Pop Culture Recommendation: Chopped Junior

It’s no mystery that I like cooking shows. And I like competition shows (when some talent and skill is required to win… hence, I’m not into the dating competition shows, etc.). I also like kids. You put all that together and you have “Chopped Junior” (Tuesdays, 8/7c, Food Network)! It’s like the adult version of the show (Chopped, Tuesdays 9/8c, Food Network) where four contestants are challenged to cook different courses using four (usually crazy) mandatory ingredients. There are three rounds (Round 1: Appetizer; Round 2: Entrée; Round 3: Dessert) with each round getting a different basket with four oddball ingredients. After each round the three judges taste the dishes and eliminate (or “chop”) one of the contestants. The person who wins the dessert round has won the whole show. The winner gets $10,000. The premise and format is the same between “Chopped” and “Chopped Junior.” The judges are the same (there’s a rotating panel of judges for both shows). And the host is the same: Ted Allen (the food and wine expert from the original “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” on Bravo).

While the show is basically the same as its adult counterpart, I still enjoy it a lot more and usually watch a majority of the show with a literal smile 😃 on my face. So for this monthly pop culture recommendation I’m highly recommending “Chopped Junior” (Tuesdays, 8/7c, Food Network).

I used to watch “Chopped” with regularity and record it on the DVR. However, I noticed I wasn’t watching them quickly and had to be in the right mood to watch it. Conversely, I DVR “Chopped Junior” and RACE to watch the newest episodes. The difference can be summarized in one word: ego. The adult chefs have a lot of ego (there’s usually at least one massive ego that can’t believe the stupidity of the judges when they get chopped. 😮) The kids don’t have that yet. So I find them infinitely more watchable. There’s a life lesson in there but honestly I’m too busy smiling to explain it. You get it though: Big Egos = bad, Average-sized egos = good and kids usually haven’t been exposed to enough garbage in life to have big egos.

As per usual I’m consuming this pop culture with my parents (much like I used to blog about). My Mom and I love the show but my Dad watches too. Another reason besides the lack of contestant ego that I like this show is the overall lightness and happiness with which the judges and Ted conduct themselves. They certainly aren’t without humor on “Chopped” but they’re just sweeter to each other and the contestants and overall sillier. It makes for a really enjoyable watching experience.

I made the above graphic using the free app “Over” and I think it’s pretty cute if I do say so myself (uh oh… ego).

Basically I wanted to write about “Chopped Junior” because I love the happy optimism both displayed on the show and that the show inspires me to feel. There’s enough unhappy pessimism in the world and by flipping the channel from the news or a news channel to “Chopped Junior” I feel like I’m actively making a choice not to be pessimistic and unhappy. Perhaps a simple take of the world today, but choosing happy optimism is a step in the right direction.

Speaking of happy optimism; I’m still happily optimistic I’m going to finish my memoir. Even though I haven’t written much lately. In fact, here’s my latest word count (she says sheepishly 🐑):

I’m still kind of fried from July’s Camp NaNoWriMo memoir push so I’m keeping this post short. In conclusion, if you need a happy pick-me-up to get you through another long week (and depressing news cycle), I highly recommend checking out “Chopped Junior” (Tuesdays, 8/7c, Food Network).

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