Four chefs, three courses, and only one chance to win. Food Network’s hit cooking game show Chopped is coming to Hopkins on May 12. Spearheaded by Gigi Speer ’18 and a team of over thirty dedicated Hopkins students, this school wide event aims to raise money for the Connecticut Food Bank.
HopChopped, as it’s referred to by its organizers, will take place in Heath Commons. While audience members watch a video livestream in Upper Heath, four Hopkins chefs will take their places in the kitchen below for the competition. There will be three contestants, one each from the Junior, Middle, and Senior schools, plus an additional student or faculty member. Going head-to-head for three elimination rounds, players will attempt to incorporate an unusual combination of mystery ingredients into dishes to be evaluated by a panel of three judges.
On her selection of judges, Speer said, “We had to snag Drew Mindell ’18, who was the runner up on a Chopped Junior Competition [on the Food Network.]”
Recalling his Chopped run as one of the best experiences in his life, Mindell ’18 is thrilled that the essence of the show is coming to Hopkins. Mindell said, “We’re going to try to make Hop Chopped as close to the real Chopped as possible.”
The remaining judges will have displayed a passion “for either food, Hopkins, New Haven.”
Speer continued, “All the vegetarians out there [in the Hopkins community] will be happy to know they’ll be represented by Claire Criscuolo from Claire’s Cornercopia in New Haven, CT. Criscuolo, of course, has great taste buds, helps out the community, and when I called her to pitch the idea, was so proud of the work that Hopkins does for the Connecticut Food Bank, that she was eager to participate.”
Hopkins Food Services Captain Pattie Giufrida said, “I had a lot of fun working with students in the kitchen for [previous fundraisers] and [the kitchen staff] is excited to have more involvement with the students.”
While the format will remain the same as Food Network’s Chopped, there will be some Hopkins-unique twists. Mindell said, “Because this event is going to support the CT Food Bank, every basket will include one sort of canned item.”
Speer added that Tilapia “may or may not be” another ingredient, a call back to a dish that frequents the Hopkins dining hall.
Hop Chopped Faculty Advisor Tracy Bray said, “Organizing CFD [Canned Food Drive] every year has really raised awareness about hunger and poverty in CT...it’s great to see students are
still thinking about that through the entire year, not just at holiday time.” Speer and Mindell added to that sentiment, saying they hope that by facilitating more fundraising events outside of the traditional Hopkins CFD season, it will help students continue to be proactive in fnding ways to commit to community service.