Chopped (TV series)

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Chopped intertitle.png
Genre Cooking show
Created by Dave Noll and Michael Krupat
Directed by Michael Pearlman
Presented by Ted Allen
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 26
No. of episodes 324 + 15 specials (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Linda Lea
  • Dave Noll
  • Vivian Sorenson (co-exec.)
  • Beth Paholak
  • Tina Nguyen
  • Karey Green
  • Kirsten Moberg
  • Kate Kenny
  • Crystal Bahmaie
  • Edward Schindler (supervising prod.)
  • Jessica Paul (supervising prod.)
  • Loe Fahie (line prod.)
  • Evald Ridore
  • Jonathan Soule
  • Amanda Durett Cercone
  • Erik Klein
  • Brad Yankus
  • Jimmy Drakulias (On-Line Editor)
  • Axuve Espinosa
  • Michael Wei
  • Gregory Corwin
  • Evan Wise
  • Brian D'Amico
  • Mike Stern
  • Barney Schmidt
Running time 44 mins.
Production company(s) Notional
Original network Food Network
Original release January 13, 2009 (2009-01-13) – present
External links

Chopped is an American reality-based cooking television game show series created by Dave Noll and Michael Krupat, with executive producer Linda Lea, and hosted by Ted Allen that pits four chefs against each other competing for a chance to win $10,000. New episodes air every Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET on Food Network.


In each episode, four chefs compete. Their challenge is to take a mystery basket of ingredients and turn them into a dish that is judged on their creativity, presentation, and taste with minimal time to plan and execute.[1][2] The show is divided into three rounds: "Appetizer", "Entrée", and "Dessert". In each round, the chefs are given a basket containing between three and five (usually four) ingredients, and the dish each competitor prepares must contain some of each ingredient in some way, and although forgetting an ingredient isn't an automatic disqualification, the judges will take such an occurrence into consideration. The ingredients are often not commonly prepared together. For example, in "Yucca, Watermelon, Tortillas," (originally aired on February 10, 2009) the appetizer "course baskets" contained watermelon, canned sardines, pepper jack cheese, and zucchini.

In early episodes, Ted introduced the competition to the contestants as stated: "There are three rounds: Appetizer, Entrée, and Dessert. Each round comes with its own basket of mystery ingredients and you must use every ingredient in the basket in some way. Also available to you, our pantry and fridge. Each round is timed. When the clock runs out, our judges will critique your work on presentation, taste, and creativity. If your dish doesn't cut it, you will be chopped." Later episodes would narrow the intro (in its shortest form): "You know the rules. Three rounds, mandatory mystery ingredients. If your dish doesn't cut it, you will be chopped."

The competitors are given access to a pantry and refrigerator stocked with a wide variety of other ingredients. Each round has a time limit: 20 minutes for the Appetizer round (30 minutes in some season one episodes and some episodes with special formats, especially the teen chef episodes), and 30 minutes for the Entrée and Dessert rounds (some episodes gave the chefs 40 or 45 minutes in the entrée round to allow them to handle whole large proteins, usually poultry, e.g. turkeys, geese, or ducks, which were common mystery ingredients on Thanksgiving and Holiday episodes; another episode gave the chefs 50 minutes in the dessert round to allow proper baking time due to cake flour being a mystery ingredient). The chefs must cook their dishes and complete four platings (one for each judge plus one "beauty plate") before time runs out.[3] After each round, the judges critique the dishes based on presentation, taste, and creativity. The judges then decide which chef is "chopped," that is, eliminated from the competition when Ted says "Chef {first name} you have been Chopped". Thus, by the dessert round, only two chefs remain. When deciding the winner, the judges consider not only the dessert course, but the entire meal presented by each chef as a whole. The winner receives $10,000.

Production notes[edit]

According to host Ted Allen, the show's unaired pilot episode, which was taped at the Culinary School at the Art Institute of New York, was "...originally a lot more elaborate. It was set in a mansion, the host was a butler, the butler held a Chihuahua, and when a chef was chopped the losing dish was fed to the Chihuahua." The Food Network found the pilot episode "a little too weird", but decided to keep the general premise of the show in a more straightforward competition format.[4]

An episode of Chopped takes approximately twelve hours to tape, with deliberations after each round taking about 90 minutes.[4] Judging is done by consensus among the judges.[5]

While contestants do not know the ingredients ahead of time, they are given a tour of the kitchen at the start of the day and some preparations, such as pre-heating ovens and bringing water to a boil, are done in advance of each round.[3]

Injuries such as cuts and burns are fairly commonplace. For safety reasons, if a contestant does suffer a cut, their food is inspected for blood before being served to the judges. If a dish may contain blood it is inadmissible, but does not necessarily result in a disqualification.

Dishes that contain ingredients that must be specially prepared are not admissible if not properly prepared. Allen will often advise contestants of this when necessary.

Special Episodes[edit]

Chopped Champions[edit]

Starting September 8, 2009, and continuing for three additional episodes, Food Network aired the "Chopped Champions Event", wherein thirteen past winners returned and faced off against each other (four per episode) to retain their title of Chopped Champion. The winner of an episode in the event earned an additional $10,000 and moved on to the next episode to face a new set of three previous champions. The winner was Darius Peacock, Executive Chef, Exceptional Taste Catering, Trenton, NJ

Starting August 31, 2010, and continuing for four additional episodes, Food Network aired the "$50,000 Tournament". Sixteen past champions competed. The winners of the first four episodes competed against each other in the "Grand Finale" for the $50,000 prize. The winner was Madison Cowan, Chef and Caterer, Avenue Inc, New York City.

Starting August 30, 2011, and continuing for four additional episodes, Food Network aired another "$50,000 Tournament", due to the popularity the first competition had. Sixteen new past champions competed. The winner was Danielle Saunders, a private chef from New York City.

Starting January 15, 2013, a new season of "Chopped Champions" began airing, with sixteen new past champions competing for the $50,000 prize. The winner was Jun Tanaka, Executive Chef from London, England.

Chopped All-Stars[edit]

Starting March 6, 2011, and continuing for four additional episodes, Food Network aired the "Chopped All-Stars" Tournament. Sixteen chefs competed. The first four episodes featured four types of chef: The Next Food Network Star contestants, Food Network celebrities, celebrity chefs, and Chopped judges. The winners of those four episodes then competed against each other in the "Grand Finale", where the winner received $50,000 to donate to a charity of his or her choice. Nate Appleman, a celebrity chef, won the competition and donated his $50,000 to Kawasaki Disease research, a disease from which his son suffered.

Starting April 8, 2012, and continuing for four additional episodes, Food Network aired the second "Chopped All-Stars" Tournament. Sixteen new chefs competed, again ranging from four different categories of chef: Iron Chef America chefs (the newest of the four categories), Food Network and Cooking Channel celebrities, The Next Food Network Star contestants, and Chopped judges. Celebrity chef & Chopped judge Marcus Samuelsson won this second competition, donating the $50,000 grand prize to the Careers Through Culinary Arts Program of New York (aka C-CAP), which helps under-served youth through culinary arts education and employment.

On April 7, 2013, the third installment of the "Chopped All-Stars" Tournament premiered on Food Network. Over the course of four episodes, sixteen chefs competed in groups of four. There were four different categories of the chefs through the episodes: Food Network vs. Cooking Channel, Mega Chefs, Chopped Judges, and celebrities, respectively. Winners of each of these rounds went on to compete against each other in the "Grand Finale" episode, where the winner received $50,000 to donate to a charity of his or her choice. Celebrity chef and Chopped judge Scott Conant won this competition, donating $50,000 to the Keep Memory Alive Foundation.

On April 28, 2015, the fourth "All-Stars" Tournament began airing, with an increased grand prize of $75,000 to the winner. As before, they are split into groups of four chefs per episode, with the winner of each of the first four episodes competing in the fifth "Grand Finale" episode for the top prize. Unlike previous tournaments, however, the 16 chefs involved were not split into "categories", but were sorted in what seems to be a more random fashion. [6]

Chopped Grill Masters[edit]

Starting July 22, 2012, and continuing for four additional episodes, Food Network aired the "Chopped Grill Masters" Tournament. Sixteen "pro" grillers competed. The winners of the first four episodes competed against each other in the "Grand Finale" for a $50,000 prize. The "Grill Masters" episodes were taped outdoors at Old Tucson Studios near Tucson, AZ. The winner was Ernest Servantes, Executive Chef at Texas Lutheran University and Pit Boss at Burnt Bean Company.[7]

Other Special Episodes[edit]

Chopped Amateurs features contestants who do not have professional training or schooling; most are self-taught. Celebrity episodes: four celebrities competing for charity. Chopped also ran a five episode celebrity tournament with the winner received $50,000 for their charity. In season 21, Chopped held a five part Ultimate Champions tournament, featuring 16 past champions(4 professionals and 12 amateurs). Like most of the celebrity tournaments, the chefs were split into 4 categorical groups of 4 contestants: professionals, amateur champs, heroes, and celebrities. The winner received $50,000 and a new car of their choice from Buick. Some episodes have featured teens or children competing. Occasionally the prize is a scholarship to a culinary school. Losing contestants on these episodes often receive a consolation prize, typically a $1,000 shopping spree on On one occurrence the prize was a $40,000 scholarship, the runner-up received a $20,000 scholarship while the other two contestants each received a $5,000 scholarship. Holiday themed episodes have also occurred featuring holiday inspired ingredients (such as a chocolate Santa on a Christmas episode or candy blood on a halloween show) and the contestants are asked to prepare holiday themed dishes. There were also several themed episodes with non-holiday themes. These themes were based on either: themed ingredients(e.g. spicy foods) , world cuisines(e.g. Italian, Australian, New Orleans), chefs with the same background(notably redemption episodes featuring past chefs that got chopped in their first appearances), or a combination.


Judges Seasons
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
Alex Guarnaschelli
Geoffrey Zakarian
Marc Murphy
Amanda Freitag
Aarón Sanchez
Chris Santos
Scott Conant
Jody Williams
Sue Torres
Josh Capon
Mark Bittman
Marcus Samuelsson
Maneet Chauhan
Ken Oringer
Zakary Pelaccio
Susan Feniger
Seamus Mullen
Sam Kass
Missy Robbins
Anne Burrell
Elizabeth Karmel
Alton Brown
Giada De Laurentiis
Bobby Flay
Claudia Fleming
Marco Canora
Lee Anne Wong
Jet Tila
John Li
Cheryl Barbara
Ron Ben-Israel
Joseph Brown
Michelle Bernstein
Hooni Kim
Bruno DiFabio
Spike Mendelsohn
Christina Tosi
Adam Sobel
Greg Koch
Silvena Rowe
Edi Frauneder
Alex Stupak
Peter Oleyer
Michael Chernow
Andrew Zimmern
Jeff Mauro
Adam Moskowitz
Ray Lampe

Series overview[edit]

Season Episodes Premiere Finale
1 13 January 13, 2009 (2009-01-13) April 7, 2009 (2009-04-07)
2 13 June 16, 2009 (2009-06-16) September 29, 2009 (2009-09-29)
3 13 October 13, 2009 (2009-10-13) March 9, 2010 (2010-03-09)
4 13 April 6, 2010 (2010-04-06) July 13, 2010 (2010-07-13)
5 13 July 20, 2010 (2010-07-20) November 28, 2010 (2010-11-28)
6 12 January 4, 2011 (2011-01-04) April 26, 2011 (2011-04-26)
7 10 May 3, 2011 (2011-05-03) July 5, 2011 (2011-07-05)
8 9 July 12, 2011 (2011-07-12) December 6, 2011 (2011-12-06)
9 13 August 30, 2011 (2011-08-30) December 13, 2011 (2011-12-13)
10 13 December 20, 2011 (2011-12-20) May 29, 2012 (2012-05-29)
11 13 February 7, 2012 (2012-02-07) November 25, 2012 (2012-11-25)
12 13 June 5, 2012 (2012-06-05) November 20, 2012 (2012-11-20)
13 12 September 4, 2012 (2012-09-04) February 26, 2013 (2013-02-26)
14 13 January 6, 2013 (2013-01-06) May 5, 2013 (2013-05-05)
15 13 April 2, 2013 (2013-04-02) July 23, 2013 (2013-07-23)
16 13 June 2, 2013 (2013-06-02) November 12, 2013 (2013-11-12)
17 13 August 13, 2013 (2013-08-13) December 3, 2013 (2013-12-03)
18 13 November 26, 2013 (2013-11-26) May 13, 2014 (2014-05-13)
19 13 February 4, 2014 (2014-02-04) June 10, 2014 (2014-06-10)
20 13 March 18, 2014 (2014-03-18) November 25, 2014 (2014-11-25)
21 13 July 15, 2014 (2014-07-15) January 13, 2015 (2015-01-13)
22 13 October 14, 2014 (2014-10-14) June 30, 2015 (2015-06-30)
23 13 December 16, 2014 (2014-12-16) June 16, 2015 (2015-06-16)
24 13 April 28, 2015 (2015-04-28) December 8, 2015 (2015-12-08)
25 13 August 25, 2015 (2015-08-25) December 1, 2015 (2015-12-01)
26 TBA October 6, 2015 (2015-10-06) TBA (TBA)
Specials 15 July 22, 2012 (2012-07-22) TBA (TBA)

Former contestants competing in other reality shows[edit]

Some of the contestants on Chopped would go on to appear in Fox's reality show Hell's Kitchen. William Lustberg, the runner up on the ninth episode of the first season of Chopped, was the runner up on season 9 of Hell's Kitchen. Roshni Mansukhani, the winner of the fourth episode of the second season of Chopped, was eliminated in the eight episode of the tenth season of Hell's Kitchen. Jackie Baldassari, who was eliminated after the entrée in the tenth episode of the ninth season of Chopped, was eliminated in the ninth episode of the eleventh season of Hell's Kitchen. Finally, Anthony "Anton" Testino, who was eliminated after the appetizer in the tenth episode of the fifth season of Chopped, was eliminated in the fourteenth episode of the twelfth season of Hell's Kitchen. Some former contestants and judges from Chopped have also appeared on Beat Bobby Flay.[8]


International adaptations[edit]

Chopped Canada[edit]

Beginning January 2, 2014 Food network has also aired a Canadian adaptation of Chopped called Chopped Canada hosted by Canadian born actor Dean McDermott and featuring Canadian contestants and judges. The rules are identical to the US counterpart as is the $10,000 prize.

Chopped South Africa[edit]

Beginning July 23, 2014, Food Network South Africa began airing a local adaptation of Chopped called Chopped South Africa.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bricker, Tierney; Mullins, Jenna (April 5, 2013). "Best TV You're Not Watching: Chopped on Food Network". Retrieved May 8, 2013. 
  2. ^ Dave Zornow (2010-10-27). "Chop Till You Drop: Nyack Gourmet on Food Network". Nyack News. Retrieved 2011-10-30. 
  3. ^ a b Ekizian, John G. (April 3, 2012). "Beat the clock: Backstage secrets of chef-killer ‘Chopped’". Retrieved May 8, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Ted Allen on His New Book, Crushing Chefs’ Dreams, and Chopped’s Lost Chihuahua". May 22, 2012. Retrieved May 8, 2013. 
  5. ^ Dehnart, Andy (21 September 2010). "Chopped judge Amanda Freitag reveals judging secrets". Reality Blurred. Retrieved 2015-08-08. The judges deliberations are ‘incredibly long deliberations where none of us agree on anything,…. We really all have to be on the same page, and we really all feel strongly about that.’ In other words, decisions are unanimous. 
  6. ^ Photo gallery of the "Chopped All-Stars" Season 4 competitors
  7. ^ Petty, Kathleen (December 2012). "Ernest Servantes". Retrieved May 8, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Beat Bobby Flay Episodes". Food Network. Retrieved 13 December 2014. 
  9. ^ Culinary Hall of Fame Induction
  10. ^ "Chopped South Africa". Scripps Networks International (UK) Limited. 2014. 

External links[edit]