Chefs vs. Judges: The Most-Notorious Chopped Clashes

Between defensive contestants and angry judges, things can get pretty heated on Chopped. Watch judge Scott Conant’s notorious raw onion rant, plus more of the most-memorable clashes on Chopped.

Raw Onion Rant

Scott made it clear in the first round that he hates the use of raw red onions in a dish. So when one chef chooses to intentionally ignore his critique and use them in the entree round as well, Scott doesn’t react well.

Playing the Game

Despite Chef Lola Garand’s good sportsmanship and team-player attitude, her messy cooking station rubs the judges the wrong way. When she says that she is “enjoying herself” and “playing the game,” judge Geoffrey Zakarian criticizes her lack of respect for the competition and the food itself, which Lola doesn’t take lightly.

Dangerous Station

Chef James Gillespie is confident in his abilities as a Chopped chef and a culinary instructor, but his haphazard cooking style and dangerous station conditions jeopardize his chances of winning. When the judges watch him throw things on the floor, including extra ingredients and pots of boiling water, they have to address the issue.

On the Defensive

The judges want the food to speak for itself, but Chef Elise Kornack can’t help herself. When she interrupts Scott during judging to defend her dish, he takes issue with her ego and overly vocal approach. 

Spicy Setback

Worried that her turkey will be too bland, Chef Barbara Sibley tops her dish with a whole hot pepper for a “nutty, spicy accent.” She clarifies to the judges that they should “nibble” on the chile, and Geoffrey responds by explaining why the addition of the pepper ruins the dish. 

Trash-Talk Debacle

“It’s like a cowboy shootout in here,” says judge Alex Guarnaschelli of the constant trash talk between chefs Wade Burch and James. Alex calls out James during judging for his antagonistic demeanor, but when he tries to defend himself by saying it’s just “humorous banter,” she’s having none of it.

Viewer's Choice Challenge

Most Chopped contestants would agree that their mystery baskets weren’t easy to work with, but they make do. In this viewer’s choice episode, however, Chef Rory Philipson defends herself against the judges’ comments by arguing that the ingredients were too difficult.

Confident-Going-On-Cocky Contestant

Uber-confident All-Star contestant Penny Davidi may not question her cooking ability, but she does question Scott’s judging: When Scott criticizes her dessert, she claims that it’s a “matter of taste.” He doesn’t take kindly to her response, crumbling her dessert before her eyes to prove his point.

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