Why Amanda Freitag Loves Being A Chopped Judge

Amanda Freitag has been a judge on the culinary competition show "Chopped" for more than 13 years, according to a Mashed exclusive. With that kind of longevity on a cooking series, you might think that Freitag has seen and eaten just about everything under the sun. But the "Iron Chef" contestant wants fans to know that is not the case.

However, being a "Chopped" judge definitely has its pros and cons. On the upside, you get to sample some creative dishes that really test a chef's skills, but on the opposite end of the spectrum, there are some ingredients a judge might never want to come anywhere near their lips. Geoffrey Zakarian shared in a Mashed interview that the worst food he ever had to eat on "Chopped" was a nutria or, as Zakarian explained, a "river rat," while Chris Santos divulged he isn't a fan of chicken feet. Maneet Chauhan revealed the worst dish she ever ate on "Chopped" contained "balut."

So, what makes a celebrity chef love being a judge on "Chopped?" Food Network caught up with Freitag to find out her thoughts and her answer might surprise you.

For Amanda Freitag, judging Chopped 'never gets old'

"Chopped" is definitely a formulaic cooking show. You might have new chefs and new mystery baskets each week, but the structure of the timed competitions and getting to know the contestants only to watch them get chopped until one is crowned the winner doesn't change, per The Atlantic). This is why you might be surprised by Amanda Freitag's answer as to what she loves most about being a judge. She told Food Network that it always feels new. Freitag said, "I think what I love most about it is that it never gets old. You never know what's going to happen."

Freitag further explained, "You have four brand-new chefs, three rounds of baskets, and they're all different. ... Somebody who you think is not going to do well could be the winner. Somebody could fall down and cut themselves and make a great recovery. ... [There are] just so many things that can happen in a competition, and it's never the same."

But, per Premium Hollywood, "Chopped" has also helped Freitag grow as a mentor and has made her refine how she provides critical feedback in a more constructive manner. She told the outlet, "I myself have learned what is good criticism compared to what is just useless berating, and I am not interested in that."