This Is The Worst Food Geoffrey Zakarian Ever Ate As A Chopped Judge - Exclusive

When it comes to cooking competitions, each and every premise is a little different. Some contestants may know exactly what they'll be making before filming, while for others, they're completely taken by surprise. That shock and awe element is exactly what makes watching cooking shows such as Food Network's "Chopped" such fun. Contestants are able to take a walk around the kitchen pantry to browse the available ingredients before a round starts (via AV Club), but the mystery basket is still a complete secret, and it can contain any ingredient from A to Z that must be used.

Because the ingredients are sometimes incredibly obscure, you can imagine the judges on "Chopped" have had to eat some pretty interesting offerings. But we wanted to know just what was the very worst, so we went straight to the source. In an exclusive interview with Mashed,  Geoffrey Zakarian, chef, restauranteur, and co-host of "The Kitchen," dishes all about the worst thing he ever had to eat as a "Chopped" judge.

Geoffrey Zakarian says eating this aquatic creature was 'just not cool'

It's hard to believe that "Chopped" has been running for 50 seasons by now, per Food Network. With such a long run, you can imagine there's been plenty of obscure combinations whipped into unique dishes. And the judges have had the pleasure (or displeasure, in this case) of trying them all. The very worst food judge Geoffrey Zakarian has had to try on the show? Nutria. In an episode with the theme "Weird, Wacky, and Wild" (via Mercury News), Zakarian had to brave this unusual ingredient. 

According to Zakarian, while nutria may sound like it's a super good-for-you type of vitamin supplement to throw in your smoothie to kick off the day, it's actually an aquatic rat. As Livescience describes them, nutrias are about the size of raccoons and resemble a mix between a beaver and rat. Zakarian noted that the dishes made with the nutria tasted exactly like what you would think a river rat might taste like, and he's thankful to have that in his rearview. "It's just not cool," he said. "I'm so glad that episode is done ... never going to use rat again."

For tempting dinner ideas (and no surprise ingredients), check out Genova Premium Tuna to browse Geoffrey Zakarian's latest recipes.