The Ingredient Michael Symon Hated On Chopped

It's no secret that Michael Symon is a self-proclaimed carnivore. The Iron Chef likes his meat. In fact, the host of "Burgers, Brew & 'Que" told Food Network, that, "...being a meat guy, it really all revolves around the cuts of meat that are a just little more fatty, a little bit more delicious and you have to have patience to make them fantastic." So, it is not surprising to learn that when it comes to ingredients Symon was not fond of working with during his time on "Chopped," tofu tops the list.

During an interview confessional about nightmare ingredients, Symon explained that his disdain for this soy-based food can be traced to the simple challenge of making it taste good. Symon contends there isn't really a way to do so. He doubled down on this response when asked on X (formerly Twitter) what food he would never cook with. His reply: "Tofu or other fake products made to resemble meat #AskChefSymon #meatopia." The cookbook author shared in another tweet that he doesn't even make this stuff for his wife — who is a vegan — because she doesn't like it.

There might be an exception

So, what is it about tofu that gives Symon such a knee-jerk reaction? Perhaps it is all that excess water that needs to be drained and squeezed out of this sponge-like food. Tofu has so much water that before you bread it, it's recommended that you coat it with a little cornstarch so the breading doesn't fall off. The amount of water this block of soy contains can also make it difficult to marinate properly, and if you don't chop it up into small cubes, it has a difficult time absorbing whatever flavors you are bathing it in or cooking it with. Of course, pressing and draining the protein can mitigate these issues.

Tofu can definitely make you think twice about the effort it requires. However, there may be a tofu dish that Symon could enjoy. In fact, there was actually a television moment when the chef found himself eating a dish containing tofu that was prepared by Carla Hall from "The Chew," and he found himself pleasantly surprised. Per Lisa's Project Vegan, Hall made smothered African tofu that had Symon licking his fingers.