Alex Guarnaschelli and the nice side of Chopped

Host Alex Guarnaschelli, as seen on Supermarket Stakeout, Season Number 2. Image courtesy David Becker, Food Network
Host Alex Guarnaschelli, as seen on Supermarket Stakeout, Season Number 2. Image courtesy David Becker, Food Network /

If you have ever watched Chopped (and if you’re reading this we’ll assume you have) then you know the judges on the show can be brutally honest and even a bit harsh. You watch four chefs make something out of a bunch of bizarre ingredients and then get to see their dishes get raked over the coals, usually led by none other than Alex Guarnaschelli.

Of all the judges who rotate in and out of the Chopping Block, it’s Guarnaschelli who is usually the one who makes the chefs the most nervous. While some prefer to be nice and then mention their issues with the food almost in passing, Guarnaschelli will tell you flat out if the dish is crap. And she won’t do it nicely either.

That and her brutal honesty with the contestants is just a few of the reasons the ICAG is one of the most respected yet feared judges on the show.

Which is why it’s so shocking to discover that there is a softer side to Guarnaschelli and Chopped. A side that viewers unfortunately don’t get to see and one that might change what you think about her hard edged persona on the show.

Alex Guarnaschelli will give the chefs more feedback then what we see on the show.

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In reality what we see when the chefs are at the Chopping Block is just a small portion of what actually happens. It turns out that chefs are given a lot of feedback from the judges, including Guarnaschelli. What they did right, what they did wrong and even what they could have done to improve their dish.

According to an article on Mashed, the judges can take as much as 15 minutes with a chef, going over their dish. Imagine being a chef and being able to get that kind of feedback from someone like Alex Guarnaschelli.

In addition, the contestants can even talk to the judges about why they were chopped and what they did wrong. Former contestant John Lewis added some more details.

"“You do have the opportunity to explain yourself if you leave an ingredient off or if something doesn’t come out the way you intended.”"

Who knew?

Of all the cooking competitions on Food Network, Chopped can seem the most ruthless when compared to something like Spring Baking Championship or even Tournament of Champions. It’s good to know that judges like Alex Guarnaschelli are so willing to help and offer guidance for the chefs who come through those doors.

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What do you think Guilty Eaters? Will you be looking at the Chopped judges and Alex Guarnaschelli a bit differently the next tiime you watch the show? Leave a comment below and let us know or join the conversation on our Twitter or Facebook page.