Chopped…a time i didn’t win $10,000.

Sometimes I just remember stories that I think will make fine posts.

A couple of years back, I woke up in my nice NY City hotel room excited and nervous as all get out.

I just knew that I was going to make the best dishes that day and leave that Chopped studio $10,000 richer!

The big time!

The big time!

I had filled out my online application and totally lied my butt off like a true champion.  I told them I cooked for emperors of obscure countries that are really hard to find or don’t exist at all, as well as for Steve Jobs as his personal chef for many years, but good luck calling him to verify that.

My education was incredible.  I worked under and with some of the best now dead and unable to verify my claims chefs around, from Julia Childs in France to a run working with Anthony Sedlak at one of Canada’s finest non fast food restaurants whose name escaped me.

I told them I’d spent the past 10 years volunteering as a cook for the local elementary school where I was district lunch lady of the year 4 of those years and only lost the others because it turned into a popularity contest.  That’s what I did by day and I volunteered at a fire station preparing dinners for firemen at night (they love firemen for some reason).  This was in addition to feeding my own kids all the time and I made sure they knew that I was hoping to win the $10,000 so that I could donate all of it to the local homeless shelter and food bank (ha, yeah right!).

They were wowed, and chose me to be on their show.

In truth, I have no cooking skills or training and have never worked in a restaurant kitchen other than as a pizza maker over 20 years ago.  I think that’s why I was feeling a little nervous.

They told us it was going to be a long day, 12 hours or so to film an hour long episode.  I got to the studio after emptying the wet bar in my room that morning of all of the white liquors I could find and refilling the 7 bottles with water from the sink and returning them to the wet bar.  I didn’t think the show would cover that part of the tab, and I certainly wasn’t paying $12 for a few ounces of hooch.

I walked to the studio and was starting to feel a little buzzed by the time I arrived and got introduced to the other three contestants.  They were all younger than my then 37 year old ass and had all sorts of real culinary experience and training.

There was the black guy who looked angry at something or other.  He was there to prove that he belonged on the cooking scene even though he came from the Bronx and grew up with 9 siblings in a very poor neighborhood.   “Geez dude, you cook in restaurant, it’s not like you’re a fucking doctor or professional baseball player who’s made it against all odds.  Get over yourself!” I thought to myself.

The next contestant was a lesbian with purple hair, of course.  She also looked angry at something or other and wouldn’t shut up about how the $10,000 would be so great because she wants to marry her partner and yadda yadda yadda.  Ok, bitch, whatever!  I’m getting a headache already and it’s not even 9 am.

The final competitor was the obligatory fat guy and I think he was Mexican or Cuban maybe?  I don’t know, if he said, I wasn’t paying attention anymore and I was really starting to feel distracted by a knot in my stomach from being so nervous.

We met the host of the show, Ted Allen, but not the judges.  They showed us around the pantry and showed us how to use all of the different equipment and what not.

“What is that again?” I asked pointing to the blast chiller.”  And this,” pointing to a blender.

They had filmed our introductions the week before, and I was pleased with mine.  It showed me grilling burgers in my yard while my kids danced around yelling what a great cook daddy is like a pack of little retards.  Of course I had to pretend I was an asshole and say that the other three contestants are going down because there can only be one winner, me!  Then I held my spatula all gangster like because that was the douchiest thing I could think to do at that point.

We got our water boiling and our pans hot before the show really started, and when they were good to go, we finally got to walk to our stations.  As we walked out, we were able to see the judges for the first time.

I took my spot as contestant number three behind my giant basket containing the mystery ingredients.  I was right in between the fat Cuban or Mexican and the lesbian.  Oh, if only I could know what was in you in advance giant mystery basket.

There was a lot of talking going on, but my mind was someplace else.  I could only hear wa wa, wawawa, ACK!  It was Charlie Brown’s teacher in my head.  I was suddenly VERY nervous and my rational thought was retreating deeper into the recesses of my brain, trying to escape.  What the fuck are you doing, Don?  It demanded to know!  You don’t know how to cook you lying asshole!!  It felt like a real life reenactment of the dream I have a lot where I’m in a band playing guitar and the curtain rises in front of thousands of people only to have me realize that I don’t know how to play the guitar nor do I know the words to any songs!

Damn, I was starting to sweat already.

I snapped out of it for a second to Notice Ted Allen was introducing Alex Guarnaschelli.

What a smug bitch.

What a smug bitch.

Back in the dark parts of my brain again, my thoughts turned to my hatred of Alex Guarnaschelli.  It was a hatred based on nothing in particular.  I don’t know you, I thought to myself, but you’re kind of fat and sort of a bitch and I know you cheated during that contest to be an Iron Chef!  She was clearly not the best chef out of that group.  She wasn’t even in the top 5, but I think she was boning Geoffrey Zakarian and he was an Iron Chef judge.  You slut!  You don’t deserve to judge me!

Ok, Don, snap out of it…

The next judge was Marc Murphy.  No!!  I hate you more than I do Guarnaschelli!  This is the douche who always complains that he would have liked to have a little bit more of this or that all the time!  What a stupid ass thing to nitpick!  Learn to eat your proportions together better, you prick!  Grrrr, my mind was racing and I was fuming with hatred for these people who’ve never done anything good, bad or otherwise to me personally.

I hated your dish because I ran out of dipping sauce before I was done with my french fries.

I hated your dish because I ran out of dipping sauce before I was done with my french fries.

And finally, the third judge was Aaron Sanchez.  Thank God, I don’t hate him for any reason.  Plus, he’s Mexican, so I convinced myself that if I make him a fine Mexican dish, he’ll vote me on to the next round for sure.  God, I sure hope there’s a packet of Old El Paso taco seasoning and taco shells in that basket.

Hey, make me a chalupa and you'll win!

Hey, make me a chalupa and you’ll win!

But, I forgot about Fatty McMexican next to me.  He and Sanchez just nodded to each other like they were old homeys.  What the fuck?!  Dammit, now I hate you too, Aaron Sanchez!!  Everybody is against me for sure.

Seething with rage and dripping sweat like a whore on nickel night, the basket items were revealed.  I still wasn’t in my right mind, and wasn’t hearing Ted properly when he rattled off the ingredients.

For your appetizer round, you will be tasked with making a dish from:

Penguin meat

Dog shit

Green play-doh, and



I was about two seconds from fainting when the fat Mexican ran behind me and bumped me back into consciousness.

“Hey, Ted, what am I supposed to do with play-doh and fucking marbles and dog shit?” I asked the host, still not thinking straight.

“CUT!”  Somebody yelled in clear disgust.

“No talking to the host or the judges, Don. Just cook,”  instructed an angry lady with a headset.

We resumed filming and I made my way to the pantry.  Everything was a blur.

I went to a sink and splashed my face with water.  I felt much better and noticed a shelf with some wine bottles.

I grabbed a red and a white wine and went back to my station.  I knew I could cook with red wine so I opened it up.  I then opened the white wine and chugged 3/4 of the bottle without taking a breath.

“Whoooa whoooa, Chef Don just drank nearly an entire bottle of wine and hasn’t even touched any of his ingredients,” I heard Murphy say to his fellow judges.

I finished the bottle off with my second swig and looked over my ingredients.  Thankfully, they were marked.

I was working with ostrich meat, chocolate pudding, brussel sprouts and quail eggs.  What?

“I’d rather work with the dog shit!” I yelled to Ted, who just shook his head and scowled at me perplexed by my comment.

I took my ostrich tenderloin and sliced it into medallions.  I threw some salt and pepper and olive oil on those bad boys and seared them in the pan.  While they were searing, I put the pudding into a food processor with some sugar, mayonnaise, salt, ketchup, mustard, red wine, capers, pineapple juice, red pepper flakes, green olives, tartar sauce and cumin.  I’d read somewhere that cumin was becoming a trendy spice.  I processed the mixture into a nice consistency and let it rest while I tended to the other ingredients.

I took the brussel sprouts and threw one as hard as I could at Alex Guarnschelli, just barely missing her big fat head.

“Ha, ha, take that you bitch!” I muttered.  The wine was really starting to shake hands with the liquor and do a number on my sobriety.

I tossed the rest of the brussel sprouts into a trash can and cursed them as being the most disgusting fruit ever.

“Those aren’t fruits, Don, and they’re a basket ingredient so you should use them,” said Fatty McMexican all of a sudden.  Who asked him?

“Hey!  Llll, lll…listen….listen here fa Fatty, I’ll, I’ll yew, yew, yew don’t you tell me what to do with my fruit!  Do you want, want me to, to…. I’ll take this…hey, what kind of knife is this, Fatty?”

“It’s a Santoku, you crazy fuck.” Said, Fatty, followed by something in Spanish that I’m confident wasn’t flattering about me.

“Well, you, you leave my fruit alone or I’ll put this Suntoker knife in your belly, you unnerstand me?!!”  I grumbled to Fatty.

“5 minutes left!” said Ted.

“FUCK!!!” I yelled at nobody and staggered to the pantry again.

I grabbed another bottle of wine and dropped it on the floor, shattering it into thousands of pieces.

On my hands and knees in the pantry now, and nearly in tears, I yelled, “NO!!!! Nooo God, not the wine!!!!  Oh, wait, here’s another one!”  to nobody in particular.

I opened another wine bottle and took a few glugs before I smelled the smoke.

“Hey, lesbian lady, you, you, you smell that?”

“Your meat is burning, dickhead,” she said.

“Oh, OH, POOP!” I wailed.

I quickly poured the red wine onto the meat and made a complete mess all over the stove.  I was going to finish the meat off in the oven, but it appeared by the char that it wouldn’t be necessary.

I cracked open a quail egg and gently inserted the insides of the egg into the boiling water and then I dumped a bunch of salt into the pot.  Realizing that time was getting short, I just threw the rest of the eggs in the same boiling water, shell and all.  I then grabbed a brussel sprout out of the trash can and some white bread from the pantry.

I went and grabbed some plates but clumsily dropped every last one of them, shattering them all over the floor.  No time to weep again, Don!  I grabbed some bowls instead.

I put a piece of bread into a bowl, and then a piece of charred black meat on top of it, followed by my special pudding sauce.  I chopped up a brussel sprout and put it on the sandwich and finally topped it with the poached quail egg and possibly some eggshell.

I decided to leave it an open faced sandwich and made three more the same way.  As Ted was counting down from 10, I thought I was going to black out.  For no particular reason, other than I just saw it there, I dumped the rest of my wines all over the four sandwiches.

“HA!  Sammich soup!!” I yelled!

Ted said “time’s up,” and I was elated.

“I can, can, can’t believe I did it!” I said in relief.

As security led me out of the studio, I asked if anybody was even going to try my sandwiches!  “Hey, I cooked those for you!!  The least you could do is try a bite!”

Alex Guarnashcelli blew me a kiss as I was led past and promised me she’d try hers.

I hope she choked on it.


Photos from

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90 Responses to Chopped…a time i didn’t win $10,000.

  1. merbear74 says:

    I was literally pissing myself with laughter!!! Holy shit, this is the funniest thing I have read in weeks!! LMAO

  2. Katie says:

    HA! Penguin meat is what all Chicago-style hot dogs are made of, by the way.

  3. LOL Interesting story. Well written.

  4. barbtaub says:

    I couldn’t believe you could top the Doodles. But you blew them out of the water with this one. (You had me at the mini-bar thefts…)

    • Theft? You think so?

      Thanks for reading my asinine stuff! I appreciate your comments since you’re seemingly semi-intelligent, unlike most of my readers. Shhhhh!

  5. sassypanties says:

    Fuck you for being married already. And fuck myself for the same damn reason. AND FUCK ALEX GUARNSCHELLI. The brussel sprout knuckleball made me LOL and possibly pee a little.

  6. Sitting in hotel lobby in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with tears streaming down my face during & after reading that. Assume everyone nearby thinks I’m mental. What a production DOAT. Would love to drink a glass of red in your honour, but forbidden out these parts. Congrats on the post. Mumtaz!

    • So what you’re saying is that this Rihadh is someplace near the entrance to hell?? You poor poor soul!

      I’m glad to hear you got a chuckle though, that’s always nice to know!

  7. Jax Mully says:

    Hilarious! Thanks for making me laugh out loud – my 9-month-old kid is laughing his ass off at me now! 🙂

    • Finally, I’ve touched the age group that gets me! The under 1 crowd….they don’t have lots of money though so this isn’t helping…

      Thanks for laughing at me, I love hearing that!

  8. ardenrr says:

    I think me picturing you doing all this is the best mental image ever….

  9. Amy says:

    OH god…Fatty McMexican is killing me. I love this post so much.

  10. whinybaby says:

    This was a really great post. I’m just a little confused about that part when you said you had to “pretend to be an asshole.”

    • Reeow! Somebody has her sassypants on today! I like it!

      Oh and piss on you for being in LA. The Kings are about to bounce my Blues from the playoffs again and I’m angry about it.

      • whinybaby says:

        A) I’m glad you liked my joke, because I cracked myself up. In fact, re-reading it just now, I laughed out loud.

        B) I’m probably the only person in LA that you can’t hate for being a Kings fan. I had to think for several seconds about what sport the Kings play before I remembered that it’s hockey – right?

  11. aliciabenton says:

    Oh. My… This is the best blog ever. AND you get the Dad of the Year Award for this one: “like a pack of little retards.” Incredible!!!

  12. I have to agree with Alicia – I howled over your description of kids during your montage about you and why you’ll win.

  13. tric says:

    Wonderful true to life post. Such honesty. A very real post. It reminds me of Sunday dinners in my house. I think if you re read it you will see that perhaps the wine slugging was the beginning of the end! It is always the same in my house. Just one thing, what is wrong with purple hair?

    • Thank you, ma’am. There’s nothing wrong with purple or pink hair, it’s just that a lot of the ladies on that show seem to have one or both colors. It looks good on a lot of them.

  14. paulheels says:

    Ill trade some BBQ if you can recreate that recipe. Sounds delish. Though, part of the meal for me would have to experience the experience.

    Lets do this. I’ll bring the Old Milwaukee and stump water.


    • Bring it. I’ll supply the white wine, you bring reds, we’ll get shitfaced, go hunting for quail eggs and pudding in some NC grocery and have at it. Do you have a quail’s nest in that beard of yours by chance? That’d save some jack!

  15. hahaha!!! cracked me up!! i can’t believe you did that!! so funny!!

  16. rebecca2000 says:

    LOL you always keep me laughing. 🙂

  17. Learning the hard way says:

    We are beset by a hundred cooking shows here at the moment, what I would give to see someone lose their shit like that! Very funny stuff.

    • Thank you, ma’am! I’m not as hooked on cooking shows as I once was, but they can be pretty entertaining from time to time. I really would like to see a more realistic one though where the host is trying to cook while the kids come at him or her with homework and complaints and this and that and the fucking dog needs to go out and oh, there’s the Fedex guy and….whoah, sorry. You get my drift.

  18. juju333 says:

    The imagery is fantastic! I could picture every move and swig of the bottles; from your big, fat fingers grasped around those tiny mini bar clear liquors to those full sized bottles stocked in the Chopped kitchen pantry. I have tears running down my face.
    By the way according to my “Food Lover’s Companion” brussel sprouts are of the cabbage family. One should choose brussel sprouts with tight compact heads. And all the girls swooned.
    Only someone who has watched the show would really get this post and its true hilarity. And yes, one chef did actually get a bit sauced on the show but you would be much more fun to watch. You should so do this.
    If you ever get to Maryland, I make the best damn crab cakes. It’s how we roll down here in the summer. Crab feasts and lots of beer. We will get you some Natty Boh (National Bohemian), Baltimore’s home town brew because you like stuff like that.

  19. Nicholiovich says:

    Hell’s kitchen can go to hell, THAT’s quality entertainment.

  20. Laura Lynn says:

    I’m copying that recipe into my sister’s ‘Treasured Family Recipe’ book. It’s a keeper. I’m going to modify it slightly. Just the quail eggs and pudding and toast with red wine. Serve it for Mother’s Day tomorrow. It’s going to be a HIT!

    • Don’t forget to get drunk, call her a bitch and remind her that instead of her, your mom wanted a boy and dad wanted an abortion. It’s part of the flavor of the dish.

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  22. ttoombs08 says:

    LMAO! My hubby is addicted to those cooking shows (and he doesn’t even know how to make anything other than mac n cheese) so I have to watch them and silently curse those smug bitches under my breath. I wonder if he’s hinting that I should learn how to cook….you got an extra one of those Suntucker knives? 😀

    • Maybe it’s a man thing! I enjoy those shows too, but I can cook a little bit. It must be a nudge to you to get your ass to cooking school or something. Thanks for reading!

  23. Le Clown says:

    You do funny with panache. Too bad you’re so ugly.
    Le Clown

  24. mistyslaws says:

    Oh god, I so wish this actually happened.

    That Alex really is a smug bitch, isn’t she? Although, I kind of love Ted Allen, so I’m glad you didn’t fling anything at his head. I’m pretty sure that if they tasted your concoction, you would have been the winner of that show. Did you get any parting prizes? Besides a massive hangover, I assume.

    • Hmmm, how did I miss this comment from one of my favorite blogger ladies? Ted Allen is a nice man, you’re right, but I really do dislike that Alex lady. Hate her for no good reason!! Pffft, duh I’d have won! That shit had wine in it!

  25. suzie81 says:

    So funny… So glad you shared it!! Made my day.

  26. gypsytrain says:

    I’m gonna call someone a smug bitch tomorrow for no reason whatsoever in honor of this post, very funny

    • You totally should!! Wait, would you say it to a Thai person in English?

      • gypsytrain says:

        Ha, even better, maybe I’ll teach it to a Thai person and tell them to say it to a particular Farang I have in mind.

        The delivery will be awful as they’ll inevitably drop the “g” and replace itch with ish….but they’ll smile while saying it and keep me entertained enough for one day.

  27. You are so nutbars crazy sometimes that it’s hard not to love you. My husband actually WANTS to go on that show. He’s a big fan of Scott Conant, the one guy I’d be afraid to make pasta for. Thanks for the laugh! I think I’ll share this one with my guy.

  28. Pleun says:

    Hahaha, that made me rofl actually. Couldn’t type for a while after reading this! Great (party) story 🙂

  29. The Guat says:

    Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude. This was hilarious! I loved this story and I’m so glad I found you at Susie’s party. It totally cracked me up. I’m sorry that they didn’t even bother to eat your sandwiches … maybe Aaron took a bite after you left and wants to hire you. I love Aaron he’s awesome.

    • He’s one of the better judges because he doesn’t seem like he needs to be a douche to everyone who makes a tiny little mistake. Thanks for reading it, I’m glad you got a laugh from it.

  30. Beyond clever and funny! Brilliantly hilarious. Popped over from Susie’s party to apparently laugh my ass off.

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  32. theresa adkins says:

    This story had it all – I peed, I laughed, I cried, I verped, I choked on my lunch. I havent laughed like that in years. God Bless you. My co-workers think im insane…and its all your fault. I hope youre happy……

  33. I’m sorry to ruin your 69 (dude!) responses with number 70, but I must. PLEASE ask Aussa if you can cater the wedding. We need that sammich soup. And wine. Bring a lot of wine.

  34. qwertygirl says:

    I’m gonna make it 71. I was crying at the exchange with Fatty McMexican. And the hatred of Alex Guarnaschelli–I wish someone would throw a Brussels sprout at her. I am trying very hard not to laugh too hard at work, which means I’m doing this stifled laugh that sort of sounds like Mutley the dog, which I know sounds completely professional and not at all like I’m reading shit on the Internet instead of working.

  35. jeff says:

    This was hilarious. I will now be completely serious and somber out of respect to all the funny I just read.

  36. Daniel says:

    Obvious troll is obvious.

  37. Rawcake says:

    Absolutely brilliant! I’m still trying to catch my breath and drying my tears after laughing so hard! You should send this to Anthony Bourdain. Can I share this post?

  38. Ashley says:

    This was fucking hilarious

  39. ladybug says:

    Girl, you are just too funny. Go cook with Ms Barefoot, cook up a $1000 salad, or maybe that PIONEER person, who is a millionaire trying to tell us she just cooks everyday for a bunch of dirty cowboys.The material is limitless and you are the one to do it.

  40. Frank says:

    This is the stupidest shit I’ve ever read. You’re not even funny.

    • Dude, I’ve been saying the same thing ever since I started this blog! Thank you for taking the time out of your busy life to leave such a heartfelt comment and especially for using the correct “you’re. ” so many malcontents are less careful with there grammar, and it drives me nuts. Lol. See what I did there? Yeah, still not funny, I know.

  41. Professor_YO says:

    Sooo..I am definitely very, VERY late at reading this article. I’m still running on dial up, and had to wait for the fax sound to finish, then the car alarm, etc….lol

    Anyway, read this article, and for the first couple of paragraphs, I opened up maybe three different webpages trying to find the episode. FINALLY realized it was fake when you threw the brussel sprout at Alex.

    Couldn’t stop reading and was laughing my ass off!!!! Especially considering I just finished watching an episode of chopped right before I read this!!!!

    Great! FUCKING GREAT!!!

    • Stephanie M says:

      I hope that we both ended up here by googling “Alex Guarnaschelli Bitch” after watching the same episode tonight.

  42. Charli bee says:

    Thats what your ass get for lying. Thats why u didnt win shit

  43. Hotaru says:

    Not funny, unpleasant to read, racist. I can’t believe i spent 2 minutes reading this.

  44. Anni says:

    I loved this. Actually, I ended up here by Googling, “What happens if the contestants on Chopped have to pee?” –and that landed me on the ‘LOL and pee a little’ comment. And for a minute there, I was absolutely trying to figure out what episode this was, and then thought, “Oh wait, it’s all of them.” But yes, this was brilliant. And for the idiots crying racism, I think… maybe these are the same people for whom Bradbury wrote Fahrenheit 451.

    • Lol. A Fahrenheit 451 reference in my comments is the smartest thing ever with respect to this blog. It saddens me that people with no sense of humor have an anonymous outlet for their many gripes. Thanks!

  45. Anonymous says:

    I hope this is a joke because you sound like an ignorant piece of shit

  46. MieKayla says:

    You kind of sound like a douche, man.

  47. Dea says:

    I literally laughed…nay, guffawed like a donkey reading this! Brilliant! I can’t stand Marc, Alex is so smug and Aaron is ok. Would have loved to read your opinion of Jeffrey “pompous-ass”‘Zakarian!! Thanks for the laughs!!

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