Why Scott Conant Loves Being A Chopped Judge

Scott Conant is a James Beard Award-winning chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author known for his deep fondness for and expert knowledge of Italian cuisine. Since its premiere in 2009, he has also sat on the panel for "Chopped," the renowned Food Network program in which chefs from various walks of life rustle up unique three-course meals. In 2020, Chef Conant began his reign as the host of one of the show's spinoff series, "Chopped Sweets," which focuses on dessert courses.

Being a judge for a cooking show like "Chopped" is tough work, especially when tacked onto an already packed schedule. But there are obviously some amazing perks that come with such a coveted role. For fellow chef and judge Amanda Freitag, for example, it's the continual newness and endless surprises that keep her on board. "[There are] just so many things that can happen in a competition, and it's never the same," she dished to Food Network. So, what does Scott Conant love most about being a "Chopped" judge?

Scott Conant enjoys meeting new chefs

Whether you're a novice or a seasoned veteran in the kitchen, the culinary world can be extremely challenging, not to mention fun and rewarding. And given the communal nature of most kitchens, you'll also likely have the chance to meet a whole lot of people along your journey. A professional cooking career is one that requires patience, inventiveness, open-mindedness, attention to detail, and the ability to take criticism well — in addition to, of course, preparing an ever-expanding roster of dishes. As a longtime "Chopped" judge, Scott Conant enjoys speaking with chefs who are early on in their careers and offering bits of wisdom in hopes that they will take them to heart and improve their skills.

"When we started doing this in the very beginning, the reason that it was interesting to me and continues to this day is because it's really an opportunity to speak to young chefs, and have them be a little bit more thoughtful about the decisions they make in cooking," Chef Conant told Food Network. "I feel like it kind of opens up some discussion; it opens up some ideas; it allows people to be a little bit creative." While competing on "Chopped" is a dream come true for many, getting to discuss the trade with a veteran chef like Conant is also an honorable experience.