There are nine rotating judges on Chopped, and some have more to offer than others. Since they make a living by judging scared wannabe chefs, I think it’s high time we flip the script and judge them. I only wish I could consult Ted Allen for his insider knowledge. Anyway, here is my definitive ranking:
1. Alex Guarnaschelli
*Bad Bitch Alert!* Alex Guarnaschelli is clearly the best Chopped judge for many reasons. First off, she’s likely the most consistently featured judge. I don’t know the exact numbers behind this, but I’ve seen roughly eleven thousand episodes of Chopped, and she sits on that panel a LOT. Judging style is also an important factor in my ranking – Guarnaschelli takes no prisoners and she most certainly does not fuck around. Her stank face is unparalleled. She’s definitely one of the harshest judges, but it only serves to make her approval more sought-after. When she compliments a chef on the “whimsy” of their chicken and waffles dish, you know their concept was truly inspired. Keep being you, Alex.
2. Geoffrey Zakarian
I must admit I’m biased toward Geoffrey for a few reasons, most notably that we share a pair of clear Warby Parker frames and that his wife is a Buffalo native so he talks about Charlie the Butcher all the time. But he’s also a dope Chopped judge. His swag is consistently on 100 and he always has some funny, snooty ass shit to say. Geoffrey is a fancy lil man who is hardly ever impressed and it makes great television.
3. Chris Santos
Chris Santos is such a grumpy jerk, and I love him. He has basically hated every piece of meat ever put in front of him on Chopped. It’s either “still mooing” or “a hockey puck.” Like, always.
4. Aarón Sánchez
Sánchez brings some much-needed levity to the show when it gets stressful AF. He’s obviously a great chef and really knows his stuff, but truly comes alive when there’s a latin-inspired ingredient or dish. He loves pronouncing the shit no one else can. CACIQUE QUESO FRESCO, ANYONE?
5. Maneet Chauhan
Aw, I love Maneet. She’s so precise and eloquent in her criticism and will tear your fucking dish apart in the sweetest tone of voice.
6. Amanda Freitag
Overall solid judge, definitely knows her stuff, but I don’t get particularly excited to see her featured on the esteemed panel of judges. She just always kinda looks like she’s nervously smiling through pain.
7. Scott Conant
Very large bro. Pretty rude.
8. Marcus Samuelsson
Marcus is a tiny, sophisticated Ethiopian man. He’s one of the least critical judges and tends to be slightly less entertaining to watch.
9. Marc Murphy
Congrats Marc. You are the most boring judge on Chopped.