The Surprising Way Tiffani Faison Learned To Cook

Though she's technically not a permanent judge on the show, Tiffany Faison appears on "Chopped" regularly enough that viewers always seem to have something to say about her whenever she comes on screen. Whether it be her supposedly pretentious attitude or her overly critical remarks, Faison isn't received well by fans, despite being clearly well-respected amongst the other judges and the Food Network. Her stint on Season 1 of Bravo's "Top Chef," for which she was infamously known as the "knife-wielding villain," didn't do her reputation any favors either.

Regardless of how she's perceived by non-professionals, Faison is a highly accomplished restaurateur, and there's no doubt she's more than qualified to be a "Chopped" judge and a Top Chef. It's clear her style is far more cutthroat than, say, The Pioneer Woman or Mary Berry, but there's a rhyme and reason to it. It's all due to how Faison got her start in the food industry and how she learned to cook.

Tiffani Faison never intended on becoming a chef

Boston Magazine reports that Tiffani Faison scraped her way to the top of the food industry, and she's been dealing with naysayers her whole career. As a result, she refuses to play games when it comes to food. Faison didn't go to culinary school, but rather started working in restaurants as a teenager, doing everything from making milkshakes at 1950s-themed diners to waitressing and bartending across Colorado.

It was only when she moved to Boston in her 20s to bus tables at Bonfire Steakhouse that Faison realized she wanted to become a chef and began advocating for herself as a professional. The predominantly male restaurant crew doubted her abilities from the beginning, but Faison went from being a food-expeditor to a line cook, and became such a force in the kitchen that she left to take a sous chef position elsewhere before eventually becoming an executive chef and her own boss.

Though Food Network audiences might not realize it, Faison's success was not given to her on a silver platter. She might've learned to cook under unconventional circumstances, but she certainly knows what she's talking about when it comes to food, even if that translates to her being the "snobbish know-it-all" some Redditors see her as.