Talented young chefs from across the country compete for a chance to sit behind the judges’ table and give the Chopped judges a taste of their own medicine, in the first-ever Chopped Junior: Make Me a Judge tournament, premiering Wednesday, March 8 at 8|7c. In the three preliminary-themed heats, the 12 junior chefs compete to create unique and delectable dishes over three rounds, judged by a rotating panel of Chopped judges. The winner of each episode will receive $10,000 and advance to the finale where they take a seat behind the judges’ table. The junior judges will then decide the fates of Chopped stars Amanda Freitag, Alex Guarnaschelli, Marcus Samuelsson and Chris Santos as the chefs serve up their dishes for a chance to earn bragging rights and $25,000 for charity.
Make Me a Judge: Episode 1 — Wednesday, March 8 at 8|7c
In the first competition, a burger theme shapes what the kids cook. In the appetizer round, they must use an unusual ice pop and a small egg delicacy. The entree round delivers straightforward burger meat but with a sweet oniony condiment. The two remaining chefs must figure out how to make burger-inspired desserts using a cured meat ingredient and fresh fruit.
Judges: Amanda Freitag, Alex Guarnaschelli, Marc Murphy
Make Me a Judge: Episode 2 — Wednesday, March 15 at 8|7c
The excitement continues as four eager young cooks compete for a chance to become a judge in the finale. This competition is all about barbecue, and the group has to work with a different barbecue sauce in each round. In the appetizer basket, the junior chefs must transform cookies and a slimy vegetable into delicious starters. A pork product must be paired with fresh greens in the entree course. Then the finalists struggle to place cheese in their desserts.
Judges: Maneet Chauhan, Alex Guarnaschelli, Chris Santos
Make Me a Judge: Episode 3 — Wednesday, March 22 at 8|7c
The third and final seat at the judges’ table is up for grabs. Four precocious junior chefs tackle the mystery baskets with a baking theme. The appetizer basket reveals a South American sausage and a baked cheesy treat. The young cooks are surprised to find their protein in whole-animal form in the entree round, and the two finalists must transform a tart berry and colorful cookie dough into delicious desserts.
Judges: Scott Conant, Amanda Freitag, Alex Guarnschelli
Make Me a Judge: Finale — Wednesday, March 29 at 8|7c
Three Chopped Junior champions are taking a seat at the chopping block, as four regular Chopped judges compete for $25,000 for charity. The chefs are cooking with some of the same ingredients that the junior chefs used but with a few shocking twists, starting with cured fish roe in the appetizer basket. The entree basket contains some familiar barbecue ingredients, and the chefs must also incorporate an elaborate gelatin creation. The dessert basket turns into an ice cream showdown, and the remaining two chefs must cook with ears.
Competitors: Amanda Freitag, Alex Guarnaschelli, Marcus Samuelsson, Chris Santos
Check out more Chopped Junior at FoodNetwork.com/ChoppedJunior and join the conversation with #ChoppedJunior.