Ever since Top Chef and Chopped arrived on the air, it feels like there’s just been an onslaught of food-based reality TV game shows that will never end. Baking competitions that run anywhere from the professional to the not-so-professional, barbecue cook-offs, a race against the clock to make the best ice cream—you name it, there’s probably been a show about it. I know a handful of people who have competed on such shows, to varying levels of success; our very own staff writer Allison Robicelli was on Chopped back in 2013. My former boss was on Guy’s Grocery Games, too, and some chef friends of mine have participated and even won some cash prizes.
I’ve been asked by friends if I’d consider going on one of these shows myself. My answer has always been no. As entertaining as the end product would probably be, I don’t have much of a desire to have my kitchen fumblings documented for everyone to see. Plus, despite loving the kitchen work I do, I can’t really think of one thing I excel in at home that’s remotely competition-worthy. Even as a former pizzamaker I’m not even sure I’d be in the same league as the big guns.
Of course, it’s hard not to wonder what I’d possibly kick ass in. I couldn’t bake my way out of a paper bag, so anything involving pastries is out of the question. I love using my smoker, but I’m still a novice at it. And something like MasterChef would be way out of the question.
Wait a second. I know. I could probably win Chopped Jr. Those kids would have no idea what’s coming. Is there any rule that specifically states a 40-year-old can’t compete on a kids’ show?
The amount of talent I see among home chefs is pretty staggering. As someone who spends a lot of time scrolling social media looking at other people’s cooking, I’m constantly impressed by what people do in their own kitchens. You all have a fighting chance, and I believe in you. So if you were on a cooking competition show, which one do you think you’d have a real shot at winning?