Chopped is one of the Food Network‘s most popular and longest-running shows, airing more than 40 seasons since 2009. Fans can’t get enough of the fast-paced cooking competition show, with chefs competing to create the tastiest three-course meal using a basket of mystery ingredients.
The judges that preside over the show are accomplished chefs in their own right, including Amanda Freitag, who has worked in the kitchens of many famous restaurants.
Recently, fans of the show have been wondering if she’ll ever get her own cooking show.
Amanda Freitag’s recipe for success
Freitag is a New Jersey native and was encouraged to follow her passion for food by everyone from her grandparents to her home economics teacher. After high school, she went to the Culinary Institute of America, graduating in 1989. Freitag started her career working at the upscale New York City restaurant, Vong, learning the art of merging French technique with Southeast Asia’s flavors and ingredients.
From there, she took a position in the kitchen of Verbena, one of the top new restaurants in the city, at the time. Her talent didn’t go unnoticed. She worked her way up the ranks, eventually becoming the chef de cuisine. At Verbena, she discovered the importance of cooking with the freshest local, organic, and seasonal ingredients.
Always on a quest to learn more, Freitag spent much of 1999 exploring the vibrant food and restaurant scene in France and Italy. While in Paris, she spent a few weeks working with acclaimed chef Alain Passard at his famous Arpege restaurant.
When she returned to the states, she brought everything she learned in Europe to several of New York City’s most high profile eateries, including il Buco, Cesca, Gusto, and The Harrison in TriBeCa.
Making the jump from the kitchen to the TV studio
Freitag’s extensive restaurant experience and long list of accolades brought her to the Food Network’s attention. The network asked her to compete on the 7th season of Iron Chef America, where she battled chef Bobby Flay in an episode that aired in February 2009.
Though her Alaskan King Crab dishes lost to Flay by just one point, her personality and skill were enough for the network to make her a judge on their new cooking competition show Chopped. Freitag remains a regular judge on the show.
While she seems tough on the show, Freitag told POPSUGAR: “I get totally edited. I’m funny behind the scenes. I’m funny sometimes with the chefs. I think they capture those moments when I’m being stern. That’s only one part of me. The other fun-loving, playful part is the other 80 percent. It’s hard. I have to be a judge; I have to be intimidating and serious.”
In 2015, she began co-hosting American Diner Revival with Ty Pennington. On the show, the two travel the country to revitalize struggling diners with physical and menu makeovers.
She’s also contributed to other Food Network shows like Unique Eats and Guilty Pleasures. Freitag released her first cookbook in the fall of 2015, called The Chef Next Door: A Pro Chefs Recipes for Fun, Fearless Home Cooking.
Fans want Amanda Freitag to have her own Food Network show
Freitag has been a mainstay and a fan favorite on the Food Network for many years. In a recent Reddit thread, the question was asked: Which Chopped judge would you like to see have their own show? Many users voted for Freitag, with one saying, “Definitely Amanda Freitag for me, that would probably become my number one favorite show on the network.”
Another added: “Amanda and most chefs on Guy’s Ranch show.”
Freitag’s fan following, combined with her 20 years of restaurant experience and her bubbly, warm, relatable personality, would lend itself well to a cooking show all her own.
While the Food Network hasn’t bitten on that idea yet, during the Coronavirus pandemic, Freitag has been using her YouTube channel to help home chefs with their adventures in the kitchen.
Over the past few months, she’s covered everything from how to make guacamole, crepes, and homemade hummus to patty melts, omelets, and mac and cheese. Earlier this month, Freitag also announced a partnership with the meal subscription service Blue Apron.
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