7 Things You Don’t Know About ‘Chopped’

Chopped judges are contestants on the show
The food is real, but some of the drama might not be on Chopped. | Food Network

Food Network is behind some heavy hitting cooking shows. They include, Barefoot Contessa, Good Eats, Cupcake Wars, and of course, Chopped. We’ve been watching chefs get chopped since 2009. There’s still a lot to know about the cooking reality show. Ahead, find out seven things you didn’t know about Chopped.

Contestants always know the time

Tensions build at the end of every round when contestants rush to finish cooking and plate their dishes. The tension is real but the time left but if contestants seem like they lost track of time, that’s most likely manufactured. The time is always readily available thanks to a giant digital clock displayed on the wall. Additionally, contestants get updates on the time throughout the competition.

The show is easier now than in the past

Chopped basket
In past seasons, staff would move or remove some items in the kitchen. | Food Network

Get this: Today’s episodes of the show are easier than past seasons. “When I was on the show, they removed or moved a few items each round to confuse you,” Michael Vignola, a Chopped winner, told Tasting Table. “They don’t do that anymore!” he added. Imagine Chopped being even harder than the competition is now!

Chopped staff knows how to bring the drama

Stick of unwrapped butter
Contestants sometimes have to fight over ingredients. | iStock.com/littleny

The Chopped staff encourages drama on the show. They do this by controlling what’s in the kitchen. For Vignola this means having fond memories of duking it out for butter. “They’d put one stick of butter in the pantry and make you fight over it,” Vignola said.

Contestants know what’s in the pantry

They get to walk through the pantry before the competition. | Beats3/Getty Images

Pantry ingredients are never a surprise. “They always do walk-throughs of the pantry for contestants before the competition, so they know where ingredients are,” Vignola, a Chopped winner, told Tasting Table. But there’s a catch. “There’s only one jar of each spice and seasoning,” Kathy Fang, Chopped winner, told Delish.

Retakes happen

Chopped Competition
Contestants might have to open their baskets a few times before they can actually start cooking. | Food Network

“We have all 10 cameras right in their faces to catch reactions from every angle we can,” Ted Allen, the show’s host, told Yahoo during a Q&A. But retakes do happen. “Contestants might re-open the baskets a few times (with a cloth covering the ingredients) before getting to actually open the baskets and start,” Mashed says.

Judges taste food early

Chopped food network
They get the hot dishes right away. | Food Network

Chopped judges don’t taste contestants’ dishes cold all the time. When a round is over, judges taste the hot dishes immediately. “You can’t mess up the plates, but you can taste to see whether something is crispy, whether something is cooked through, taste the sauce before it has congealed or anything,” Allen told Yahoo!. Although judges do eat a lot of the food cold. “You have to get, real quick, accustomed to eating cold food,” he added.

Contestants adhere to a strict non-disclosure agreement

Chopped on Food network
Contestants would risk a lawsuit if any information slipped. | Food Network

Every Chopped contestant must sign a strict non-disclosure agreement, according to Mashed. Letting information slip to people may cost contestants nearly one million dollars. This means Chopped fans won’t find any spoilers online. No contestant wants to risk being the defendant in a lawsuit with the Food Network.

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!

Read more: Behind-the-scenes Secrets Revealed: A ‘Chopped’ Champion Tells All