What makes Chopped such a successful competition show, one that, to this day, still excites fans and keeps unsuspecting chefs on their toes? According to host Ted Allen, a number of factors add up to make Chopped great television, but at the heart of it is an unyielding passion for food that’s on display every time a chef opens a basket of mystery ingredients. Whether you watch Chopped, Chopped Junior or the tournaments (Champions, All-Stars, Grill Masters or Teens), the format is the same: There are three rounds of mystery baskets, and each chef has only so much time to cook the ingredients. What changes are the chefs, who each bring their stories to the kitchen and cook with boundless energy and deep passion that emanates in their plates. That’s what makes Chopped one of the best food competition shows on TV.
FN dish caught up with the indomitable host to chat about what makes the show so special, what goes into preparing for an episode, what’s changed over the many seasons — because he’s been there since its inception — and what would happen if he suddenly had to compete. Hint: Ted characterizes his skills as the complete opposite of the competitors’ abilities. Find out what he had to say about the long-running series and more.