October 10

Off The Chopping Block: 25 Things I Love About CHOPPED

You may or may not know that I have the very distinguished honor of being a judge on The Food Network’s hit series CHOPPED. I’ve been on the show since the first season aired in 2009, and every episode is a truly incredible experience. I love the cast, the crew, my fellow judges and most of all, what it teaches me as a chef every day.

It’s amazing to see the magic that goes on in the CHOPPED kitchen. I’ve spent some time in front of the judges myself, and I swear to you – it really is magic. The challenge is one of the hardest I’ve ever faced, and those ingredients are no joke. Click here to watch what happens when we take over the kitchen and take a turn unearthing the mysteries of the CHOPPED basket.


25 Things You May Not Know About CHOPPED

  1. One episode takes about 10-12 hours to shoot.
  2. The set is like one big family. We all really do love each other.
  3. The worst dish I’ve ever had to eat was rice and lamb heart soup.
  4. Who knew that leeks and tarragon would be a winning combination?
  5. The craziest combination I’ve ever tried was mango and bacon. It was delicious.
  6. I had never seen sea beans used in a dish before they were in a CHOPPED basket, and now I serve them at my restaurant Kingside.
  7. I got to judge alongside White House Chef Sam Kass. One of the coolest guys I’ve ever met.
  8. The original concept included a butler and a chihuahua.
  9. Our original studio was in Long Island City. Today we shoot at The Food Network Studios in Chelsea Market.
  10. We share a soundstage with Iron Chef America.
  11. I’ve competed on both CHOPPED and Iron Chef.
  12. We did a series of grilling episodes that we shot on location in Tucson, Arizona. We got to wear cowboy gear.
  13. We’ve shot over 200 episodes.
  14. The contestants REALLY don’t know what the basket ingredients are before Ted instructs them to open the basket.
  15. Many of my sous chefs have competed on the show. I have never judged them.
  16. We should all own stock in Pepto-Bismol.
  17. CHOPPED was nominated for an Emmy award in 2012.
  18. Ted Allen has a photographic memory. He can memorize lines in minutes.
  19. Six of the nine judges have kids.
  20. I’m known as the judge who cleans my plate. Always. No matter what.
  21. I’m always right.
  22. I really do believe you should always season with authority.
  23. One of the judges refuses to drink tap water – he’ll only drink sparkling. I’m not naming names.
  24. I don’t chop people on my days off.
  25. Filming the “Lunch Lady” episode was one of the most emotional days I’ve ever had. Those women truly deserve to be called School Chefs.