The Real Reason Chris Santos Won't Touch Shellfish

Celebrity chef Chris Santos has to eat a lot of strange food as a judge on the reality food competition show "Chopped." The television personality shared with Insider that he has eaten over 1,500 dishes created with ingredients from the show's infamous mystery baskets. He also noted that when chicken feet are part of the basket, they are generally the worst offender in some dishes. Santos explained, "Being served those chicken feet with the sharp talons still attached is rather ... unpleasant. It has happened many times." Seems like a fair squawk to us. 

But chicken feet aren't the only ingredients that Santos is not a fan of. Yes, the show's judges sometimes don't like the ingredients the contestants have to work with any more than the contestants do. Notably, Alex Guarnaschelli shared that she is not a fan of hot dogs when they are part of the mystery basket. And of course, there was that time when one contestant had the ridiculously dangerous idea to serve the judges raw eel, per Food Network. No one enjoyed that. Just as a refresher, eel has to be served cooked because the toxins in its blood are deadly if consumed, according to The Boston Globe. But aside from eel, Santos doesn't like shellfish and won't touch them with a ten-foot pole for a very good reason.

Chris Santos is allergic to shellfish

Speaking to the Food Network, Chris Santos shared that he is not a fan of shellfish in any dish, revealing that he actually suffers from a shellfish allergy. "I'm allergic, so I rarely touch the stuff, so having to deal with live crabs or something like that would be challenging," he said. That means Santos can't savor the likes of lobster, crab, shrimp, clams, oysters, etc., nor can he consume any dishes made from a "Chopped" mystery basket. But Santos is not the only "Chopped" judge who has a food allergy — Amanda Freitag shared with Cooking Light that she is allergic to hazelnuts. How do chefs mitigate these problems when they are appearing as a judge on the show?

Freitag explained that when she is on the set of the "Chopped," there are no hazelnuts around because they are well-aware of her allergy. We assume this is the same for Santos because shellfish allergies sound like they can be really unpleasant. According to Kids Health, allergic reactions to these crustaceans can be mild to severe, even causing anaphylaxis where the person is throwing up and can't breathe. These types of allergies definitely can make for some scary situations.