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TV Diary: Food Network serves up winner with 'Chopped'

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 12:01 am

My husband and I have been smitten by a particular show on The Food Network these days — “Chopped.”

If you've never seen it, tonight is the night. Episodes start at 6 p.m. and continue until just past midnight — with a new episode airing at 10 p.m. Ted Allen hosts.

The hourlong episode begins with four professional chefs and/or restaurateurs who must prepare an appetizer, an entrée and a dessert for $10,000 prize money.

Easy, you say? I neglected to say they have to open a picnic basket and use the ingredients given them inside that basket to create these three plates, which are judged by three celebrity chef/restaurateur judges. The chefs must complete each task, usually within 30 minutes.

The competitors are judged on taste of the food, presentation and creativity, and one is “chopped” after each round, leaving two to duke it out for the prize money and bragging rights.

Sometimes the ingredients alone qualify for the creativity award — corn flakes, chocolate-covered doughnuts, leg of goat, Kettle-style potato chips, dried goji berries, dinosaur kale, horseradish root, marrow bones and crustless PB & J sandwiches.

The series premiered in 2009, but has gained in popularity; hence the multiple episodes that air Tuesday nights.

Recently, the show expanded to include amateurs who love to cook for their families and large groups as well as a teen chef competition, where a 14-year-old impressed the judges just enough to be named the winner.