The Rule Chopped Contestants Have To Follow, No Matter What

"Chopped" features big names like celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli. But the competitive cooking show doesn't make things easy for chefs who are looking to overcome cooking challenges and emerge victoriously. You see, the rules are pretty rough. As per The Things, certain episodes are only screened around a year after they are shot, which means it's essential to make sure no spoilers get leaked beforehand.

Every participant has to adhere to a strict non-disclosure agreement. If broken, the violator will have to cough up as much as $75,000, per E! News. Yikes. Also, it depends on your luck if you're trying to make your way onto the show. Some chefs, like former participant and winner Kathy Fang, are lucky to be picked up early, while others have to be patient and wait for years to compete. That sounds pretty exhausting, no?

Also, there's one rule no one can get away from if they've been a part of "Chopped." Once you appear on the show, there's one thing all "Chopped" contestants have to do.

Chopped contestants have to participate in post-show interviews

When chef Kathy Fang competed on "Chopped," she knew that it would be a daunting task to survive all the cooking tests and brave through mysterious ingredients while cooking (via Delish). She mentioned that it was important to be prepared for feedback from the judges. "You look at how accomplished the judges are, and you feel like their opinion matters a lot," she said. "If they don't like something you made, you might wonder, 'Does this mean I'm not that good of a cook?'" The chef dealt with her insecurities by working on a dish again and again until she felt satisfied.

As per Fang, there's a rule that all participants on the show need to stick to. She said that once they're done filming the competition, they have to hang around for an hour or even an hour and a half to film critical moments, as she explained to Delish. (If you've ever wondered when reality shows film those scenes about what was going through contestants' minds during each episode's big moments, there's your answer.)

The rule about post-show interviews applies to everyone on "Chopped," not just the winners, per Delish. Phew!

The "Chopped" application process is tedious

Sure, you have to stick around for a post-show interview, but to get there in the first place, all "Chopped" contestants undergo a grueling application process. According to Thrillist, the form itself is pretty exhausting to fill out and has a plethora of questions that gauge your ability to succeed on the TV show. While there are generic questions, aspiring "Chopped" contestants must also be able to answer difficult questions such as what motivated them to be a chef in the first place, what their family life was like, and more probing personal questions. 

Chef Julianne Feder tried to make her answers as interesting as possible when she applied to be a part of the show. Feder wrote on Thrillist, "I wrote about growing up in New York and eating my way around the city with my family. I told them how living in France inspired me to start cooking ... I told them about being a total dork in the kitchen."

Feder added that the call from the "Chopped" team didn't take too long and she was invited for an interview in New York. However, once she was done with the on-camera interviews with the producers, she had to be really patient. It took more than a month for her to get a response.

Your time to cook is limited

If you're a "Chopped" contestant, you need to accept the fact that you'll have to be able to come up with something that's impressive and gives you a competitive edge over other participants in just 30 minutes. According to Delish, there are no exceptions to this rule and every contestant's work is timed. Oh, and if you're preparing an appetizer, you have even less time to prepare your dish (20 minutes.)

A former participant who's been on the show a couple of times, Michael Vignola told Tasting Table, "You're really being timed, you're being filmed from all sides and it's a real competition, not just a fake reality show." He added that nobody gets any extra time to study the ingredients or think about interesting ideas in advance. You have to be prepared to improvise quickly. Vignola said, "As soon as you open the basket, the clock starts. I have no idea how I came up with the dishes I made. I just did it in the moment." After all of that effort in a time crunch, you can only imagine how exhausting those post-show interviews can be.