By now you all should know that I am a “foodie” and love talking about food, recipes, where they began, etc. Right now I am hooked on the “Foods That Made America” series on the History Channel. I have a lot of favorite food shows that I watch and get recipe ideas from. Two of those shows are also the Food Network’s longest running and most popular shows. “Chopped” has been on for 40 seasons, that’s 20 years with two new series a year. “Diner’s Drive-Ins and Dives” has been on for 29 seasons or 14 years also doing two new series each year. This week we will give you some fun facts about Chopped with host Ted Allen.
- Due to the mystery ingredients used on the show, contestants have to tell producers if there are any foods they can’t eat when they apply.
- The contestants are given their Chopped aprons on set, but besides that, their appearance is up to them, because there are no stylists on set.
- Former contestant Josh Lewis was on a sandwich-themed episode, which he found out about the day of. “We didn’t learn that we’d be doing sandwiches until right before the first round of the competition started, just like it appeared on TV”.
- So that contestants know what ingredients are available to them in the pantry, each one is given a walk through before filming or cooking starts.
- Between setting up the stations, the judging deliberations, filming post-round interviews, and, oh yeah, cooking, an episode can take more than 14 hours to film. Contestants have to get to set by 5:45 a.m. and block out two consecutive days for filming.
- They get no info about the ingredients beforehand. Everything that comes out of the mystery basket really is a mystery to contestants.
- They really do only have 30 minutes to complete your dish. The 30-minute countdown (well, 20 for appetizers and 30 for entrées and desserts) is real. “You’re really being timed, you’re being filmed from all sides and it’s a real competition, not just a fake reality show,” chef Michael Vignola told reporters.
- Chefs get to start with a preheated oven. Production preheats each oven to 350 degrees and boils a pot of water before the timer starts to help chefs along.
- You have to make an extra dish. There are only three judges, but chefs on Chopped plate four meals. The extra dish is used for B-roll footage. It will also, sadly, appear on the chopping block if you’re eliminated.
- Even if you lose you can win. Several of the chefs who got “chopped” were hired by the various judges to work in their restaurants after the show ended.
There a lot more behind the scenes activities that go on to make this show so popular. Check out all of the things that take place from applying to being on the show. Go to: https://www.delish.com/restaurants/g35252101/chopped-contestant-rules/?slide=40 there is a lot more to learn about this great show.
Next week I’ll have some fun facts about “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives”.
Art Koch, National Features & DVD Editor, NightMoves Magazine and AAN