A Need for Narrative in Food Network’s Chopped

One of my favorite channels on Television is The Food Network. My siblings and I love watching Chopped during summer and winter breaks. During each episode that we watch, we tend to offer our own ideas and improvements to the dishes. Sometimes we even feel inspired and host our own chopped-style competitions in our own kitchen. Our parents usually serve as the judges, and of course my mom never has the heart to pick a winner.  

Chopped features personal story lines for each contestant. Each episode begins with the backstories of the contestants, an attempt to add an emotional appeal and more of a plot to the episode. Some contestants are top chefs at restaurants, and others are amateurs. These stories personify the dishes to an extent. For example, there may be a woman of Indian heritage who will incorporate her culture’s cooking style into her own cooking during the competition.

I think it is very interesting that this show is so successful at using this technique, and I believe this is what makes the show so successful. Audiences may get a bit bored watching a television show of people cooking, but since the content is paired with personal stories it becomes more of a narrative, and the food becomes more of a statement for the contestants.

Here is a recent article by foxnews.com that discusses this need for narrative in the cooking show Chopped

-Kelsey Sierra

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6 Responses to A Need for Narrative in Food Network’s Chopped

  1. mediaphiles says:

    Chopped is one of my favorite shows too. I actually disagree, I do not like the narratives and the life stories. I find it irrelevant to the show and the cooking. I’m more interested in the thought process of how they came up with their dishes. I also like when they explain what they are doing and why they are doing it. It helps me think of new things to try in the kitchen.

    Laya Mohan

  2. mediaphiles says:

    I’m with Laya on this one. I think the show purposefully includes personal stories to make everyday people seem more interesting or relatable, rather than amazing chefs working to earn a prize. It seems like they need to fill time. I understand the narrative has a purpose, but I don’t think its necessary to enjoy the cooking. Would the show be different if there were not narrative included? Yes. Does the show need it to be interesting? No. — Serena Daya

  3. mediaphiles says:

    I love this show! The narratives are sometimes corny, but they always make me giggle. It all seems pretty staged, but I fall for it every time! I love seeing how creative they get with the foods and talking about the different types of ways to combine the flavors to make a unique palette for the judges.

    Alexandra Peralta

  4. mediaphiles says:

    I totally agree with you! Although I’ve never seen Chopped, I do think that competition shows are more effective when the contestant’s personal stories are a part of the show. I strongly feel that the success of a show depends on its ability to create a storyline that the audience can relate to. The only cooking show that I’ve ever watched was Cake Boss and I absolutely loved it, so I will definitely plan on tuning into Chopped next time it is on! – Allie Kleinman

  5. mediaphiles says:

    I agree with Laya & Serena, I don’t like the personal narratives. It constantly has me wondering if I’m watching a true life documentary or a cooking show. I do realize that the narratives relate to each chef’s dish but I would rather them focus on the cooking itself and the chef’s cooking history. Overall, this show is great and I love watching it!

    -Meghan Murphy

  6. mediaphiles says:

    The Food Network makes me so hungry and it makes me want to learn to cook so I can make dishes like those for my family and friends. The narrative is needed because just having people cooking would be boring, especially because it takes so much time to do. Without narrative, what would fill in the space? You would have to do multiple episodes within a thirty minute broadcast and that would mean finding more contestants, spending more money, and cycling through more ideas. I am not a personal fan of the narrative, but I can definitely see the advantage of incorporating it on Chopped.

    -turner arrington

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