Why Some Fans Are Upset About Cliff Crooks Returning To Food Network

Second chances are hard to come by. Some people think chef Cliff Crooks should never have been allowed on TV again after he was disqualified from "Top Chef" after attacking a fellow contestant. There's a lot to be said for demanding accountability from people who have done wrong by removing them from positions of power. But it's at odds with another popular American narrative: the redemption story. Crooks said he has learned from the mistakes of his past.

What happened with Cliff Crooks on "Top Chef?" He was kicked off Season 2 of the show after wrestling another chef to the ground in an attempt to shave his head (via Today). In a Bravo blog, a show producer called the incident a prank that went too far. Even the target of the prank, contestant Marcel Vigneron, was sorry to see Crooks leave the show like that.

Fast-forward 14 years, and Crooks gets his own Food Network show: "Chef Boot Camp." But his TV résumé includes more than that. Several years ago, Crooks was on "Hell's Kitchen" and "Chopped Junior," according to his IMDb page. Crooks is getting plenty of TV time this year, with appearances on "Tournament of Champions" and "Worst Cooks in America," in addition to "Chef Boot Camp."

Food Network renewed Cliff Crooks' 'Chef Boot Camp' for another season

Some food-TV fans are upset to see Cliff Crooks in the spotlight after that prank gone wrong on "Top Chef" 14 years ago (via Bravo). Redditor MysteriousPlatypus posted on June 9, "I refuse to watch anything he is in. I can't look at him without remembering how he assaulted a fellow chef on national television." Redditor BigBet0 expressed the same sentiment a few months ago in their thread, writing, "Anyone who assaults someone should not be back on television."

Redditors were divided over how to respond to Crooks' presence on TV. While some refused to watch him, others were more forgiving. "After the 'TC' debacle, I was very impressed with how he handled it," one Redditor commented on the "MysteriousPlatypus" post. "Humility, empathy, remorse, ownership ... frankly he couldn't have handled it better."

For his part, Crooks told Move magazine his "Top Chef" experience taught him he had room to grow. And grow he has. When not running from one TV studio to another, Crooks works as culinary director of BLT Restaurant Group, overseeing restaurants around the world, according to the company's website.

Crooks has support where it really counts: in Food Network's executive offices. As soon as Season 1 of "Chef Boot Camp" wrapped, they ordered Season 2 (via Deadline). "He is a fantastic talent who immediately resonated with our audience, and we knew quickly they wanted to see more of him," network president Courtney White said.