McClellan House Premieres McChopped!

This past Friday, February 5, Lawrenceville’s McClellan House presented a new Youtube series called McChopped, a cooking show inspired by Chopped, where contestants have to make the best possible dish while incorporating four ingredients selected by the host.

This past Friday, February 5, Lawrenceville’s McClellan House presented a new Youtube series called McChopped, a cooking show inspired by Chopped, where contestants have to make the best possible dish while incorporating four ingredients selected by the host. The first episode of McChopped challenged contestants to prepare an appetizer using a unique combination of ingredients: black beans, sour cream, potato chips, and peanut butter and jelly Uncrustables. IV Formers Yendi Foo, Allison Haworth, Lara Hensler, and Sabrina Yeung along with Anna Gill ’23 and Emily Hammond ’23 competed against each other to create the best dish within the time limit. While each contestant used her cooking skills to make a unique and creative appetizer, the judges ultimately chose to eliminate Foo and Yeung in the end.

McClellan House President and McChopped Host Delaney Musgrave ’22 developed the idea of starting the virtual cooking competition through Student Council, which had held a similar cooking competition event last spring. “I remember watching it live and having a great time...That’s why I thought McChopped would be a perfect thing to do with the House since everyone was at home and they didn’t have to be with each other in person,” she said.

According to Musgrave, setting up the event was a “wild ride.” The team started figuring the plan out before winter break. “I started a Google doc and House Council and I made a massive list of ingredients...We then talked about how many episodes we wanted to have [and] what we wanted to do...We had so many Zoom calls and FaceTimes with each other, and it was overall a great experience,” she said.

In terms of the rules of the competition, Musgrave discussed how she wanted the rules to be “based off of the actual show Chopped.” However, there were some restrictions. “The contestants were all doing it independently, and they filmed everything independently...We also couldn’t have our judges taste the dishes, so I think it took a lot of figuring out, but we nailed it in the end.”

For her dish, Hammond made a protein-packed peanut patty and ultimately advanced to the next round. While it “[took] quite a long time to film,” she had “a lot of fun” working on her dish and having her mother record it. “Delaney, who organized McChopped, did a great job,” said Hammond.

In the first episode, Hammond thought one of her strong suits was “staying level-headed and trying to add humor into the show” while staying true to herself. On the other hand, she is looking to “make it a little more entertaining” in the next episodes. “Because it is on camera and not everyone knows me, I think I should’ve tried to be a little funnier,” she said.

The judges for this past round were McClellan V Form Prefects Ava Conyer, Evelyn Dugan, Gabby Medina, and Breanna Monsivaiz, along with guest judge Campbell Fitzhugh ’22. While Fitzhugh was “not a cook whatsoever” and was not able to “bring much cooking expertise,” she found it “really fun doing [McChopped] with the girls in the House.”

Along with considering comments from the contestant’s parents, Fitzhugh also evaluated the different dishes on presentation. For each dish, she would ask herself, “If I saw it on a table and I didn’t know what it was, would I take a bite out of it?” She also took into consideration “how the girls integrated all the ingredients into their dish” and the creativity of each dish.

Though Fitzhugh was only a guest judge for this episode and did not participate in the judging for the next episode, she appreciated the effort the girls dedicated to the show. “I was very proud of them for all the work they did and also the time they put into it...they all put a lot of effort into their dishes,” she said.

The next episode of McChopped, in which contestants were asked to cook a dinner dish, premiered on Thursday. According to Musgrave, the episode featured a “similar setup, with currently only four girls remaining.” It can be found on Lawrenceville’s YouTube channel. The final episode will premiere on Saturday, February 13.

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