The Surprising Revelation Ted Allen Shared About Chopped's Set Design

If you love watching culinary pros engage in fierce cook-offs, you're probably well-versed with "Chopped" and its one-of-a-kind format, including the use of mystery baskets that are full of ingredients the participants have to use for each challenge. According to Pop Sugar, the show's producers spend large amounts of time planning the mystery baskets that appear during each episode. Ted Allen, the show's host, further explained to Food Republic that the producers prepare the baskets for a whole season. Each episode features three baskets that use four ingredients a-piece. Over the course of the series, those numbers seriously add up. 

Competitors have to worry about more than just the mystery basket, though. The show's producers encourage participants to arrange their workstation to their liking, which is important considering the fact that the contestants must compete in a setting that doesn't resemble their regular kitchen. The little design flaws of the show's kitchen can throw anyone off, and it's said the producers intentionally designed the on-set kitchen with flaws to add a sense of drama and tension (via House Beautiful). 

The 'Chopped' set design is intentional

According to Ted Allen, the kitchen setup on "Chopped" is far from perfect. He told House Beautiful that the producers disorganize the kitchen on purpose to make the competition even tougher for its participants. "The pantry especially is not very logical — we want them to run around in the space," Allen said, as opposed to your home kitchen where "you want to create a space that is both functional and efficient," he added. His pick of choice for home? A central island. "That kind of setup is imperative for managing kitchen chaos!" Allen explained.

The producers of "Chopped" have also managed to pull off another key move that makes the layout even tougher for its participants. Allen told Food Network that there is only one ice cream machine on set because the producers want people to argue with each other while trying to get to the machine. So, next time you feel ill at ease in your own kitchen, take comfort knowing you don't have to compete in the "Chopped" kitchen.