Grab a snack — you are going to need one — and park yourself in front of the Food Network on Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. for “Chopped,” a competitive cooking show hosted by Ted Allen, the food and wine connoisseur of Bravo’s Emmy-winning show “Queer Eye (for the Straight Guy).” This is not your typical cooking show, however. Each week, four new competitors face off in the appetizer round, cooking restaurant quality meals under challenging time constraints and using the mystery ingredients for a chance of winning $10,000. After the 20 minutes fly by, they face three judges at the chopping block, where one chef is sent home because his or her meal didn’t meet the creativity, taste and presentation expectations. Beware: They never reveal who is chopped until after the commercial break, so don’t get yourself too worked up prior to the five minute break that separates you from knowing the fate of the chefs. Next up is the entrée round, where the remaining chefs have another mystery box full of obscure ingredients and only 30 minutes to cook them. The meals these chefs prepare are not only mouth watering but also very unpredictable. After another inconveniently placed commercial break, we are down to the final two for the dessert round.
The producers will put any weird ingredient in this round: tofu, tahini paste, stout beer, etc. Whoever makes both the best dessert and overall meal is named the “Chopped” champion of that week’s show. Then you must excitedly await the following week’s show to see what mystery ingredients they will come up with next.