A slippery shocker in the appetizer basket starts things off on a terrifying note. Then in the Entrée Round, the judges are stunned by the oh-my-gosh mistake one chef makes with an umeboshi-arugula salad. Good gracious, parsnips and soda crackers for dessert? The finalists have to act quickly to make it work.
In the Appetizer Round, kumquats and croissants collide, as well as two super enthusiastic chefs racing for the fridge. Then in the Entrée Round, green beans and ground pork prove a surprisingly difficult challenge. And in the Dessert Round, when one chef makes a grits dish reminiscent of childhood, it's up to the judges whether the jaunt down Memory Lane will lead to the Winner's Circle.
In the Appetizer Round, when two of the chefs attempt to cook a fish that is traditionally used for sushi, the results are questionable. Then, after doing their best with an unfamiliar condiment in the Entree Basket, the contestants get an angry reception at the Chopping Block for not following the judges' advice. And the bubbly is flowing in the Dessert Round when the chefs must incorporate prosecco into their final dishes. But the celebratory mood is broken by a heart-stopping, emotional ending to the round.
Tis the season to shake things up! The chefs learn that as an added challenge, their dishes must have a holiday theme. In the appetizer round, the first opportunity to see who's got game, they get venison. And a heated debate ensues over a borrowed blender. Then, in the entree round, marshmallows don't marry well with the huge surprise in the mystery basket. And in the dessert round the remaining chefs "say cheese", but will they be smiling when their final festive dishes take shape?
Out of the gate one chef decides to take a familiar route with beef but is challenged by an unfamiliar mystery ingredient. Will it work? Then in the Entrée Round the chefs must break a fundamental rule by combining fish and cheese. And following the first elimination, the chopped chef has angry words for the judges. Then when the two finalists go with a similar approach to dessert, the judges ponder which pumpernickel and curry creation will prevail.
Just how the graham cracker crumbles in the Appetizer Round depends on how the chefs can recover from setbacks. One contestant struggles to plate after suffering a cut, while an opponent learns that flashy knife work may not yield the best results. Then in the Entrée Round one chef breaks a plate and another chef breaks with cultural tradition by incorporating puffed rice cereal into a typical chorizo dish. Then the two finalists endeavor to make coffee bean desserts that are good to the last bite.
In the Appetizer Round flower power rules as the contestants find ways to incorporate zucchini blossoms into their first dishes, and more than one of the chefs must explain major failures with the mystery ingredients. Then, watching from the sidelines in the Entrée Round, the judges are upset by how one chef disrespects the kitchen and an unusual ingredient, burdock root. And in the Dessert Round, the judges are intrigued to see fresh chickpeas in the mystery basket, while the chefs are inspired by family.
In this must-watch, unprecedented event four previous runners-up return to see who can save face and finally become the Chopped Champion. But in the Appetizer Round one chef makes a mistake with potatoes that is surprising for someone who has competed before, while another chef gets reprimanded for some questionable behavior. Then in the Entrée Round, problems with butchering bass lead one contestant to a creative cooking method. Will it work? And the two finalists are thrilled to make a triumphant return to the Dessert Round, where the mystery ingredients promote colorful presentations. No Chopped winner has ever been so happy to come out victorious!
The 20-minute clock is the chefs' worst enemy in the Appetizer Round, as they race to get chicken wings cooked in time. Then in the Entrée Round it looks like the chefs have caught a break with catfish in the basket, until hard-to-find pantry items and inadvisable spice combinations make things interesting. Then for the Dessert Round, cherries would be no problem. But try cherry tomatoes! The finalists laugh it off and courageously take on the toughest challenge of the competition.
When the chefs make some unusual choices in composing soft-shell crab appetizers, the judges give them a chance to defend their dishes or graciously accept criticism. And, digging into the entree plates, the judges are perplexed that two chefs had completely opposite problems with a challenging piece of meat. Then peppermint stick in the dessert basket has the chefs stuck.
The stoves are underutilized in the Appetizer Round as the chefs show their raw enthusiasm for oysters. Then the entrée dishes have the judges debating who successfully incorporated a funky-flavored fruit and whether good taste can trump drab presentation. And the two finalists know that so-so, miso desserts will not be good enough.
The chefs find themselves swimming against the tide when they have to combine fish with chocolate in the Appetizer Round. Then for the entrée course, the remaining contestants pull from their cultural backgrounds to work with a trendy root vegetable and an old favorite fruit. And in the Dessert Round, the judges ponder two big questions: What does violet mustard taste like? And which of these two passionate finalists deserves the win?
Hate it or love it, liver is the centerpiece of the appetizer dishes. And the first chef chopped expresses strong disappointment at the judges' decision. For the Entrée Round the contestants have some trouble with pasta sheets and an intensely flavored fish. How forgiving will the judges be? Then the finalists get a little "desert" in the Dessert Round, in the form of cactus pears, plus another mystery ingredient that is guaranteed to make their dishes pop.