Chopped is among the Food Network’s most successful shows. Four chefs compete for a $10,000 prize by crafting tasty dishes in less than 30 minutes. After each course, one chef is chopped, with the last chef standing winning the prize money. While the show is action-packed and drama-filled, there are a few secrets that the Chopped judges don’t want viewers to know, like the fact that they don’t actually eat the food that viewers see being prepared.
Judges taste different food than you see the chefs prepare
While Chopped and other food competition shows are condensed down into a 30-minute or 60-minute episode, the filming process actually takes much longer than that. Because filming takes so long, the food you see prepared in front of your eyes is rarely the food that the judges are actually tasting.
Because the show takes so long to film, judges often get a taste of the food while everything is being prepared. In some cases, the contestants are given a chance to tweak dishes, so they’ll be hot when they finally get to the judging tables. The judges from Masterchef have admitted they get to taste sauces and other components of a dish before actual judging and tend to judge based on what they eat at the stations, rather than at the judging table, according to Insider.
Ted Allen notes that hygiene isn’t always great on the set
Ted Allen, who serves as the host of the show, gets to see a lot of what is going on in the kitchen, and he’s noted that there are some hygiene issues that he has noticed. Allen told FN Dish that the most egregious hygiene issue he’s seen, aside from bleeding onto plates and dropping food on the floor, is sweating.
Allen noted that the overhead lights are incredibly hot, and everyone on the set is sweating, but apparently, some contestants are riper than others. Allen quipped that for some reason, the contestants who sweat the most are also the ones who happen to like bending over their plates to fiddle with them. Tasting food before its plated also helps with the sweating issue, one can assume. With that being said, Allen only tastes plates that look particularly interesting. His opinion, however, doesn’t factor into judging.
Chopped focuses on sous chefs for a reason
There is another reason that the chefs are given extra time to fiddle with their dishes before judges get their hands on them; the show focuses almost entirely on sous chefs. Allen told FN Dish that the focus on sous-chefs is intentional.
He noted that while executive chefs are at the pinnacle of their careers, that doesn’t mean they are behind the stove day in and day out. Sous chefs are generally the workers in the kitchen who execute most of the day-to-day cooking in most restaurants. Chopped focuses on them, according to Allen, to test their skills and give them a platform to succeed further.