Chopped Judge Marc Murphy Reveals The Biggest Mistakes Contestants Always Make - Exclusive

Cooking competition shows like Chopped feature talented people under pressure to outperform in extreme conditions. Seeing what these chefs can pull off is what makes them so fun to watch even after 49 seasons (via Food Network), but it's perhaps even more entertaining to see in what new ways the contestants fail. Chopped judge Marc Murphy knows the familiar pitfalls, having appeared as a regular on the show for over a decade. Murphy explained to Mashed in an exclusive interview that he can spot certain mistakes right away that will run out the clock. Chopped contestants are given the task of creating a delicious meal with limited ingredients and minimal amount of time, but Murphy says cooks often go too big, like trying to roast a whole ribeye or make delicate wontons, which require precision over multiple steps. Just because something works in the kitchen elsewhere, doesn't mean it will help when facing the show's basket of mystery ingredients and ticking clock.

As a professional chef who has run multiple restaurants over the years, Murphy says that underestimating the timeframe is a "trick that people fall into sometimes." Ribeye might be an excellent dish if you have 90 minutes, but Chopped contestants need to butcher, cook, and serve their creation in just 30. Despite being presented with options, the judge's biggest piece of advice is to know the "limits of the ingredient" and be mindful of the limits of the show.

Murphy also advises contestants to just avoid certain foods when against the clock. "What always kills me is when people are like making little raviolis or wontons," Murphy says, explaining "all that little, tiny, tiny work" uses up a lot of precious time — and mistakes are bound to happen when under so much pressure. The chef admits even after filming for many seasons he is still surprised by why anyone would make the competition harder on themselves. Murphy admits he might assume the worst when seeing a contestant folding delicate corners and taking time to perform an egg wash. "I can see it now," he joked, "we're each going to get one wonton out of this."

Contestants frequently battle with the ice cream machine

The ice cream machine is a point of contention for this Chopped judge. Murphy says underestimating how fast the show's professional grade machine can turn ice cream results in a consistent fail. "It drives me crazy," explains the chef, when contestants ruin the potential for ice cream by letting it churn for too long, and instead "just turn it into butter." The mistake is so common for the stressed-out cooks that Murphy now recognizes the sound of the mixture churning past its delicious state. "You can hear it start struggling," he says "you're like, 'Ugh, well, we're not going to have a good ice cream now. We're going to have some piece of butter on the plate.'" The judge explained it should only take five to seven minutes to make ice cream in a professional mixer like the ones contestants use on Chopped. "It's like, 'Haven't you watched the show before?'" Murphy jokes, "come on." Now maybe chefs will think twice about not setting a timer before running off to finish the rest of their dessert. The judge explained there's been "many memorable dishes" on Chopped – for better for worse. 

As someone who has struggled with dyslexia, Murphy is focused on helping others move past similar challenges. To learn more about Braintrust Tutors, the "modern tutoring company" which helps connect children with the best certified teachers for their needs, head over to You can also watch chef Marc Murphy on the upcoming season of Chopped, airing on the Food Network.