The Ingredients Chopped Contestants Have To Share While Filming

Many fans of the cooking competition show "Chopped" know that half the fun of watching the show is seeing the contestants whip up creative dishes from the chaotic combination of mystery ingredients in their basket. Over the years, there have been some truly outside-of-the-box basket items. The chefs compete for three rounds, and use those pre-selected ingredients to create three different courses, from appetizers to desserts, all in the quest for that $10,000 prize money.

Contestants can't really craft a full dish from just the ingredients in their basket — those are often bolder flavors or unique ingredients that function more as a component in a dish — so they're granted access to the "Chopped" kitchen for any other things they may need to round out their dish. However, the show does put one wrench in the works for those eager chefs competing for the prize money. While they can get whatever they want from the kitchen, there's only a single jar of every spice and seasoning available to all contestants (via Delish). That's right — if every single contestant wants to add cinnamon to their appetizer, they'll have to fight over the single jar. In certain cases, contestants are happy to share and it may not seem like a big deal. In others, though, if a chef is feeling particularly competitive, he or she could opt to grab that spice or seasoning first and prevent the others from using it.

A recipe for success

Spice-sharing aside, the contestants do get a few things to help them out. First of all, before the filming and cooking process starts, they're given the opportunity to walk through the pantry and see exactly what kind of ingredients are available — or to potentially scope out the location of the in-demand spices they're planning to snatch up (via Insider). The refrigerator that contestants have access to includes upwards of 70 products, with everything from herbs to heavy cream (via Food Network). The pantry contains a variety of fruits and other fresh produce, as well as fresh bread and tortillas, eight different types of vinegar, and much more.

Spices aren't the only item that the show's producers decide to limit for potential drama and competition, though. As many fans will know, though contestants have access to a variety of pots and other cooking equipment, the "Chopped" kitchen only has one ice cream machine, which could cause problems if multiple chefs are looking to whip up a flavorful frozen treat.