I don’t watch cooking shows on TV, partly because of time and partly because in the same amount of time, I can peruse a number of cookbooks or cooking magazines. But every so often, I enjoy watching “Chopped.” Four chefs start the program, competing in three rounds: appetizer, entree, and dessert. Prior to the start of each round, the chefs each get a basket of mystery ingredients (the same in each basket.) There’s always one weird ingredient, often more than one. Each round has a time limit and contestants are scored on taste, creativity, and presentation. However, at the end of each round, one person is chopped and must leave the program. The chef left at the end wins.
I’m always amazed at what creations emerge from these odd ingredients (and also at the egos of many of the chefs.) Although I was a lunch cook in a very nice restaurant in Steamboat Springs, Colorado many years ago, I didn’t create dishes, just fixed them. However, I did learn a few useful kitchen skills, including some knife skills. While prepping ingredients for chicken soup recently, my photographer’s eye was caught by the following shot of cut celery clinging to the very knife that made it “chopped.” Odd, but fun.