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File:Chopped-food-network-001 9317.png
"Chefs, open your baskets. In them you will find Noodle Implements."
—Ted Allen, host of Chopped

Crossing Iron Chef and Top Chef, Chopped is a Cooking Show competition. Like Iron Chef, the competitors are given secret ingredients they must use; Chopped gives them a basket containing three or four per course instead of just one. Also like Iron Chef, they have to make an entire meal, but only three courses rather than five. Like Top Chef's "Quickfires", the time limits are short, typically 20 minutes for the appetizer and 30 minutes for the entrée and dessert dishes.

The show follows a simple recipe. Take four chefs (preferably of varying careers, training, and specialties) and throw them into the bowl. Mix in three rounds of fast paced cooking with a basket of secret ingredients (at least one ingredient in each basket should be quirky, obscure, or difficult to work with). Quickly beat in a mixture of Jerkass and Nice Guy judges. Do not forget a can of "I'm Screwed...", this is needed to keep you sucked in! Bake for one hour and serve while hot. Goes well with a serving of Good Eats for dessert.

Opinions on the show will vary, but it could be compared to Iron Chef lite. However, given the short prep time available, the frequency of off-the-wall ingredients, and the do-or-die nature of the competition, this format may be more difficult than Iron Chef.

The show is part of Food Network's primetime block of programming and has run since January 2009. About five episodes at a time are available on Hulu.

This show provides examples of the following tropes:

  • A Day in the Limelight: Ingredients that none of the chefs have even heard of make their way to the baskets sometimes, like karela and dulse. In the case of an ingredient called violet mustard, not even the judges, who are highly accomplished chefs, had heard of it before. Crosses with Edutainment Show.
    • During the Chopped All-Stars tournament, Marcus Samuelsson, who had appeared as a judge a small number of times before, sat for four of the five tournament episodes. He has since become one of the regular judges.
      • He then went on to compete in and win the second All-Star tournament.
    • The judges' episodes in the All-Stars tournament definitely count as this.
    • Keegan Gerhard (of Food Network Challenge) and Jacques Torres got their day in the limelight during their appearances in All-Stars.
  • All-Star Cast: Literally, with the Chopped All-Stars episodes, which feature Robert Irvine and Duff Goldman as contestants, along with a few of the traditional judges.
    • The second season features four of the Iron Chefs, including Cat Cora, who hasn't been on ICA in quite some time.
  • Bacon Addiction: Whoever comes up with the mystery baskets has a singular obsession with bacon and its relatives (i.e. cured, fatty pork in all its forms).
  • Bald of Awesome: Chris Santos.
  • Bait and Switch: The ingredients (usually offal) sometimes gets this treatment. The name says one thing, but when either the judges or Ted talks about it, it really means another thing. Take for example "duck white kidneys." Take a guess what that is. [1].
    • How about "Rocky Mountain oysters?" [2]
  • Bait and Switch Boss: Michael Symon in the second finals of All-Stars. Considering his expertise cooking under pressure, it looked like he was the shoe-in for the final two. But then he gets eliminated for leaving off an ingredient in the appetizer round. That, in turn, would make Marcus Samuelsson the "boss" of that episode, who is just as tough as Symon.
  • Berserk Button: Most the judges have one.
    • Scott Conant - mistreated Italian ingredients, too much black pepper, raw red onions.
    • Alex Guarnaschelli - being interrupted while she's talking, sloppy presentation.
    • Chris Santos - inedible objects on the plate, though in his case its more of a "mildly annoyed button". Though he will harp on chefs who do unclean things like tasting liquor from the bottle and pouring the liquid into his food, and the ever dreaded double dip.
    • Amanda Freitag - uncleaned shrimp.
    • Geoffrey Zakarian - inadequate portion sizes. Also, food that is too spicy and desserts that are too sweet.
    • Marc Murphy - Focusing so much on being creative that the food suffers, adding too many other ingredients. The addition of truffle oil also seems to really annoy him.
    • Aarón Sanchez - Not using a whole bird when one is given, mistreated Mexican ingredients and undercooked rice.
      • He also seems to have a problem with Hispanic or Latino chefs cooking outside their ethnicity, at times. He actually asked one of them "Are you ashamed of your roots?" just because he used Asian flavors.
    • Contestants are often very annoyed or disgusted when having to deal with a pre-processed ingredient such as instant soup.
      • This can be a bit of a berserk button for viewers both because it makes them seem whiny and because most viewers have products like those in their own kitchens.
        • Taken to a worse level on the leftovers episode when one of the chef stated that she never had cooked with leftovers and then bashes the quality of ingredients. Plenty of home viewers were very angry at her.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Many of the special episodes where the contestants are competing for charity. One charity gets $10,000 (or even $50,000) dollars! ... And three charities (or twelve charities) get a bit of minor publicity.
    • It was worse on the second season of All-Stars when Chris Santos was explaining why he was playing for charity [3], Alex Guarnaschelli shed tears of sympathy. Chris Santos was chopped on the first round
  • Brand X: Ingredients are never identified by brand name, instead being given a bland description; "chocolate-hazelnut spread" rather than "Nutella", or "fruit ring cereal" rather than "Froot Loops"
  • Brain Food: A literal example when "goat brains" were one of the secret ingredients.
  • Camera Abuse: One example is seen in a version of the show's opening where a contestant opens a bottle of champagne and the alcohol explodes out of the bottle appropriately, hitting the low-angled camera.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': If a chef plates three plates of food perfectly but leaves one plate empty (or missing an ingredient that went on all the other plates), it will be made sure that the lacking plate is put in front of one of the judges, not set aside for the chopping block.
    • Happens when contestants just "put the secret ingredients on the plate without doing anything other than chopping them." Usually.
    • In the 1st All-Stars tournament, Jacques Torres pulled cocoa nibs from his pockets and the judges took note of it. When it came down to who to chop, it was either Anita Lo (who had failed to complete all four plates) or Jacques Torres (burnt chorizo on cocoa nibs). The judges opted to chop Chef Torres for using an illegal ingredient.
  • Can't Hold His Spice: Geoffrey Zakarian. Made funnier when Aarón Sanchez and/or Chris Santos are part of the judging panel and they all get served a relatively spicy dish they both can handle.
    • Amanda Freitag also seems to struggle with spice at times.
  • Captain Obvious / As You Know: Ted Allen invariably asks the judges if they can come to a decision. Marc Murphy has recently been responding to this with "we have to."
    • Particularly bad in the episode with four English chefs: "As you know, this is an elimination-driven competition..."
    • Lampshaded when he recites the rules to returning contestants or, in All-Stars, the judges: "You know the rules already, but let's keep up tradition."
    • In the second judges' episode, he says "You already know the rules, but I'm going to recite them anyway, because that's what I live for".
  • Caustic Critic: Oh yeah. Most of the judges. Especially Conant. Though in later seasons, they seem to have softened.
  • Christmas Episode: Twice. Called Chopped Holiday. The set is decorated to evoke Christmas Eve. At least one of the mystery ingredients have something to do with the December holidays. The chefs were instructed to put a holiday theme into their dishes.
  • Combat Commentator: Ted Allen and the judges follow a similar structure to Iron Chef, commenting on the cooking techniques of the competitors. The competitors themselves get in on the action in after-action interviews.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Judge Susan Feniger. She often isn't even looking at the person to whom she is talking. Given her behavior and her appearance, she would have been the perfect choice to play Professor Trelawney.
  • Cooking Duel: The final round is a one on one competition between the two chefs who make it to the Dessert Round.
  • Cooking Show: It is, after all, on the Food Network...
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: Averted. The required mystery ingredients make it seem that this is inevitable, but the chefs use the fully-stocked pantry and fridge to avoid this problem. Usually.
  • Crossover: This is one of the few shows on Food Network that receives the crossover treatment from other Food Network competition shows, such as Rachel vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off and The Next Food Network Star. And on those crossover episodes, the rules and/or basket ingredients are much, much easier to work with.
  • Deaf Composer: Several chefs have created dishes with mystery ingredients they can't taste due to allergies or other dietary restrictions (e.g., a Kosher chef cooking prosciutto or a vegetarian Chef cooking meat). When one chef got through two rounds despite being allergic to ingredients in both, his competitor worried about how well he might do when he could actually taste the food.
    • Actually, in one episode, one chef couldn't taste anything because all three rounds contained a mystery ingredient that he was allergic to. Luckily, he does remember the taste of the ingredients to know how to compose them.
  • Denied Food as Punishment: Inverted. If the chef doesn't make exactly four servings (three for the judges and one for display/the Chopping Block) or get all the elements onto the plate on time, the judges may not be able to taste everything (and therefore cannot be considered into judgement). However, if the chef does something Squick-worthy (usually bleeding into the food), the judges definitely won't eat their food - which invariably gets the chef chopped.
    • In one episode, the judges were so grossed out by a contestant bleeding profusely, even under several layers of gloves, and still working with his hands instead of utensils that they refused to taste anything.
    • Cross-contamination also seems to be an issue at times, e.g., putting cooked chicken on the board you originally cut it on when it was raw.
  • Did Not Do the Research: The chefs can fall into this trope at times, which can be justified if the chefs never heard of the ingredient or are not too familiar with it. Considering how often odd or exotic ingredients appear in the baskets, this happens a lot. However, there is one egregious example that cannot be justified as a trope: rattlesnake meat. [4]
  • Does Not Like Red Onions: Scott Conant. Justified that serving raw onions are never a good idea.
  • Double Entendre: In the 2nd season of All-Stars, Chef Penny couldn't find a meat tenderizer, so she found an "interesting" way to tenderize the steak. Right after Ted asked what Penny was doing, Amanda Freitag couldn't wait to say "She's beating her meat!", much to the amusement of Scott Conant.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • Early episodes featured ingredients that made perfect sense together, such as duck, ginger, green onions, and honey for an entrée. The baskets have gotten progressively harder, to the point where a dessert basket practically seems easy if it contains a single sweet ingredient.
    • Appetizer rounds were 30 minutes long in Season 1. This was cut to twenty minutes in all subsequent episodes.
    • Several early episodes imply that they would sometimes remove ingredients from the pantry that are usually there. One episode has the sugar bin disappear in the dessert round and another replaces the eight-dozen eggs in the fridge with two single eggs.
    • Early episodes had a very different background behind the judges, different fonts, and more closeups.
    • Episodes from the first season had a variable number of secret ingredients, anywhere from three to five. For Season 3 and most of Season 2, this was changed to three ingredients for the now-shortened appetizer round and four ingredients for the entrée and dessert rounds. Afterwards, the number settled on four ingredients for all rounds, with isolated episodes having three in the appetizer round.
    • During earlier seasons, the judges were not as strict in regards to who they'd vote out. This was made the absolute clearest in one episode where a contestant dropped a piece of meat, picked it up from the floor and still decided to plate and serve it. The judge it was served to was adamant about eliminating that chef, but the other two judges decided to save him because they liked his dish and it was not their meat that had been dropped on the floor.
  • Edutainment Show: You're likely to learn about at least one obscure ingredient per episode. If the judges don't know, they get to learn from the show, usually from Ted.
  • Epic Fail:
    • In one episode, two contestants so utterly failed to integrate half the mystery ingredients that the judges wanted to chop both of them after the appetizer round.
    • Another episode featured an entrée round in which one competitor severely undercooked Cornish hen, another one committed cross-contamination, and the third an appetizer portion and rendered one of the basket ingredients invisible. The response to the whole round?

 Ted: (flatly) "Well, that entrée round did not go well at all."

(Cut to judges' extremely shocked expressions.)

    • In the appetizer round of the first All-Stars episode, one chef only managed to plate one out of four basket ingredients!
    • Michelle Garcia inexplicably hitting the extraction button instead of production on the ice cream machine.
    • In one of the earlier seasons, a chef lost track of time so badly that he did not plate a single thing in any of his four plates.
  • Exact Words: When it comes to trick ingredients like boxed macaroni & cheese or Neapolitan ice cream, the implicit challenge is to use all parts of it. More than once, contestants have argued that they only used the easy part (i.e., just the pasta or just the vanilla ice cream) on the grounds that the rules say "use as much or as little as you want." Scott Conant actually agreed with the contestant's reasoning.
    • May be combined with Analogy Backfire: The usual argument is "if you gave us a chicken, would you expect us to use both the breasts and the legs?" In several episodes where contestants were dealing with whole birds, the judges complained if they only received one type of meat.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Occurs occasionally if two specific ingredients show up in the basket together. The judges will frequently criticize any attempt to "segment" the ingredients into being separate on the plate rather than all combined harmoniously into a single dish, and anyone that's seen the show (or just heard this in a previous round) will know this. Except the basket has, more than once, included fish and cheese. So if you make two separate things on the same plate, you could get dinged. If you put the fish and cheese together, you could get dinged.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: Often averted. They've moved away from this but for awhile, they seemed to have an awful lot of female vegetarian or organic chefs who were offended by having to deal with meat. Which since they've never had a show that has lacked a protein...
    • Heck. They rarely have a ROUND without protein. Even dessert sometimes.
  • Flat What: One contestant's reaction to lime pickle[5].
  • Follow the Leader: If one of the chefs has an emotional moment and starts tearing up onscreen, you can be sure that one of the other chefs will dig for some reason to do the same in the next round (or even the same one, if they have a chance).
  • Food Porn: Some of the ingredients are incredibly obscure to the audience, and sometimes even the chefs. Long shots of every ingredient and dish are also provided in this style.
  • Foregone Conclusion / Downer Ending: On the particularly bad episode where the entrée round was deemed an epic failure (see Epic Fail above), the chef that didn't contaminate the Cornish hen became the Champion. Even Maneet Chauhan confirmed it on the final chop.
  • French Cuisine Is Haughty: Played straight and subverted. French-trained chefs have competed on Chopped (even a Master Chef), complete with dishes that normal people can't pronounce. However, none of them have appeared upper-crust or arrogant. Heck, the Master Chef was one of the more humble contestants considering he was competing to pay his staff so they didn't have to look for work in a bad economy.
  • Genre Blind: For such a popular show, you'd be surprised how many chefs fall for the Schmuck Baits below, includinng TRUFFLE OIL!
  • Genre Savvy: Many chefs that have watched Chopped know the basic tricks of the competition, including what not to serve to Scott Conant, and not going with the obvious with certain groups of ingredients.
    • Said straight by Jeffrey Saad in the first round.

 "The expectation in Chopped is not to do the obvious."

 "The crackers kill my life."

  • Halloween Episode: Twice, and with at least one of the mystery ingredients having something to do with Halloween. The chefs were instructed to put that theme into their dishes. The set is decorated in skull candles and other Halloweeny things and the judges wear masks during a few scenes.
  • Hey It's That Music: When the chefs are standing around the Chopping Block, the show sometimes plays background music from Space Empires V.
    • Some of the music used in Chopped seems to appear in Man v. Food.
  • Humiliation Conga: Happens in redemption and Championship episodes where the chef either wins or comes in 2nd place in his/her initial appearance only to end up chopped on the appetizer round of his/her redemption/Championship semifinal.
    • Chris Coombs suffered a very bad case of this, especially losing to the same chef that originally got chopped for plating only one rattlesnake dish.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Over the course of two episodes, one contestant was overconfident, talked over the judges (and Ted), accused a competitor of stealing his food after he misplaced it, and refused to let the judges taste a component that didn't make it on to the plate. Then he stopped in the middle of the dessert round to open a can for a leftie competitor struggling with a right-handed can opener.
  • Jerkass: Often the judges, and sometimes the chefs.
    • One chef who was the only one to vote against allowing judges to taste a late submission by another chef. They have since changed the rules to prevent this.
    • Judge Alex Guarnaschelli can fall into this sometimes, although she'll usually only be mean if the chef deserves it.
      • The fact that she has the same exact same expression no matter what she's about to say has led to more than one contestant begin to defend their dish just as she's about to say how good it is. Hilarity Ensues.
      • One incident of note for Guarnaschelli: one contestant only managed to plate a single serving of her appetizer, but either by her choice or by luck, it ended up in front of Alex. She spent the entire deliberations arguing in that chef's favor. Fortunately, the other two judges refused to bend.
    • Scott Conant appears to be taking up the role of Jerkass Judge (see Berserk Button).
    • One chef openly admitted that the prize money wasn't even the reason he wanted to win; he wanted the bragging rights, especially against his ex-girlfriend, who also happened to have competed on the show previously. He also stated that he was supposed to be getting married, but rather than use the money from the competition to buy a wedding ring, he decides he wants to go to Las Vegas. He won.
    • One chef, aside from being jerky to his competitors, started arguing with the judges after he got chopped in the last round, pointing out the flaws they mentioned in the winner's dishes and asking if his dishes had those problems.
    • One competitor threw such a drama fit after being eliminated that he actually refused to walk by the "chopping door". He stopped, waved the camera off angrily, ducked into a different room, then emerged with his things and left by a different door. He was that much of a sore loser.
      • As if that was not enough, he outright admitted that he was cooking for himself and not for the judges, then he actually gets angry when the judges comment on what they disliked about the food and eventually eliminate him.
    • Surprising no one, Penny from The Next Food Network Star in her appearances on the All-Stars battle. She was as rude as ever to the other competitors, and she repeatedly made it very clear that she was there purely for the attention and because she apparently thought if she won, Food Network would decide to give her a show after all. Her charity was always mentioned as an afterthought, if at all.
  • Impossibly Delicious Food: Considering the randomness of what's inside the baskets, the good dishes are often this.
    • The appetizer basket of the second All-Stars Tournament episode contained canned haggis. Because fresh haggis wasn't bad enough. And all four chefs made it delicious!
    • One contestant, lacking confidence in his ability to fillet eel, decided to make a soup... along with cream, peas, and peaches. The result was surprisingly good.
  • It Tastes Like Feet: One contestant believes he's in a lot of trouble because the basket contained two "foot-flavored ingredients" : papayas and jura erguel cheese.
    • Another chef commented that passion fruit tastes like perfume.
    • A third chef had never used rose water and made the mistake of tasting a spoonful. "It tasted like a bar of soap!" Lampshaded by Geoffrey Zakarian.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • In the dessert round of first semifinals match of the 2nd Chopped Champions, one chef proceeds to smack talk the other competitor right in front of the judge's faces during the round. He ended up having undercooked pie crust, which got him eliminated.
    • In the finals of the 2nd All-Stars Tournament, Chef Penny smack talks all of the competitors, claiming that she can win against Marcus Samuelsson and Jeffrey Saad, as well as getting Michael Symon eliminated. [6] In the entrée round, she ended up putting inedible bonito skin in all of the judges' plates, and that got her eliminated.
      • Double subverted and then averted in the same incident. Jeffrey happily notes that Penny served bonito skin which will get her chopped. Oh, she did get chopped, alright. But then Jeffrey served bonito skin to Chris Santos. Cue Oh Crap.
      • Even more humiliating was that in the round Penny was eliminated in, everyone cooked North African/Middle Eastern cuisine [7], Penny's specialty.
  • Lethal Chef: Can occur when the chef doesn't fully cook something, or fails to clean something properly. Or bleeds all over something and serves it anyway. Or when bleeds all over the food so badly during preparation without putting on gloves that one of the producers forced the chef to start the dish all over.
    • Can become real if cherimoya comes into play. The cherimoya seeds cannot be used because they are used in pesticides and are extremely poisonous. As a result, Ted must announce before the start of the round that the seeds must be removed prior to preparation.
      • Unfortunately, more than once, the seeds did appear in some of the judges' dishes.
      • On the third episode that featured the ingredient, Ted forgot to tell the contestants that the seeds cannot be used, and one of them chef tried to toast them. Luckily, Ted caught the mistake in time.
  • Made of Iron: Chefs often cut themselves in the middle of competition. They just as often clean up, put on a glove, and keep going. Or, as noted above, just keep going.
    • Anne Burrell got splashed in the eye with burning oil in the first round. And won.
    • Yoanne Margis spilled boiling water on her legs, got up, finished the round, and then went on to the finals with 2nd degree burns on both legs.
  • Never Mess with Granny: One of the Chopped Champions was a Cool Old Lady. As the judges pointed out several times in the episode, she was a former parachuting wartime nurse.
  • Noodle Implements: Duh.
  • Odd Ingredient Out: The basket usually contains a mix along the lines of "Meat, vegetable, vegetable, something out of left field."
    • For example, one appetizer basket contained: catfish, tomatillos, rutabagas, -- and marshmallows. An entrée basket had elk tenderloin, caperberries, parsley root -- and chocolate-hazelnut spread.
    • One main course basket contained yellow miso paste, pork shoulder, mountain yam, and astronaut ice cream.
  • Oh Crap: The word-for-word reaction of both competitors when they realize that they're making the same dessert, or when they find an ingredient that is completely foreign to them.
    • In one episode, this is the only way to describe the reaction of a chef who had to cook with two different ingredients to which he was fatally allergic.
  • One-Note Cook: A quick way to get chopped.
  • Oven Logic: Invoked and played straight many times, especially if the chef misjudges the time it takes to cook the food. Or when a chef cooks pork chops on the whole rack or double bone, but find out five minutes near the end that the center is raw.
  • Precision F-Strike: Geoffrey Zakarian in the episode where the judges compete. Aarón Sanchez asks him to save him some eggs. Geoffrey's response is a joking "Fuck you!"
  • Pungeon Master: Ted Allen.
  • Railroading:
    • In the Dessert course of the first Chopped Champions finale, the basket contained cake flour and the contestants were given fifty minutes. One of the judges made it clear that the setup was to, effectively, force the contestants to bake.
    • Partially averted in the second Chopped Champions finale. In the desert course, the basket contained arucana eggs, bread flour, goat's milk and turbinato sugar. The judges, again, comment that basket seems to say "bake me". One contestant proceeds to make a parfait instead.
    • In the judges-only Chopped All-Stars, they gave the contestants a whole duck for the entrée round and then an extra 10 minutes in the expectation that they'd use most of the duck. The judges weren't thrilled when Geoffrey Zakarian proceeded to use just the breast.
  • Reality Show
  • Redemption Quest: Obviously the Redemption episodes.
  • Rule of Three: Three rounds, [8], three judges, and three eliminations.
  • Running Gag / Overly Long Gag: Not invoked very often, but it does come up sporadically in terms of the ingredients, where one ingredient in each of the rounds has something suspiciously in common with eachother. In the firefighters' episode, the ingredients were hotdogs (appetizer), Italian hot peppers (entrée), and coal candy (dessert). [9]
    • The Halloween-themed episodes definitely count.
    • One episode had duck confit in the appetizer, duck breast in the entrée, and duck eggs in the dessert.
    • In another episode, one chef used chocolate in all of his dishes. He won.
    • Averted in one episode where fish was an ingredient in both appetizer and entrée rounds, but not in the dessert round.
  • Runs with Scissors: One contestant got so wrapped up in a round that he did not realize he ran from the cooking area to the pantry and back with knife still in hand (blade out!), much to the horror of the judges.
  • Serial Escalation: Each successive season tops the last with weird and challenging basket ingredients. The Season 8 redemption episode featured a dessert basket containing duck eggs, russet potatoes, farmer's cheese, and honey herb cough drops, which aren't even technically food.
    • And surprisingly, neither chef complained.
    • How about "chicken in a can"? So odd that Ted actually said the ingredient name twice.
      • Canned. Haggis.
  • Schmuck Bait: You'd be surprised how often contestants serve judge Scott Conant mistreated Italian ingredients - especially pasta. Although they've appeared to become a bit Genre Savvy and don't offer him raw red onions anymore.
    • Or how often someone bleeds all over the place and yet still doesn't quite understand how this dooms them.
    • The ice cream machine. Just using it in earlier seasons would almost certainly ensure contestants the victory. As the show went on, more and more chefs used it, but with varying degrees of success.
    • Truffle oil. Ninety percent of the time, the judges will groan when they see truffle oil being used.
    • During the Southern Chefs episode, Ted notes that they have just put in instant grits in the pantry to see if any of the chefs will fall for it. And one of them actually does. And the same contestant does get chopped because of "lack of creativity" associated with using instant grits.
  • Secret Ingredient: Reversed. Like Iron Chef, the ingredient is a secret from the chef, instead of it being of the chef. And is the whole point of this show.
  • Silver Fox: Geoffrey Zakarian.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Almost every episode has at least one female chef, it's very rare that it's all male chefs.
  • Straight Gay: Ted Allen. He was the "Food Guy" on Queer Eye For The Straight Guy.
  • Supreme Chef: The winners of the Champions' tournaments, called Chopped Grand Champions.
  • Special Guest Judge: Sam Kass, Assistant White House Chef, for the Lunchladies episode.
    • Anne Burrell, previous Chopped All-Stars competitor, for the 2nd All-Stars finale.
  • Taught by Television: During the lunch lady episode, one of the contestants watched the show frequently enough to know what and where everything was in the pantry, including a rather obscure ingredient.
    • Subverted into Did Not Do the Research in one one odd case. One of the contestants opted to make potatoes because that's what one of the judges likes. He was explaining to Geoffrey Zakarian that he knew that he likes potatoes, but Geoffrey said "No, no. That's Marc." The kicker? Marc wasn't one of the judges that episode. However, he was a judge in a previous episode the same contestant had been in.
  • Technician Versus Performer: Happens often enough in the dessert rounds when chefs with different styles face off. The judges often describe one as having a very precise style of cooking, with the other cooking more creatively and soulfully. This usually balances out to a very close last round.
  • Title Drop: "Whose dish/plate is on the chopping block?"
  • Took a Level In Badass:
    • Chef Jessica Mogardo, at the time working for free and living in her sister's apartment, was so nervous in the beginning of her competition that Marc Murphy had to calm her down. Not only did she end up winning against 3 seasoned chefs and getting $10,000, she would later be a sous chef for Iron Chef Jose Garces on the Mexican Chocolate episode of Iron Chef America. Quite a level she's jumped.
      • She then appeared on a season 2 episode of Sweet Genius, which she also wins.
    • In another recent case, in what turned to be a Stern Teacher moment, Chef Vinson Petrillo was so nervous that it took three judges to calm him down. After being nearly eliminated in the appetizer round for simply putting the four secret ingredients on the plate, he goes on to produce two perfect dishes in the next two rounds, eventually becoming Chopped Champion. Talk about doing a 180 in a single round.
    • On a meta level, Chopped Grand Champion Madison Cowan went on Iron Chef America with "Team Chopped" against Jose Garces on Battle Kale. And, like the rest of his battles on Chopped, he won. By a lot.
      • On a related note, Lance Nitahara lost against Madison Cowan, and then won against Yoanne Margis in the second Redemption episode. He then became a sous chef for Chef Cowan in "Team Chopped." This crosses over into Defeat Means Friendship in Nitahara's case due to his respect of Chef Cowan when they both initially battled.
    • Chefs Alina Eisenhauer and Katie Rosenhouse, who did not win on Chopped (Katie having competed twice), went on to compete on Sweet Genius, which has a similar premise to Chopped, and they both manage to earn hard-fought victories.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Marc Murphy loves potatoes.
  • Viewers are Morons: Discussed and then subverted. In the Viewer's Choice episode, Geoffrey Zakarian was very surprised at the ingredients the home viewers chose for the contestants, thinking, "They could NOT possibly know about those kinds of ingredients."
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: Competition cooking? The only thing better than this is competitive eating.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: One episode had rattlesnake meat. One contestant was so frazzled by the rattlesnake that she only completed one plate.
  • Worthy Opponent: Often said by the competitors of each other in the dessert round.
    • Lance Nitahara did this twice - in his first match, he was quick to applaud his opponents, particularly Madison Cowan, who defeated him. In his redemption match, he was so certain that Yoanne Margis outdid him that he offered to buy a ticket for Chef Margis to visit her grandmother in France, which was her planned use for the prize money if she had won, after the judges gave Chef Nitahara the victory.
    • One chef allowed a competitor to use the grill and ingredients in their station because they wanted to win by their cooking ability alone.
  • X Meets Y: Iron Chef meets speed chess.
    • Also occurs with some of the ingredients that the chefs are given.


  1. Duck testicles
  2. Bull testicles
  3. His child was suffering a very debilitating disease, and the money was supposed to go to his charity.
  4. This is also a case of Somewhere a Herpetologist Is Crying. On the rattlesnake episode, Chris Coombs declared that rattlesnake is poisonous if not cooked properly. The only venomous (note the word venomous) part of the rattlesnake are the venom glands behind the fangs, and the chefs were given the meat, which contained no venom.
  5. A strong-tasting Indian condiment of preserved limes with chili and garlic
  6. Michael Symon made the mistake of leaving out okra, which had nothing to do with Penny's skill.
  7. (Couscous is one of the basket ingredients, so the chefs were forced into the North African/Middle Eastern direction that round.)
  8. (officially speaking it's taste, presentation and creativity)
  9. It's a cinnamon-based candy made to resemble coal.
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