|Directed by||Michael Pearlman|
|Presented by||Ted Allen|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||50|
|No. of episodes||635 + 39 specials (list of episodes)|
|Running time||42 minutes|
|Original network||Food Network|
|Original release||January 13, 2009 –|
Chopped is an American reality-based cooking television game show series created by Michael Krupat, Dave Noll and Linda Lea. It is hosted by Ted Allen. The series pits four chefs against each other as they compete for a chance to win $10,000. New episodes air every Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on Food Network.
A dessert-themed spin-off titled Chopped Sweets premiered on February 3, 2020, with Scott Conant as host.
In each episode, four chefs compete in a three-round contest, where they attempt to incorporate unusual combinations of ingredients into dishes that are later evaluated by a panel of three judges. At the beginning of each round (typically "Appetizer", "Entrée", and "Dessert", but with occasional exceptions), the chefs are each given a basket containing four mystery ingredients and are expected to create dishes that use all of them in some way. Although failing to use an ingredient is not an automatic disqualification, the judges do take such omissions into account when making their decisions. The ingredients are often not commonly prepared together. For example, in the episode "Yucca, Watermelon, Tortillas," the Appetizer ingredients consisted of watermelon, canned sardines, pepper jack cheese, and zucchini. The chefs are given unlimited access to a pantry and refrigerator stocked with a wide variety of other ingredients, and each chef has his/her own stations for preparing and cooking food. The kitchen also includes a variety of specialized tools and equipment for the chefs' use, such as a deep fryer, a blast chiller, and an ice cream machine.
Each round has a time limit, typically 20 minutes for Appetizer, and 30 minutes each for Entrée and Dessert. These limits have been extended on occasion for special-format episodes and for rounds in which one or more mystery ingredients require additional preparation/cooking time. The chefs must cook their dishes and complete four platings (three for the judges and one "beauty plate") before time runs out. Once time has expired, the judges critique the dishes based on presentation, taste and creativity and select one chef to be "chopped" - eliminated from the competition with no winnings. Allen reveals the judges' decision by lifting a cloche on their table to show the eliminated chef's dish, and one judge comments on the reasoning behind the choice. The Appetizer and Entrée rounds are judged independently from one another, while in the Dessert round, the judges consider the chefs' overall performance during the entire competition. The winner receives $10,000, but special competitions and tournaments have featured larger cash prizes.
Medical personnel are on hand to treat any injuries that may occur during the competition and may, at their discretion, disqualify chefs who are unable to continue safely. If the judges deem all or part of a chef's dish unsafe to eat for any reason (contamination by blood or other bodily fluids, improper cooking, inedible items on the plate, etc.), they do not taste the affected portion but can still critique its presentation and creativity. Chefs can also be disqualified for rule violations, such as by bringing and using ingredients of their own.
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.
An episode of Chopped takes approximately 12 hours to tape, with deliberations after each round taking about 20 minutes. Judging is done by consensus among the judges.
While contestants do not know the ingredients ahead of time, they are given a tour of the kitchen prior to taping. Some preliminary tasks, such as preheating ovens and bringing water to a boil, are done in advance of each round.
Chefs must be 19 years or older to appear on the regular show. Teenagers and children are occasionally invited to compete in special episodes.
Starting September 8, 2009, Food Network aired a four-episode Chopped Champions tournament, in which 13 previous winners were invited to face off again. Four chefs competed per episode; the three losing chefs were eliminated from the tournament, while the winner received $10,000 and faced three new competitors in the next episode.
As of October 2018, the network has aired five additional Chopped Champions tournaments, each consisting of four preliminary heats and a finale. Four previous champions compete in each preliminary heat; the winner receives no money, but secures a slot in the finale to compete for a $50,000 grand prize.
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. The winner was Anne Burrell who was playing for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
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.
In the summer of 2015, a second "Grill Masters" Tournament occurred, and was sponsored by Lea & Perrins. Like the previous "Grill Masters" Tournament, it was filmed on location and 16 "pro" grillers competed. The 4 preliminary heat winners advanced to the finals where they would compete for a $50,000 grand prize. The winner was Angie Mar. The second heat of this particular tournament marked the first time that Chopped used a brand name on a basket ingredient, which in this case was the Worcestershire sauce, possibly because the ingredient was a product of tournament sponsor Lea & Perrins.
On July 5, 2016 another 5-part "Grill Masters" Tournament premiered. This tournament was taped at the Beringer Vineyards in Napa Valley, CA, and featured 16 "pro" grillers. In contrast to past tournaments, the 4 finalists each won a guaranteed $10,000 for winning their heat, and the finalists competed to win another $50,000 for a total grand prize of $60,000. The winner of this tournament was Sophina Uong.
During Season 19, Chopped held a 5-part "Tournament Of Stars". It was identical in format to the "All Stars" Tournaments, with 16 celebrities competing to win $50,000 for charity. The contestants were divided into 4 categorical groups for the first four episodes (sports stars, Rachael Vs. Guy finalists, comedians, and actors, respectively). Winner Michael Imperioli donated his winnings to the Pure Land Project, an organization that helps build and maintain schools in rural Tibet.
During Season 21, a 5-part "Ultimate Champions" Tournament was held, featuring 16 returning champions (12 amateurs and 4 professional chefs) competing to win $50,000, plus a new car of the winners choice from Buick. Like most celebrity tournaments, the returning champions were divided into 4 categorical groups for the first four episodes (professionals, amateur champs, heroes, and celebrities, respectively). The winner was Diana Sabater. The finale of this tournament also marked the first time that both civilian and celebrity contestants competed in the same episode.
In the fall of 2015, Chopped aired a four-part "Chopped: Impossible" Tournament in which 12 former champions were invited back to compete for a grand prize of up to $40,000. Each basket contained ingredient combinations that were specifically chosen to be more difficult than usual. Four chefs competed in each of three preliminary heats, with Restaurant: Impossible host Robert Irvine as one of the three judges. The winners advanced to a two-round finale (Appetizer and Entree), in which Irvine observed their cooking but did not serve as a judge. The winner of the finale received $15,000 and competed directly against Irvine in a "Wild Card Entree" round; if the chef's dish was judged superior to Irvine's, he/she won an additional $25,000 which would be added with their $15,000 for a total of $40,000.
Three 5-part Teen Tournaments have been held to date, in seasons 21, 25 and 29, following the same structure as other tournaments. Four teen chefs competed in each preliminary heat, with the winners advancing to the finale. Prizes were awarded in the finale as follows:
Main article: Chopped After Hours
Chopped After Hours is a spin-off series that premiered on September 15, 2015 and airs at 11 p.m. ET on Tuesdays. Episodes consist of three segments, each featuring judges from a different Chopped episode as they prepare dishes using one of the mystery ingredient baskets given to the original contestants. The second season premiered on July 5, 2016.
In season 33, Chopped will be holding a tournament consisting of 16 celebrities divided into four categories: internet celebrities, athletes, comedians, and TV and film stars, with a grand prize of $50,000 for charity. The event began on March 28, 2017.
On September 5, 2019, it was announced that a five-episode stunt titled Chopped: Sweets Showdown will premiere on October 1, 2019.
On April 7, 2020, the 47th season premiered with a series of episodes titled Chopped: Beat the Judge. Three champions from previous episodes compete through the Appetizer and Entrée rounds. Allen then announces the format for the third round, in which the remaining chef competes against a Chopped judge for the $10,000 prize.
Chopped Amateurs features contestants who do not have professional training or schooling; most are self-taught. Celebrity episodes: four celebrities competing for charity. 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 foodnetwork.com. 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 former contestants that got "chopped" in their first appearances), or a combination.
The following judges have appeared in four or more seasons:
|Alex Guarnaschelli||♦||1-46||[note 1]||50|
The following judges have appeared in three or fewer seasons:
|Giada De Laurentiis||Specials|
|Neil Patrick Harris||46|
|Joseph “JJ” Johnson||35|
|Lee Anne Wong||13||14|
Main article: List of Chopped episodes
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||13||January 13, 2009||April 7, 2009|
|2||13||June 16, 2009||September 29, 2009|
|3||13||October 13, 2009||March 9, 2010|
|4||13||April 6, 2010||July 13, 2010|
|5||13||July 20, 2010||November 28, 2010|
|6||12||January 4, 2011||April 26, 2011|
|7||10||May 3, 2011||July 5, 2011|
|8||9||July 12, 2011||December 6, 2011|
|9||13||August 30, 2011||December 13, 2011|
|10||13||December 20, 2011||May 29, 2012|
|11||13||February 7, 2012||November 25, 2012|
|12||13||June 5, 2012||November 20, 2012|
|13||12||September 4, 2012||February 26, 2013|
|14||13||January 6, 2013||May 5, 2013|
|15||13||April 2, 2013||July 23, 2013|
|16||13||June 2, 2013||November 12, 2013|
|17||13||August 13, 2013||December 3, 2013|
|18||13||November 26, 2013||May 13, 2014|
|19||13||February 4, 2014||June 10, 2014|
|20||13||March 18, 2014||November 25, 2014|
|21||13||July 15, 2014||January 13, 2015|
|22||13||October 14, 2014||June 30, 2015|
|23||13||December 16, 2014||June 16, 2015|
|24||13||April 28, 2015||December 8, 2015|
|25||13||August 25, 2015||December 1, 2015|
|26||8||October 6, 2015||December 17, 2015|
|27||13||January 5, 2016||March 17, 2016|
|28||13||March 29, 2016||June 21, 2016|
|29||13||August 7, 2016||September 27, 2016|
|30||8||September 22, 2016||December 20, 2016|
|31||20||October 13, 2016||December 29, 2016|
|32||12||January 3, 2017||May 2, 2017|
|33||8||March 21, 2017||May 30, 2017|
|34||13||May 9, 2017||November 7, 2017|
|35||20||July 18, 2017||March 6, 2018|
|36||13||December 12, 2017||June 5, 2018|
|37||13||March 13, 2018||June 11, 2019|
|38||13||May 15, 2018||May 28, 2019|
|39||13||June 26, 2018||May 14, 2019|
|40||13||July 17, 2018||July 16, 2019|
|41||13||December 11, 2018||March 31, 2020|
|42||8||November 20, 2018||June 2, 2020|
|43||13||July 9, 2019||February 25, 2020|
|44||13||September 24, 2019||August 4, 2020|
|45||13||January 21, 2020||July 28, 2020|
|46||13||July 14, 2020||October 27, 2020|
|47||13||April 7, 2020||May 25, 2021|
|48||13||December 15, 2020||March 30, 2021|
|49||13||November 10, 2020||May 18, 2021|
|50||16||June 1, 2021||September 14, 2021|
|51||TBA||December 28, 2021||TBA|
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, was the runner up on season 9 of Hell's Kitchen. Roshni Mansukhani, the winner of the fourth episode of the second season, was eliminated in the eighth 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. Anthony "Anton" Testino, who was eliminated after the appetizer in the tenth episode of the fifth season, was eliminated in the fourteenth episode of the twelfth season of Hell's Kitchen. Robyn Almodovar, the winner of the sixth episode of the twenty-fourth season, had previously been eliminated in the sixteenth episode of the tenth season of Hell's Kitchen and was later eliminated in thirteenth episode of the seventeenth season of Hell's Kitchen. Finally, Hassan Musselmani, who was eliminated after the dessert in the third episode of the 35th season of Chopped, had previously been eliminated in the seventh episode of the fifteenth season of Hell's Kitchen. In addition, Frank Bilotti, who was eliminated after the entrée in the third episode of the 37th season, had previously been eliminated in the tenth episode of the thirteenth season of Hell's Kitchen. Some former contestants and judges from Chopped have also appeared on Beat Bobby Flay, as well as several former contestants appearing on another Food Network series Cutthroat Kitchen.
Chopped won two James Beard Awards in 2012 from the James Beard Foundation: one medal for Best Show, In-Studio or Fixed Location, given to Ted Allen, the team of judges, Food Network, and producers Linda Lea, Dave Noll, and Vivian Sorenson; the other for Media Personality or Host, given to Allen. Also, "Chopped" was inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame in 2012.
A spin-off series titled Chopped Sweets premiered on February 3, 2020, with Scott Conant as host as well as a judge in every episode. It follows the same three-round competition/judging structure and $10,000 prize as the original, with chefs required to make desserts in every round that adhere to a theme announced by Conant. There are only two recurring judges as Conant fills in for the third judge in every episode, and the time limit is typically extended from 30 minutes to 45 to allow proper time for baking.
Main article: List of Chopped Sweets episodes
Beginning on January 2, 2014, Food Network also aired a Canadian version of Chopped called Chopped Canada, which features Canadian contestants and judges. That adaptation was originally hosted by Canadian-born actor Dean McDermott for the first two seasons, and was then hosted by former CFL wide receiver Brad Smith. The rules are identical to the US counterpart as is the $10,000 prize. The show was cancelled on February 11, 2017, after four seasons.
Beginning July 23, 2014, Food Network South Africa began airing a local adaptation of Chopped called Chopped South Africa.
Beginning June 27, 2021, Dubai TV began airing a local adaptation of Chopped called Chopped تحدي الطبخ.
Beginning June 27, 2021, Dubai TV began airing a local adaptation of Chopped called Chopped بالعربي.
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.