No Pain, No Shame The chefs get a special tool in the basket to help them bust apart a challenging ingredient: a giant jawbreaker. The judges hope the shards-of-candy appetizers do not cause them any harm! Then a trendy pastry meets a North African stew in the second basket. And rosemary and ginger must be combined in the desserts.
Teen Talent Four talented teenaged chefs bring their energy and ambition to the Chopped Kitchen! With a $40,000 scholarship on the line, the young competitors open up the first basket and find a sweet drink and a juicy fruit. Then in the entree round, the teen chefs are given some super sophisticated ingredients. And breakfast-like ingredients give the final two teens a rude awakening in the dessert round.
Tapas Time Time to shake things up in a big/small way as the chefs find out that this competition has a tapas theme. In the first round, the baskets contain some beautiful Spanish ingredients, including gazpacho. In the entree round, one chef makes an alarming choice after accidentally starting a small fire. And the two competitors who move on to the dessert round, featuring catalan creme, try to make mini creations bursting with flavor.
Waste Not The chefs must make use of ingredients that are usually thrown out, for being imperfect, overripe or stale. For example, the first basket includes juicer pulp and tea bags. Then in the second round, the competitors have to get creative with a little bit of salad dressing and some paltry scraps of poultry. And the finalists get some often-tossed portions of a fruit and the peels of a veggie to work into their desserts.
Firefighter Chefs The firefighter competitors get the meal started with some hearty meat-and-cheese appetizers that would be a hit back at their firehouses, but will the judges enjoy them? Then in the entree round, some big errors with a non-basket-ingredient gets one of the judges inordinately upset. And playing with fire is part of the challenge in the final round.
Hoofin' It! When the clock starts ticking down from 20 minutes, the chefs must rush to make appetizers with pickled pigs' feet and sweet potato chips. And one chef doesn't realize they've made a potentially costly mistake until it's too late. Then in the entree round, the competitors must try to make pie work with venison. And the two finalists come up with similar ideas for their desserts, but which dish will the judges prefer?
Pizza Perfect The chefs learn they will be expected to make a pizza perfect meal. In the first round one of the competitors takes a loose interpretation of the theme: How will the judges react? Then some unusual toppings must make their way onto the entree pizzas. And the finalists must make pizza for dessert, with candied mushrooms and salted caramel sauce
Ambitious Amateurs With courage to spare, four home cooks compete in the Chopped Kitchen to prove that they are as good as they think they are: But what will the judges think after tasting their chicken tenderloin appetizers? Then in the entree round, one of the competitors endeavors to pull off a very ambitious hanger steak dish within the 30-minute time limit. And two very unusual ingredients show up in the dessert basket, and the judges watch to see if the amateur cooks can figure out what to do with them.
All-Burger Meal The chefs learn that they will be making hamburgers, in some shape or form, for every round, starting with veal burgers for appetizers. Then in the entree round a little quail egg causes a big headache for some of the competitors. And who's ever heard of a dessert burger?
Chocolate Competition With chocolate in every basket of this themed competition, the chefs must figure out how to make this perennial dessert favorite work in the first two, savory, courses. Then the two competitors who make it to the end must find a way to combine two chocolate ingredients with cherries and a German layer cake.
Bacon Baskets! The chefs get some great news before the cooking begins: bacon will be in every basket! In the first one, they find Mangalista bacon and apple chips. Then in the second round, the judges watch to see if the competitors will be able to make dried cherries work with their pork entrees. French toast and bacon are a breakfast classic, but can the final two chefs manage to transform these mystery ingredients into dessert?
Beer Here Chopped is brewing up some serious competition, as all three rounds are devoted to beer. For their appetizers, the four chefs must make sausages work with toasted lager. A tasty tripel ale is the beer in the basket for the entree round. And in the final round, the iconic beer and pretzel combination must be made delicious in dessert form.