Chopped has run for more than 40 seasons. How do you account for its longevity?
It’s exciting to watch people try to cook some mystery basket of ingredients and make instantaneous decisions. If you think about chefs, we are talking about people who are basically control freaks, who are extremely picky about what ingredients they want to cook with and we take away all that control.
If you were a contestant, what ingredient would you be praying doesn’t come up?
Anything that is already prepared. Like a cherry pie or macaroni and cheese that’s already been baked, because what are you going to do with that?
I think the new Queer Eye is doing a great job of that. You may or may not know that the food guy on that show, Antoni Porowski, was my assistant for three years – he’s the best looking one. A splendid cook and a really down-to-earth, centred, soulful cool guy. So to see him get that job and go through this becoming famous instantly thing that we went through, it’s kind of exciting.
You’ve been vocal in your support of Antoni, who has faced a bit of criticism. Do you think he’s had it a bit rough?
The first season or two of the new Queer Eye, I don’t think they had the support staff. I don’t think they had enough people telling them how to prepare their set-ups. I’ve only watched it a couple of times so I’m not intimately familiar, but I think some things got a bit repetitive. But give the guy a chance and let’s see what he does in the new season. Believe me, whoever complained or criticised … I think he heard it. The guy is a much better cook than I am. He’s going to be fine. He’s a great guy - I couldn’t be happier for him and the other four. Actually Jonathan Van Ness was also over at my house for dinner. He’s a really cool guy - a lot calmer in person!