Heartwarming / Chopped

  • In the pilot episode, two of the competitors seem to be flirting with each other.
    • Also in that episode, a competitor accidentally cuts her hand while chopping. She bleeds pretty heavily, and the judges obviously seem very concerned for her.
  • Any time two finalists like and respect each other, it's pretty awesome to see. More than once, finalists have agreed to go out to drinks after the final decision — with the matter of who's picking up the tab decided by the judges!
  • The finale of the first Chopped Champions tournament, in which the winner's little daughter is on set (unbeknownst to him). Even Alex Guarnaschelli cried!
  • The finale of the Chopped All-Stars tournament. After the winner is congratulated, his son is on set and he shows the judges why he did the tournament: to support the charity that helped his son out.
  • Joe's dinner dish in the "Dread and Breakfast" finale. He decides to make his dish based off a meal he shared with his fiancée whom, by the way, is his reason for being in the competition in the first place.
  • At the end of the eighth-season Second Chance episode, Lance Nitahara won the final round. However, his competitor was a woman from France who wanted to use the prize money to see her ailing grandmother. Chef Lance felt that she deserved the prize money more than he did, and he told Ted and the judges to give the $10,000 to her so she could go to France to see her grandmother.
  • There were two episodes where all the contestants were school lunch ladies—the judges had a lot of respect and admiration for their skills and the contestants were all very polite and courteous to each other, even referring to each other as friends, and although only one them won in both episodes, the ones who lost were happy to have represented the people in their professions and to have raised awareness for things like healthy eating and childhood hunger. In both episodes, after the winner was announced, all the other lunch ladies came out to congratulate the winner, and all their families (and even some students who went to the schools they worked at) come out to congratulate them. And the contestants who lost even got some consolation prizes. For example:
    • In the first episode with lunch ladies, all four got to attend a five-day class at the Culinary Institute of America to further their education in culinary arts.
    • In the second episode, each of the runners-up got a check for $5,000 and all four of the lunchladies and their families got a chance to come to the White House to tour the gardens, meet the kitchen staff and even meet the Obamas.
      • Just to clarify: in both lunch lady episodes, the guest judge was a man named Sam Kass, who worked as a chef and senior policy adviser at the White House, and the main theme in both episodes was the lunch ladies cooking delicious but still healthy foods—like how one of Michelle Obama's main goals as the First Lady was to get Americans to eat healthier.
  • The entirety of the Judges' episode of the second All-Stars Tournament. Geoffrey Zakarian, Amanda Freitag, and Aaron Sanchez watching four of their fellow judges compete, and hating every single elimination, each judge hugging and congratulating the eliminated competitor.
    • Chris Santos' elimination might have been the most tearjerking/heartwarming. He talks about his charity, a foundation treating patients of a disease which only strikes girls (a young cousin of his being one such patient), bringing tears to Alex Guarnaschelli's eyes again and causing Amanda Freitag to practically vault the table to hug him.
    • The first one wasn't much better. It was generally happier given the bickering, but Alex, Chris, and Marc are also obviously uncomfortable judging their fellows, and Alex is close to tears when Amanda is chopped.
  • The teen chef episode. The judges actually declare that they can judge these teens as accomplished chefs, respect them and their passion, and in the end, all the eliminated competitors are given a $1,000 dollar gift card (and two of them are given scholarships to a prestigious culinary school).
    • The teen tournament also had another bit of heartwarming. On one of the rounds, two girls made it to the last round. As they await the results, they are holding each other's hands in support no matter which of them gets chopped.
  • Major feels in the "Unsung Heroes" episode. Each competitor is someone who serves their community with food (cooking for poor kids, seniors, or people at dietary risk because of illnesses). The judges even come out and say that it's hard to eliminate any of them just because they're all so admired. One chef breaks down crying when she describes her work and it's kinda tough not to join in with her. The winner gleefully does push-ups at the end of the episode.
  • There was a very nice bit of sportsmanship in the episode themed around upscale brunch ingredients. In the appetizer round, Chef Joyce forgot to use her caviar until the final seconds, and then could not open the package to save her life. Chef Nick — directly to Joyce's right — hadn't used all of his caviar and handed his opened package to her, and she managed to at least get the ingredient on all four plates before time ran out. Chef Joyce's dish got a lukewarm reception from the judges, and later they explicitly confirmed that she'd have been chopped if the caviar hadn't made it onto the plate (Marc Murphy thought to ask Chef Nick whether he remembered that $10,000 was at stake). These two wound up facing each other in the dessert round — Chef Nick was the winner.
  • Pretty much the whole "Grandma vs. Grandma" episode, in which four grandmothers competed, but the crowner has to be the conversation between the final two contestants holding hands and wishing they could both win. Then, for the grandma who does win, they have her husband make a surprise visit with flowers at the very end. Awwww!
    • The first grandmother to be eliminated mentioned that she and her husband loved traveling, and explained that if she had won the prize money, they wanted to use some of it to do missionary work in Africa for their church (she explained that to do the missionary program, you have to come up with the money yourself).
  • In the Chopped Grand Champion episode from season three, the winner of the episode ended up being a Japanese chef from England. The judges even got the chef's parents on a video chat, and the guy's parents said they were really proud of their son for winning and their son said that each of the desserts he made were inspired by his mom, who taught a baking class when he was a kid.
  • While also doubling as somewhat of a Tear Jerker, in an episode where all the contestants were college students (called "College Challenge"), one of the contestants was a girl who was a sophomore at New York University, and she said that part of the reason she was competing on the show was to honor one of her older brothers—he worked as a professional chef and auditioned to be on a bunch of different cooking shows, but, tragically, was killed a car accident before he could do so. The girl said she wanted to "finish what he started." The girl went on to win the episode.
  • In the Father's Day special, when the winner was revealed, the first thing the runner-up did was smile and hug the winner in congratulations. The winner was obviously really touched by this and the judges were impressed by it as well, admitting that they had never seen anything like that before.
  • In a Thanksgiving special where all the contestants were people who worked and/or volunteered in soup kitchens, one of the contestants was an elderly woman who cooked for an LGBTQ+ youth shelter. She made it to the entrée round, but accidentally left an ingredient off one of the plates. When she was asked to make the case as to why she ought to go onto the next round and an opponent should be chopped? Well, most chefs point out flaws in their opponents' dishes while pointing out the highlights of their own. She held her head up high and praised her opponents' work, saying she was fine with being chopped because the other two were better. The old lady did get chopped, but she walked out with her head held high and a smile. The episode's winner? A Franciscan nun!
    • The same elderly lady was asked why she chose to work in a youth shelter, and she enthusiastically talked about how hanging out with all the kids and teenagers kept her mentally sharp and made her feel young at heart.
      • Also a nice thing in that episode is that the losers got $1,000 donations for the soup kitchens where they cooked.
  • In an episode called "Momumental," all the contestants were mothers, and at the very end of the episode, after the winner was announced, the other three moms came back out, and all four were awarded with Chopped chef jackets. Another really nice thing was that the husbands and children of the four moms came out to congratulate them. The mom who won had said that her children didn't know she was competing on the show, but they apparently really did - because they came out to congratulate her for winning.
    • A nice moment of bonding between two of the contestants was between the mom that won and the runner-up of the episode—the mom that won worked as a police officer and was raising her children as a single parent, and the runner-up revealed that her own mother had raised her as a single parent, so she could understand what the winner and her children were going through.
      • A similar incident happened during the final part of the five-part Chopped Ultimate Champion special—the mom that won in "Momumental" was the final amateur chef to go up against the professional chef in that final part of the special, and the pro had mentioned in past episodes that his own mom had raised him and his sister as a single parent, so he could understand what the woman and her children were going through. The professional chef lost to the amateur, and he admitted that while he was bummed that he lost, it was more about losing the prize than the whole "professional losing to an amateur." In fact, the professional was actually really happy for the winner and hoped for the best in her future.
  • In an episode called "First Responders," the contestants consisted of two NYPD officers, an FDNY officer and a paramedic from New York City. During the first round, when the paramedic is presenting her meal, Maneet Chauhan (one of the judges in that episode) mentioned that not that long before the episode occurred, her young daughter (who was around three at the time of the episode), had an extremely high fever (I believe it was 106 degrees) in the middle of the night, so Maneet and her husband called 911 for the emergency paramedics, who were able to help their daughter. Maneet goes on to express thankfulness and admiration for the people who do what the people in the occupations of the contestants do to help others.
    • The FDNY officer wanted to win the prize money to help the widows and/or orphans of fallen FDNY officers, which is really sweet.
    • One of the two NYPD officers was a woman who was a police sergeant, and she mentioned that she had grown up in a really dangerous area in Brooklyn as a kid—she said that the cops were basically like superheroes to her, which was what ultimately inspired her to become a police officer in the first place.
  • In the episode with the four army chefs, it came down to Chef Robbie and Chef Jacoby, both of whom were recipients of Heartwarming moments. Chef Robbie had been discharged due to severe PTSD and was playing to win money to take his family with him on a nice vacation, while Chef Jacoby was a Navy man who was out of the service and wanted more time with his family and to start his own cooking business. Chef Robbie won in a split decision (his deconstructed sundae as well as Jacoby's bread pudding and crumble were excellent dishes), and even Scott Conant had nothing but praise for Chef Jacoby, telling him "Welcome to our circle" with all the judges believing he had an amazing future as a chef.
    • A heartwarming having to do with Chef Robbie—he was one of the contestants in the "Heroes" segment of the five-part Chopped Ultimate Champion, along with the winner from "Momumental," and during the dessert round, one of things that the mom was doing was cooking sugar on the stove as part of her dessert, but while she's away from it, Chef Robbie removes from the heat before it catches fire and lets her know this. She was thankful for it, and Ted and the judges were impressed and touched by this.
  • Whenever celebrities or other famous people compete on Chopped (and other cooking shows for that matter), they're always competing for a charity of some kind—like a children's charity, a charity that helps underprivileged people, a charity they themselves started, or even a charity that may have helped them in the past. It's really sweet to see them doing stuff like that to help others.

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