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Why are food show contestants dangerous with knives?


BadRabbit
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I watch quite a few of the food contest shows (Chopped, Top Chef, Hell's Kitchen, etc...) and the frequency with which someone cuts themselves is really amazing. It seems nearly every episode has someone with a blood engorged latex finger covering on their left hand.

I've worked in high pressure, high speed kitches and people are going to occasionally cut themselves but it didn't happen every night or even every week (maybe not even once a month). I still process at rapid speed when I'm cooking at home and I haven't cut myself in over a year.

Why are these professionals cutting themselves so much?

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Adrenaline, excitement, nerves, pressure, etc.

All those things exist in normal kitchens (though not quite on the same level). It still seems like the incidence rate on those shows are high.

My guess was that a lot of the guys on these shows are accomplished chefs who don't do a whole lot of prep work anymore and don't have the knife skills that they once had or at least can't process at the speed they once could.

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Adrenaline, excitement, nerves, pressure, etc.

All these things, plus they are on TV! They may be used to pressure in the kitchen, but I would guess there is at least a different kind of nervousness when you know you have a national audience of potentially new customers, who may choose to come or not come to your restaurant based on your performance. And then there are all the lights, the countdown clock and someone in the next room rehearsing clever criticisms they will say directly to your face. It's gotta be tough, and things happen =/

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Adrenaline, excitement, nerves, pressure, etc.

All these things, plus they are on TV! They may be used to pressure in the kitchen, but I would guess there is at least a different kind of nervousness when you know you have a national audience of potentially new customers, who may choose to come or not come to your restaurant based on your performance. And then there are all the lights, the countdown clock and someone in the next room rehearsing clever criticisms they will say directly to your face. It's gotta be tough, and things happen =/

Having a camera in your face, and 2 other camera operators and cable-pullers crawling around the kitchen behind you, and the lights, and the mic equpiment hanging off of you (battery pack and transmitter, since they're all wireless) and the snarky hosts changes EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING. Not to mention being interrupted in the middle of your 20 minute cook-time *BY* the snarky host/co-host who asks you inane questions like..."how're you handling the pressure?"

I'm surprised we don't see more injuries, actually. TeeeVeee is nothing like real life.

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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*I* think some producer surreptitiously greases the knife handles to ensure drama.

No need to, because...

. . . . a camera in your face, and 2 other camera operators and cable-pullers crawling around the kitchen behind you, and the lights, and the mic equpiment hanging off of you (battery pack and transmitter, since they're all wireless) and the snarky hosts changes . . . .

...are all almost guaranteed to make for sweaty, and possibly even (bragadaccio notwithstanding) trembly hands.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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