. Make sure that your trials feature both. It may be especially difficult to find the unforgiving judges.

    Good luck on your training and any competition you do!
     
  3. sgmchef

    sgmchef

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    After watching a bunch of "Chopped" I noticed a few common things that seem to routinely adversely impact the competing Chefs.

    1. Not starting with the component that takes the longest. Like undercooked pasta, potatoes, or rice. Bye-bye
    2. Leaving things too large to cook with limited time. Searing and oven roasting that 8 oz Moose filet is delicious but not if you don't have time! Try 2-4oz tournedos. Same for veggies, thinner/smaller pieces cook faster. This is too raw/undercooked. Bye-bye
    3. Seasoning awareness costs a lot of contestants. Too salty, under seasoned, no acid, or too much acid, etc. Bye-bye
    4. Wasting limited time making ten times what you need. Don't make a quart if you are only going to drizzle or smear a sauce. Ask yourself, Do I really need to peel and trim another vegetable for what I need for this dish?
    5. Not actually featuring the mandatory ingredient has also hurt some. Bye-bye
    6. One chef to another, try to memorize some basic dessert recipes like Sugar cookies, Genoise, Mousse. So you can focus on how to make dried smoked shrimp into a dessert! (Good luck!)
    I think these things are mostly mental gymnastics. All competitors can grill, chop, etc. so I would probably focus on the longest list of ingredients I can find, and think what could I do to feature that ingredient. You may or may not get ANY of those items but maybe the mystery ingredient has similar texture, cooking properties or flavor to something I did think about.

    Hopefully someone can give you a better answer.

    Good Luck!
     
  4. redbeerd cantu

    redbeerd cantu

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    Perfect answer.

    I am trained and experienced in desserts and pastries, but I couldn't make you ANYTHING right now if you held out a stack of cash. My disinterest in learning has put me in a position of not being able to compete on this type of contest. I don't like the time and precision required of excellent deserts, so my dreams of winning a TV contest have been dashed...by myself.
     
  5. sgmchef

    sgmchef

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    Hey chefboyarelee,

    I got the impression you practicing for a local contest not the TV show? Was I wrong?
     
  6. capecodchef

    capecodchef

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    Two words....Microwaved Cake.


    Good luck!
     
  7. chefboyarelee

    chefboyarelee

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    yes its a local one, I just found out the details and i will be extremely limited with equipment. sgmchef's anwser is exactly how I was preparing, but wanted to hear others insight on how to approach it. I will only have portable burners 2 induction and one gas, and basic utensils that you would find in any home kitchen and a food processor. my basic strategy will probably be dumplings for the appetizer and pasta for the main, but it will really depend on the ingredients. Ever sense the show started (Chopped) I would watch in real time and as they opened the basket and name ingredients I would spout out what I would make and how without any pausing. This would keep my mind working fast and my culinary awareness of cooking timetable and preparations in order and in check. I guess I am really just giving another tip towards my own question for future chefs who stumble upon this forum.
     
  8. chefsing

    chefsing

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    Greetings Chef- I've done several competitions with rules similar to this and finished pretty high every time. While each time it involved a "random basket" or some basic theme "i.e. pork or mushrooms" I came with a plan for each course for 3-4 dishes that were all fairly similar in nature to each other so I could adapt quickly to the circumstances of the ingredients or my timing went. At the end, my dish was completely different than what I had initially had in mind and not even a mash up of all those dishes but the components were there and it helped me control my nerves and adapt to the timing and challenges. Hope that is not to vague and helps, good luck!
     
  9. cstanford

    cstanford

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    I've seen the show and often wondered why the participants needed any more challenge in their careers than keeping their own restaurants open and profitable. It seems a healthy percentage owned their own places.

    I guess they thought if they could advertise that they had won "Chopped" that customers would just pour in, well, ask all the guys who owned Michelin one, two, and three star shops that weren't able to stay in business what they think of that bullshit idea.

    Winning on that silly-assed show is meaningless. If you can make a great dessert out of Gummy Worms then more power to you. How good are you at making money?
     
    kitchen87 likes this.