Awesome / Chopped

  • Not every episode, but about once every other episode one of chefs will completely blow the judges away with one or more dishes.
  • On a few occasions, a contestant has managed to get past the appetizer round while completely forgetting to use one of the basket items. Can you imagine how good the food had to be to compensate for that?
    • In one case, a chef's dish was so good that the judges almost passed her to the next round despite her having only finished one out of four plates.
      • While she may have been chopped that episode, her dish was so good that she was invited to redeem herself on Chopped Redemption, faring much, much better than last time.
  • Yoanne Margis slips in the kitchen during the second round, spilling a pan full of boiling hot water over her legs, getting some pretty serious second degree burns. What does she do? She keeps going through not just the rest of the round, but all the way to the end, despite still being in pain. She even finished second in a very close match against Chef Lance of all people, who was so certain she did better than him. Feeling that his opponent deserved the prize money more than he did, he told the judges to give the $10,000 to her, so she can fly home to France to see her ailing grandmother.
  • On the third heat of the second Champions tournament, the contestants were given a tough basket, and one decides to risk making a cake. She just manages to get it done properly and plate it. After tasting it, judge Alex Guarnaschelli declares it might be the best dessert she's ever had on that show. Considering all the episodes she's been a judge in since the very first season, that's saying something.
    • Not only that, but the opponent opted to make churros dusted with cinnamon, cocoa powder, and instant coffee. And Alex Guarnachelli also declares that churro the best thing she ever tasted! For Alex to declare two desserts in the same round to be the best dessert she's ever had on Chopped, those two contestants had to have been really skilled.
  • Chef Natalia Machado, who won the episode she competed in (and made it to the dessert round in the first heat of the first Chopped Champions tournament), goes on to compete in the show Sweet Genius, which has a similar premise to Chopped, but it focuses entirely on desserts. She proceeds to win that one as well.
    • Chef Jessica Mogardo, known for having achieved victory despite being very nervous to the point of almost crying and throwing up, also competes and wins in Sweet Genius, making her and Chef Natalia the only two chefs who've competed and won in both shows.
  • Anne Burrell won her episode of All-Stars while being blinded in one eye from hot oil. The pain actually got worse as the match went on, and she kept working through it.
  • Jun Tanaka. In the entree round of the third heat of the Chopped Champions tournament, he was preparing frog legs (a required ingredient) when he trips and dropped most of the legs on the floor. He had enough spare frog legs to give a tasting portion to the judges. He recovered very nicely by making the best frog legs made on the show ever. It was so good that he basically made the other chefs look like amateurs compared to him. He singlehandedly won the episode with that one dish, a very difficult feat to do under tournament conditions.
    • Even better: he's a Chopped Grand Champion.
  • Giuseppe Gentile, who immigrated from Italy to the United States in hopes of a better life. He opened up a humble pizza restaurant with no formal education in cooking. He went on to win in his debut episode with a perfect appetizer and dessert, and his entrée's only real flaw was one slightly undercooked ingredient that he wasn't entirely familiar with.
  • During the chopped grill masters 5 part series, the eventual winner hadn't even competed in a grilling competition before Chopped. Talk about setting a high bar in your first outing.
  • Probably one of the most well known Crowning Moments was Madison Cowan absolutely demolishing the competition in his debut episode Crunch Time (which by the way also included the aforementioned Lance Nitahara), producing a completely flawless appetizer and a near flawless dessert. The biggest flaw he had the whole day was putting too many prunes on the plate in the entrée round.
    • After that, he proceeds to go onto the first Chopped Champions tournament and win the whole thing, becoming the first Chopped Grand Champion.
    • It still doesn't stop there. After that, he goes onto Iron Chef America with his Sous Chefs being fellow Chopped competitor Lance Nitahara, and Chopped Judge Amanda Frietag in Battle Kale. And like the last two times, he wins.
  • In an episode called "Short Order Cooks," the contestants consisted of two 11-year-olds and two ten-year-olds (three of the them were elementary school students and one was a middle school student). Despite their ages, all four of the kids were extremely talented at cooking and the judges came to greatly admire and respect their skills and truly believed that they could all become great chefs. And the winner of the episode became the new youngest ever Chopped-champion at only eleven (the previous one being fourteen).
    • In the final round, one of the two contestants (both of whom were girls) made a soufflé for her dessert, and the other contestant was really impressed by this, and admitted that she herself doesn't even know how to make a soufflé.
  • In an episode called "Better Saffron than Sorry," one of the contestants was a chef who was totally deaf (they even brought on a sign language interpreter). The chef was a man named Kurt Ramborger, and he proved to be a really talented chef—he wanted to be an inspiration for the deaf community and for his family (both of his children are deaf like he is and his son wants to follow in his dad's footsteps and become a chef). Sadly, Chef Kurt didn't win the episode—he got eliminated after the second round after he forgot to take the membrane off his lamb testicles, one of the basket ingredients. However, although Chef Kurt was obviously bummed that he didn't win, he was glad to have inspired and raised awareness not only for deaf chefs, but for deaf people in general.
  • Chef Emily's run. She was relatively new to cooking, having fallen back on going to culinary school after a horribly abusive relationship cost her a college scholarship. She's so nervous that she barely raises her voice. Her hands are shaking while she's cooking. She still wins. And she's called back for Chopped: Impossible. She is still clearly intimidated by the judges, especially Robert Irvine, who makes it a point of getting in her face. There's also the fact she's rather petite and Irvine, who's easily two or three times her size (which Chef Emily says so herself), could probably bench press twice her body weight (if not more). She still keeps cooking, winning the qualifier. Her cooking proves steadier than her hands; she fights her way through the finals, and actually manages to beat Irvine at the bonus round for the full $40,000, proving that bravery and courage aren't about being fearless— it's standing your ground and doing the job, even when your hands are shaking.
  • In part five of the "Ultimate Chopped Champion" special, three amateur chefs go up against a professional chef—by the dessert round of that episode, it's just the pro and the remaining "Joe" (amateur chef). And guess who wins? The amateur chef.
  • In a teen chef episode of Chopped, one of the contestants was a boy who got eliminated after the second round, but despite the loss, Marcus Samuelsson (one of the judges in that episode) was so impressed by the boy's cooking skills that he offered him an internship at one of his restaurants, which the boy gladly accepted—even if the boy didn't win the episode, he got a great consolation prize.
  • In the appetizer round of the Teen Chef Championship, one of the teens forgot an ingredient. While she was ultimately chopped, the judges explained (rather blatantly) that the only reason she was being chopped was because she forgot a basket ingredient—other than that, her appetizer was excellent. Very few adult contestants have ever heard this on the way out.
  • Whenever amateur chefs (people who prefer to do cooking as a hobby than a career) compete on the show, most of them prove to be just as good as professional chefs (or even better in some cases). When Laila Ali (one of the daughters of Muhammad Ali) competed on Chopped, she said that she wanted to prove that you don't have to go to culinary school to prove that you're good at cooking.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Awesome/Chopped