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Should 'Chopped All-Stars' have chopped the 'puppy' comment?

March 7, 2011 |  6:14 pm

Ted_Brad_Michael_Ep 1
Michael, step away from the litter of puppies.

Food Network's "Chopped All-Stars" kicked off a five-episode stint Sunday night featuring the channel's favorite hosts, chefs and fan-favorite contestants facing the dreaded chopping block under the watchful eye of host Ted Allen. First up: former competitors on "The Next Food Network Star," including L.A. restaurant consultant Debbie Lee, Brad Sorenson, Michael Proietti and Lisa Garza.

The four had returned for their shot at redemption -- a chance to prove that they should have won their own Food Network show. I was especially pleased to see Michael, one of my favorite "TNFNS" contestants ever. (I was ready to sign on to Global a Go-Go from the very first time Michael opened his mouth.)

Flamboyant, charming, sweet, funny, Michael was the whole package –- until the cameras focused on him. Then, he froze up. Which is weird, because there were obviously cameras on him the whole time. He would only freeze up when mock-hosting his own food show. Which. Um. Was the whole point of the exercise. Well, watching him last night I marveled at how he seemed to have used his post–TNFNS time to regroup and grow more confident and comfortable in front of the camera.

And that's what makes his wisecrack at the end seem so unfortunate. "I will kill a litter of puppies to win," he said.

Yes, yes, yes, I know he was just joking. I don't think Michael is capable of harming anything, much less a litter of puppies.

But that's all the more reason why Food Network shouldn't have aired the comment.

Such a flippant, offhanded remark doesn't really represent Michel, and producers should have reconsidered using such a tasteless comment to represent "Chopped" or Food Network.

What do you think? Did Michael go too far? Should Food Network have used that comment? Or am I being too critical?


-- It's time to turn the table on "Chopped" judges

-- 10 Mardi Gras recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen

-- Fig & Olive celebrates with a splashy opening

-- Breaking down a bell pepper

--Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: Brad Sorenson and Michael Proietti, at right, prepare to face off in the dessert round as host Ted Allen looks on. Food Network