PegLeg Porker Shares What It's Like to Get Chopped



I really like to read behind-the-scenes accounts. In fact, I like to write them too. So that's why I was tickled when my friend Carey Bringle, the PegLeg Porker himself, shared the inside story of his appearance on the Food Network's Chopped.

For those of you who tuned in, it's no spoiler to say PegLeg got the big chop after the first appetizer round, thanks to the unfortunate addition of a raw shrimp head as a last-second garnish for his plate of shrimp and grits. Dude. Raw shrimp? But his description of what 20 minutes of sheer panic actually feels like to a competitor is quite amusing and fascinating.

Some highlights:

My experience on Food Network’s show Chopped was invigorating, humbling, nerve-racking and fun. Let me say this. In order to compete on this show, you have to have, as Dabney Coleman would say, “Balls as Big as Church Bells."

If that's true, I would have expected Carey to win for sure.

We arrived on set and it was pretty cool. We were shooting at old Tucson Studios in the middle of the Sonoran desert. This is the place where they shot dozens of Westerns. John Wayne filmed here; hell … Three Amigos was shot here. How cool was this?

Pretty damned, if you ask me.

We were showed our places and then escorted to the saloon to wait. “Are you guys ready?” said the producers. … ”I am about to crap my pants” is what I think I said. We were all full of nervous energy.

It sounds like that's not all Carey was full of ...

I had a little time to spare, I was proud of myself, after all, I had all four ingredients on my plate and I had a pretty solid dish. I thought to myself, “Hey man, let’s take this over the top. Let’s add a little garnish.” So I did. Shrimp heads. I had seen them on many a fancy plate with the tentacles sticking up majestically in the air. I plopped them right beside my grits sticking stra w, wonderful. ... In the background I heard Ted counting down 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 … chefs, time’s up. Then it hit me. My shrimp heads were not majestic and pink. They were raw, slimy and blue. Oh shit, that is a food hazard.

If you'd like to read the full account, head over to the PegLeg blog. That's also where I'm sure he will share the details of an exciting future venture which you can read about when he finally pulls the trigger and lifts the embargo on his food writer buddies (cough, cough). I'm sure that raw shrimp will not be on the menu. ...

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