Maneet Chauhan shares her favorite moments from Chocolate Meltdown, interview

Judge Maneet Chauhan, as seen on Chocolate Meltdown at Hershey Park, Season 1.
Judge Maneet Chauhan, as seen on Chocolate Meltdown at Hershey Park, Season 1. /

While she might be the reigning queen of Tournament of Champions, Maneet Chauhan is stepping away from the stove and stepping into her judging role on the Food Network competition Chocolate Meltdown: Hersheypark After Dark. As the new series premieres on Food Network, Chef Chauhan spoke to FoodSided about some of her favorite moments, her chemistry with her fellow judges and her love of a good theme park ride.

From her first appearance on Iron Chef America to her time on Chopped, Chef Maneet Chauhan has shined in her various Food Network roles. While she pushes the creativity in the kitchen, it is more than just bold spices and stunning plates that capture people’s attention. Her warm, welcoming personality makes every moment even more enjoyable.

During a recent conversation ahead of the Chocolate Meltdown Hersheypark After Dark premiere, Chef Chauhan shared some insight on this unique culinary competition. While Ghostober is bringing both frightful and delightful programming to Food Network, this food television show is a first in many ways. From the location to the premise, there are many reasons to watch.

Chef Chauhan described the first moment she stepped on set as being “a kid in a candy store.” Since Hershey candy was one of the few overseas chocolates that she could get growing up in India, it was a blend of that childhood wonder with the thrills of being in a theme park at night.

Since the judges were able to explore Hersheypark during film, Chef Chauhan shared how one of her favorite moments was riding the Ferris Wheel with Sunny Anderson and Ralph Attanasia. As Chef Chauhan said, “that conversation and moments of laughter as there was a little nip in the air with the hot chocolate to enjoy was perfect.” Through her description, she captured that moment perfectly and seemed to express how the backdrop of the Hersheypark was the other host of the food television show.

While both Sunny Anderson and Chauhan have appeared on shows together, adding Ralph, who has been featured on Buddy vs Duff, brought a high energy vibe. Chef Chauhan shared how she wasn’t expecting “Ralph’s quirky sense of humor,” but there was this incredible chemistry that was undeniable. Blending that aspect with Ralph’s “talented, technical knowledge,” which has been seen in his “incredible masterpieces,” was a sweet surprise that everyone will appreciate.

Maneet Chauhan reveals the secret to winning showpieces on Chocolate Meltdown

As the new Food Network unfolds, each challenge is more than just impressive sugar work on display. Beyond the breathtaking visual, Chef Chauhan shared the key to a successful piece.

For her, it is about telling the story while “celebrating the soul” of the piece. Beyond the technical expertise, the connection has to be clear.

In some ways, that willingness to put that “soul” on display makes judging hard for Chef Chauhan. While she wants to provide constructive criticism, she doesn’t want to crush anyone. She knows that the chefs “take that feedback to heart” and “it is important to give feedback to make them stronger.”

That willingness to learn from mistakes is something that many chefs have learned to appreciate. The concept of being willing to grow, learn and adapt is key to being successful both in and out of the kitchen.

Still, there is a sense of wonder and awe while watching Chocolate Meltdown Hersheypark After Dark. In Chef Maneet’s words, it reminded her of the story of cobbler and the elves, “where after going to sleep in the night and get up in the morning to find these gorgeous shoes. It was similar for these chefs who would step into these kitchens and then created these incredible, inspiring masterpieces.”

While the viewers might get a glimpse into those magical elves working, the wonder and awe is still breathtaking. And, quite frankly, it might inspire some uses for all that Halloween candy.

And, what Halloween candy is Chef Chauhan is giving out this year? She shared that her son is going through a superhero phase and the Hershey’s Superhero bars will be her Halloween candy of choice this year.

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Be sure to watch Chocolate Meltdown Hersheypark After Dark on Mondays at 10 p.m, on Food Network. It can also be streamed on Discovery+.