The Food Trend That Ted Allen Can't Stand

There are good food trends and bad ones. Good ones are wildly popular, but there's a reason for their ubiquity: Things like avocado toastkale salad, and bubble tea stick around even after the haters have had their say because they're just that good. Bad food trends are things that were never that good to begin with, considered too expensive for what they offer, or are just used incorrectly much of the time. What's even worse than hopping on a bad food trend is sticking with it after the rest of the world has moved on and you're stuck making fancy, silly food that doesn't even taste good.

Beloved "Chopped" host Ted Allen has a very broad palate and is willing to try almost anything (though he admits having an aversion to liver, per Food Network). But that doesn't mean he tolerates mediocrity or using ingredients willy-nilly. All of the judges on "Chopped," including Geoffrey Zakarian, have a bit of an obsession with salting food properly, something Ted Allen has previously explained to fans. Allen has been clear about his pet peeves and the many ways of failing on "Chopped" (per Mashable), including his frustration with chefs using ingredients as garnishes instead of incorporating them into their recipes. He is a patient man, too, but he apparently has no patience for poseurs. 

Stay away from the truffle oil

So what's one of the worst things you can do if you're ever on "Chopped?" Trying to impress Allen and the other judges by hopping on a bad food trend that's already stale. While a number of the other pitfalls to avoid on the show involve technical skill, there is at least one ingredient you should categorically avoid adding at any cost.

So what is it? Truffle Oil. Adding it is a flaw so fatal that Allen even took time out to tweet on it specifically. To quote the man directly, "Why do we dislike truffle oil on #Chopped? Most is synthetic & contains no truffle. It's strong, & tends to overwhelm a dish. It was trendy (a long time ago), & we don't like trendiness. It feels pretentious, now—a cheap way to try to make a dish seem fancy." (per Twitter)

What judges are looking for on "Chopped" can be mysterious, but it starts with skill, innovation, a good backstory (which they'll never tell you on air), and the ever-elusive combination of perfectionism and flexibility. There are no shortcuts to success, but if there's a highway to "Chopped" hell, it's paved with heavily-scented truffle oil emulsions.