Photo Tour: Behind the Scenes of the Chopped Kitchen

by in Shows, April 26th, 2013

Food Network's Chopped KitchenWhen it comes to cooking on Chopped, much is made of each round’s mystery baskets, filled with four unusual and often disparate ingredients that chefs are required to incorporate into their dishes. While these oddball picks are, of course, what add deliciously addictive intrigue and drama to the show, it takes more than just a spread of peanut brittle, Marsala wine, durian and wonton wrappers to outcook the chopping block. If the competitors want to survive three rounds of intense culinary battle, they must utilize next-level appliances and advanced tools, in addition to a myriad of common and eccentric products alike, to transform the basket ingredients and create a winning plate.

To make sure competitors can do that as efficiently as possible within the short amount of time they have to cook, the culinary team that works Chopped has outfitted each chef’s prep station with ready-to-go equipment and stocked the pantry and refrigerator with almost every ingredient imaginable. FN Dish was curious about those supplies and wanted to know what kinds of ingredients are awaiting the chefs in the multiple nooks and crannies of Chopped Kitchen, so we turned to the culinary producer of the show to answer questions and provide an insider’s look at the set. Find out what she had to say below, then get an exclusive look at the kitchen, peek inside the refrigerator and see what’s on pantry shelves by browsing behind-the-scenes photos.

About how many ingredients are stocked in the pantry and refrigerator?
About 70 in fridge and about 200 in pantry

Food Network's Chopped Kitchen

What pans, tools and equipment come standard on each chef’s workstation?
Under the station: 4 saute pans, 1 stock pot, 3 saucepans, 1 sautoir pan, 3 mixing bowls, a cutting board and paper towels

Top of station: Cutting boards, wine key, Y peeler, meat thermometer, utensil bin, plating spoon and tasting spoon, 2 side towels, pepper grinder, kosher salt, ground pepper, extra virgin olive oil and canola oil

What kinds of oils, vinegars, flours, nuts and chocolates are in the pantry?
Oils: Sesame, roasted peanut, peanut, grapeseed, extra virgin olive oil and canola
Vinegars: Mirin, white wine, red wine, balsamic, sherry, Champagne, cider and rice
Nuts: Almonds and pine nuts
Flours: All-purpose, gluten-free all-purpose, rice and almond
Chocolate: Milk, dark, white, cocoa powder and cocoa nibs

Do the pantry ingredients change depending on the basket ingredients?

What are some of the most-used ingredients?
Bacon, bacon, bacon!

What are some of the least-used ingredients?
Molecular products

What’s in the “molecular section” of the pantry?
Sodium alginate, calcium chloride, agar agar, isomalt, xanthum gum and tapioca maltodextrin

Food Network's Chopped KitchenWhat are the most-modernist appliances available on set?
Anti-griddle, Cryovac, immersion circulator and smoking gun

Do the competitors bring their own knives to use, or are knives supplied?
We ask them to bring their own — most chefs want to. Only seven are allowed.

Where’s the most-remote place you’ve gone to source an ingredient? What was the ingredient?
Wandering the streets of Jackson Heights, N.Y., searching for goat brains.

Is anything set up for the chefs before the rounds begin? It looks like there are already pots heating on the stove and water boiling.
Ovens and blast chiller is on; water is boiling.

Tune in to round 4 of Chopped All-Stars on Sunday, April 28 at 9pm/8c, and don’t miss Chopped After Hours on following the brand-new episode on Tuesday, April 30 at 10pm/9c.

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Comments (58)

  1. GENA DEVINE says:


  2. Ann says:

    I wish Chopped would have an episode where the judges do not know which contestant prepares which dish. Sometimes, I feel like personalities play a large part in their decisions.

    • Tina says:

      I've been saying that for a long time. and the iron chefs episodes too. should all be blind taste testing. then you really know if they know their food or not.. the judges that is

      • PJA says:

        I never thought about that, but it's a great idea. I believe the judges are fairly objective. I used to not like Alex at all, but I just started really listening to her. She seems to really be in the corner of all the chefs and seems to want all to succeed. Yes, she is critical, but she is, after all, a critic. Her criticism seems well-balanced and she has many encouraging and kind words for the contestants. However, back to your original idea, that would be a great idea to do once in awhile, at least. Because I have thought occasionally, though rarely, that bias does come into the judging. Not racial bias, but bias if a contestant is a little flaky or odd or argumentative, etc.

        • Tina says:

          I think the real test to see if a judge is honestly judging the food and not the person would be if they didn't even see how the contestants were preparing the food. The plates would just be presented and they would have to taste from there and make teir comments. Then after all the food is tasted and the results tallied on paper, should the chefs come and stand in front of them for the final results. That would be fair. I know when I watch chopped the judges (and some more judgemental of the preparations than the food itself, base their tasting on what they saw being prepared and not what it actually is. Whats fair if fair. You don't go into a restaurant and watch the chefs prepare your meals, you just sit there and hope they taste good. if not good then you can comment.

  3. Tina says:

    what I don't like about chopped (aside from zacharian and alex) is they tell the contestants they can use a little or a lot of the ingredient yet the judges complain they can't taste one or there isn't enough of something and they get chopped. The ingredient is in there. Maybe they should watch the video to see. And I THINK IT SHOULD BE A BLIND TASTE TESTING. ZACHARIAN AND GORNACHELLI AND A FEW OTHERS ARE BIASED AND THEY LOOK AT THE CHEF INSTEAD OF REALLY EXAMINING THE FOOD FLAVOR PROFILE. I don't like when they glare at the contestants either. that is just rude and unprofessional.

    • Matthew says:

      I don't think they're biased its just like some people don't use enough, which leads to getting Chopped for not using enough. Then if you use too much, it overpowers the other basket ingredients which leads to not tasting other ingredient which gets them Chopped. Also, the judges don't glare they give confused looks, which isn't rude or unprofessional.

  4. donna says:

    i like chopped just the way it is some of you people should try to judge or better yet try to compete

  5. MoHub says:

    I've always wanted to know whether the the contestants are allowed to scout the pantry and fridge—or at least given a floor plan—before the competition starts to get an idea of what's in there. Sometimes they seem to be really hunting for ingredients and tools, and other times, they seem to be able to go straight to what they need.

  6. Becky says:

    I don't think a blind taste test would be as exciting. The judges then wouldn't be able to observe and comment on the techniques and progression of the food being made, and we therefore would miss one of the most critical and entertaining aspects of the show. I love hearing them discuss the ingredients and how each contestant is using them or the tools and appliances in the kitchen. I also love seeing their expressions and reactions to what is going on with each contestant as they tackle each course.

  7. Christopher Cooper says:

    I enjoy watching Chopped and I can say it has enhanced my cooking techniques and knowledge of different foods that I wouldn't have ever tried or known about.

    • PJA says:

      I agree Christopher! I have never been to culinary school or even been interested in cooking better until I started watching Food Network and particularly, 'Chopped'. It has also enhanced my cooking techniques, made me more curious about ingredients and spices that go well together, helped me to multi-task better-just by watching the Chopped contestants. I am totally into trying new foods now and experiementing in the kitchen! Have had a lot of clunkers on experimentation but also have had some winners! I LOVE grilled kale now…would have never tried it if not for the cooking shows.

  8. Kathy S. says:

    I can imagine how the contestants must replay, in their heads, what they would make if given a second opportunity with those same 4 mystery ingredients. I'd love to see a program of just that! Invite the same 4 contestants back and give them the same ingredients, knowing that they've probably thought of dozens of options other than what they put on the plate the first time. 'Chopped Revisited'

  9. Leah says:

    I would love to see an episode where the judges have to cook and are judged by some of the past winners of Chopped.

  10. Crystal says:

    You show us detail of the pantry and various appliances. How about show the stove.
    Please! What kind of stove is that? and where can I find one?

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