Chopped contestants come from all types of cooking backgrounds, which is part of what makes the show so appealing to us. We love to see people living their dreams, so we were certainly impressed to see young chef Greg Grossman (@Greg_Grossman) holding his own against the adults recently. We spoke to Greg about how he got started in the kitchen as well as his experience on Chopped and his foodie pleasures.
FP: How did you get your start with cooking?
GG: To be honest, my start in the culinary industry was not preconceived, or even something that I was interested in getting involved in. I always had a passion for food, eating specifically, which eventually manifested as an interest in the operation of kitchens. When I was young(er) I started off washing dishes and bussing tables in a local restaurant after school five days a week. One day, one of the sous-chefs was out sick, and I ended up getting the opportunity to help in the kitchen during prep and service. Cooking quickly evolved into my passion. The rest, as I’d like to think, is history.
FP: Tell us about your experience on Chopped from casting to filming. What was it like to compete with the other chefs? What will you remember most about the experience?
GG: I was talked into going on Chopped by one of my close mentors. He had gotten others casted for the show in the past, and thought that it would be a good learning experience for me. I was hesitant at first, but gave in and decided to go in for a casting interview. I was informed that they were casting for a “Chopped Junior” episode, which I expected them to cast me for. To my surprise, after interviewing me, they told me that I would be on the normal adult series.
As for the filming, it is definitely more difficult than it looks. One of the most difficult aspects is that you are truly in a kitchen that you have never seen or worked in before, completely out of your element. The timing is real, as are the competitors.
The most memorable aspect of the filming experience was when I left one of the mystery basket ingredients in the oven. To be completely honest, I didn’t remember that I left them there, and believe that I wouldn’t have been Chopped if I had gotten them on the plate. It’s too bad, as I had time at the end of the round, and the turnips completely slipped my mind. Though the Judges did say that my dish was fantastic and one of the better of the round, I regretfully understand that they had to “Chop” me.
FP: Sounds like you had a great experience!
What are some of your guilty pleasures? We like to call them foodie pleasures, hence the name 🙂
GG: Pleasures… My physician is going to hate me, as I should probably be working on lowering my cholesterol (occupational hazard), but when I’m looking for a guilty pleasure food, I inevitably migrate towards richer offerings. Bone marrow, Foie Gras, Paté, sweetbreads, even just a great burger or steak. My “healthy” guilty pleasure is Oysters. I recently started an Oyster and Raw Bar catering company with a good friend, Chef Rob McCue, as I love oysters and clams. If i’m looking to splurge, I’ll easily sit down and enjoy a few dozen oysters and littlenecks.
FP: Oysters are definitely one of our foodie pleasures for sure!
Thank you Greg for your time. We have no doubt you have a bright future ahead!