Food Network Chopped Grill Masters, Part XI – Epilogue

August 3rd, 20155 Comments



Episode 3 Dessert Round Battle between Leslie Roark Scott and Harry


As I write this epilogue blog a week after Episode 3 aired on July 28, 2015, I have been processing, in my head, the many emails, text messages, and social media posts I’ve received or read about the show. First and foremost, thank you all so very much for your support and kindness. Perhaps I’ll be invited back for a Redemption Round for the creativity and grilling techniques that I demonstrated.



Start of Episode 3 with all four Grill Masters


I’m plenty busy working on my new barbecue sauce coming in August 2015 and more rubs. I’ve also been asked to add a grilling class to my already sold out barbecue classes so the exposure on Chopped Grill Masters got the word out that I teach five-star rated cooking classes. I’ve taught at the Coast Guard Culinary Academy in Petaluma, Weber Stephens in Schaumburg, London, Hawaii, and many other states.


Mystery basket for Dessert Round


Donna and I also took a much needed roadtrip vacation to visit, what else, some hog and cattle farms to see how our food is raised humanely and in an environmentally sustainable way.

Chopped Episode 3 set

Ted Allen’s camera captured the set in Queens NY


There will be many more interesting stories of our adventures, competition, and travels together. I know then and I know now that Donna is the one I love deeply. We survived being on Chopped Grill Masters with our relationship even stronger than we began and we’re ready for the journey and beyond.  Come visit with us and stay tuned for more great articles.


The Chopped Grill Masters Journey, Part XI

By Donna Fong

Harry would spend the next few days describing what happened and trying to figure out why he got chopped. It was a bigger disappointment to him than any BBQ contest. At a contest, he’d be over the loss by the time he got home. This one would  sting for a long time.

I know for me, I couldn’t look at shrimp or asparagus without cringing for weeks. And it took me a few weeks before I was able to step in a kitchen and approach cooking like an act of love (which it is), rather than a contest (which is it isn’t). I took one deep breath and was relieved it was all over. I’ll never do that again, that’s for sure. I was so happy that I no longer had to walk down grocery aisles in a panic over foods I had not cooked or cajoled into a weirdo recipe. I was free at last: free at last!


Enjoying the kitchen once again by baking a chicken pot pie

Enjoying the kitchen once again by baking a chicken pot pie


Do I regret the experience? I almost regret it, but no. I’m a much better cook though it was a painful journey by all accounts. And I know that television is not for me: that’s for sure. The other downside is that I haven’t been able to watch the Food Channel since, though I think I will again someday. The memories of the cameras, the sleepless nights, the stress; it all comes back to me when I watch a food show. Harry, on the other hand, can’t wait to return on the show and get another shot at the Grill Master title. It’s a miracle that we are couple. We definitely still get the shakes whenever we see a large shrimp and I know Harry probably hates Jiffy pop popcorn, but it was fun, no matter what.

Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, Part VIII, Part IX, Part X

5 comments... read them below or add one

  1. Scott Geiger says:

    Hi Harry and Donna,
    First of all Donna you looked so relaxed on the set. I would have never guessed that it was so painful for you. You did so well! You faced a huge challenge and conquered it with grace and dignity. That says a lot about your character. Harry, I know it must hurt to not win. It kind of reminds me of the Olympic sports that have subjective scoring. How many times did we think that one athlete won only to have the rug pulled out from underneath because the judges were biased in some way or another. I thought(I mean I know)you put so much more into your dishes but fell to that pesky subjective scoring. Heck Lampe didn’t even make it past the first round. Harry and Donna you are winners in my eyes and I am going to be taking one of your classes in the near future. I can’t wait to shake hands with a couple of great cooks.
    Scott Geiger

  2. Ken Solomon says:

    Greetings Harry & Donna,
    It was fabulous to see you both getting national exposure. You are both such wonderful chefs AND warm-hearted personalities that it was a delight to see your talent being show-cased. As Scott says, the judging is subjective and the the reasons they give when chopping someone often don’t make any [or much] rational sense. They are just words offered to fill the space before they render the "chopped" decision arrived at subjectively. I thought you both did excellent jobs and my level of Harry & Donna "fan-ship" was not only justified but elevated by what I saw. I enjoyed reading your blogs about the entire adventure. Congratulations and carry on. I look forward to seeing you at the "Slap Yo’ Butcher’s Daughter" booth in Huntington Beach. Best always,
    Ken Solomon

  3. Cliff Brockman says:

    As a proud graduate of Harry’s class, it was very entertaining to see Harry and Donna on the show. I also enjoyed reading these blogs. It was great to hear the behind the scenes info from Harry and Donna’s unique perspectives. Great job even if you didn’t win.

  4. Donna Fong says:

    Thank you so much for the kind words. Boy, am I glad its over! I look forward to seeing you in class and meeting you in person!

  5. Alex Paman says:

    Hey there, Harry and Donna. Just keep in mind that the entire contest was a sort of fantasy/make-believe setting. It’s not a true barometer of your abilities as chefs, because your collective success on the real-life BBQ circuit says otherwise. Particularly within the Food Network, these so-called "expert" judges are more about personalities than actual skills, and any talented non-celebrity chef can easily slide in their place and be more qualified to judge. If you asked these same judges to compete in a grilling competition against you both, you pretty much know what the results are going to be. Take their criticism as a means to personal growth, but be confident in the fact that you can beat them in your element if the positions were reversed.

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