Why Geoffrey Zakarian Loves Being A Chopped Judge

Celebrity chef and TV personality Geoffrey Zakarian has been in the culinary space for a long time and knows what to expect on a competitive show like "Chopped." That said, he's had some unexpected experiences on the show. For instance, he once recalled eating Nutria as a judge and not enjoying it at all. As he told Mashed in an exclusive interview, "It's a rat. It's an aquatic rat and it's just not cool. It's a river rat, it tastes like what you would think a rat would taste like, but we had to taste it and use it."

Zakarian also understands that it's not easy to be a part of a show like "Chopped" and once told Woman's Day that he gets the opportunity to take a look at the ingredients beforehand and always empathizes with the contestants who have to find innovative ways to cook with the mystery ingredients. Zakarian explained, "The show starts [filming] at six in the morning, so whatever you get in the basket, you just pray that the culinary people upstairs will be nice to you."

At the end of the day, Zakarian is glad that he's a part of the show and loves the gig for a specific reason, according to the Food Network.

Geoffrey Zakarian is very passionate about the gig

Geoffrey Zakarian told the Food Network that for him, being a "Chopped" judge is a highly enjoyable experience, something that he's grateful for. He said, "The best part about my job is it's not a job. I get up, go to work, I don't feel like I'm working. I come home, I'm tired, but I don't feel like I've been working."

In a Reddit AMA, Zakarian discussed his judging process on the show and said that he uses chopsticks for the sake of his health, writing, "Because eating all the food I eat on 'Chopped,' it's really important that I moderate the amount of food I put in my mouth." With chopsticks, Zakarian can sample the food in small portions before proceeding to "take a full bite." He also revealed that if it was up to him, he would choose ingredients such as eggs, sugar, butter, and flour and ask the chefs to make an impressive meal. He said, "I would challenge someone to really bake for dinner."