What it's really like to try out for Chopped

Are you a huge fan of the Food Network's perennially popular cooking competition Chopped? Have you ever imagined yourself as one of the chefs, showing off your own chops, slices, and dices? 

One aspiring contestant who went through the whole application process, making it as far as being selected for a standby spot, later blogged about the ordeal for Thrillist. While she found the process to be rather time-consuming, and even nerve-wracking at times, on the whole, she enjoyed her foray (which wouldn't be her last) into the world of reality food TV.

The online application will be your first big hurdle

The application for Chopped is actually surprisingly lengthy, with questions that really get personal — they want to know not only all about you, but also your family, your kids, your boyfriend/girlfriend... basically, anybody who's going to give good soundbites about you. This is reality TV, after all — although Chopped doesn't come right out and say so, they want chefs with interesting backstories, and are not above tweaking those stories to increase audience appeal.

They then want you to write a novel all about your background, particularly as it pertains to food and cooking, then some stuff about your style of cooking and your "Food POV," as well as all the details of an interesting dish that you, yourself, have created. The application even inquires as to what you'd plan to do with the $10,000 prize if you won it — probably bonus points if you say something involving homeless orphaned three-legged puppies, of course. Oh, and you might want to find somewhere on the app to work in a note about all your cool tattoos.

You then need to survive an on-camera interview

Assuming your online app makes it through the screening process, you'll probably hear back pretty quickly — the Thrillist contributor said she got a call the day after she applied, and was scheduled for an interview at the local casting office within the week. (She was already living in NYC, so no word on what accommodations are necessary should you happen to be in Albuquerque or Anchorage.) 

The interview itself takes about an hour, and is more of a monologue than an actual dialogue. Applicants are required to dish on all their favorite dishes as well as their love of cooking, what a great competitor they'd be, and why they think they'll be sure to win if chosen to appear on the show.

After the Chopped application process is over

All that talking, and guess what? The video footage gets edited down to just a two-minute clip which will be sent to the show's producers. At which point, either you'll hear the dreaded "thanks, but..." (or perhaps just radio silence), or you'll get the call you've been waiting for. Or — as was the case with Thrillist's applicant — you'll be offered the chance to serve as a standby, in case one of the chosen four gets sick, gets cold feet, or gets abducted by aliens.

Even if you don't make the cut for Chopped, though, never fear — the Food Network has got approximately half a million other cooking competitions you can apply for. All you need is one lucky break, and you, too, may find yourself whipping up an emu étouffée while an admiring audience looks on.