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Drama-free cooking show that's great for family viewing.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Features professionals committed to their work and very little interpersonal drama; female chefs are well-represented on the show; cooking skills are taken seriously.

Positive role models

Some chefs are better sports than others but drama is given short shrift on-camera. The judges are professional success stories and offer helpful critiques.


Occasionally, chefs may get mildly angry at judges or each other. Rarely, a chef's backstory includes the loss of a family member or homelessness.

Not applicable

The very occasional curse word ("my ass was dragging," "damn") is unbleeped.


Occasionally celebrity chefs appear on the show to promote something, though it's usually something non-commercial, like the White House chef promoting a new kind of food pyramid. The food products cooked on the show are generic, unusual for this type of show.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Alcohol occasionally appears as an ingredient in dishes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that unlike other competitive cooking shows that seem to value rivalries and behind-the-scenes drama, Chopped sticks to what's on the plate. Both contenders and judges treat each other with respect and the focus is firmly on food, flavors, and cooking techniques, making this show a natural for young culinary enthusiasts. On rare occasions, chefs exhibit brief poor sportsmanship, but that is definitely the exception.

What's the story?

On CHOPPED, four chefs are invited to a one-day competition to cook for a panel of three rotating culinary celebrity judges (Aaron Sanchez, Alex Guarnaschelli, for example) and one host (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy's Ted Allen). The chefs are asked to produce dishes using surprise ingredients, usually jarring ones: quail, escarole, and chocolate-covered raisins, for example. Dishes must be completed within a short length of time, and are then presented to the judges. The judges eat, critique, and eliminate, or chop (get it?) the chef with the worst dish after each set of courses. The last chef standing wins $10,000.

Is it any good?


Chopped is ideal for kids who like to cook. Competing chefs take you through their pre-cooking thought process ("the white chocolate could be mixed with cornmeal and made into a kind of corn pudding to put on top of the fish") in a way that's both absorbing and educational. Commentary from the judges is blunt, but not nasty and personal; and though the chefs generally come on with some kind of "I'm the winner!" bravado, all the tension on the show comes from the chefs battling the ticking time clock and the oddball ingredients, not each other.

Speaking of those ingredients, that's probably the most entertaining element of the show. Watching professional chefs squirm as they try to marry ground beef, wonton wrappers and bananas is mighty entertaining. Don't be surprised if the kids start rooting around in your cabinets for odds and ends to turn into dinner, or "How could we cook this?" becomes a favored driving game.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about competition. If someone enters a competition and loses, does that mean the winner is better? Or does it only reflect the opinion of those who are judging? What makes someone qualified to judge, anyway? How is this show different from other competition shows you've seen?

  • Did you notice the lack of product placement in this show? Why do many competition shows feature prominent name-brand products?

  • How much of this show is staged and how much is real? What techniques do the show's producers use to amp up tension or make viewers feel an emotion? Can you pick out camera angles, lighting, music cues or other ways in which the show makes a point without speaking?

  • Are the chefs on Chopped good sports? Why or why not? Can you think of an example where a chef showed sportsmanship? Are there any role models on the show?

TV details

Premiere date:January 13, 2009
Cast:Ted Allen
Network:Food Network
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-G

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Parent Written byhellopamela August 8, 2012

Chopped: fun for the family

this show is really fun and my family and i learn a lot about food from watching it. it is made with an adult audience in mind, but it is enjoyable for children if they are interested in food and cooking, especially because of the contest-format. occasionally, there is some slightly bad language used.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 11 years old March 24, 2012

Entertaining Cooking Show

This is a decent cooking competition show on Food Network. You get to see all these chefs cook appetizing meals in a certain time limit with certain ingredients. They have to improvise since they don't know what ingredients they need for cooking the dishes. Some chefs are good sports and some are bad. Some injuries while cooking (accidentally cutting the hand with blood). There is no sexual content, but there is some profanity (strong for a TV-G rating). Some celebrity chefs get appearances. For drinking, alcohol and wine are in a lot of dishes and in one episode there is a mention of a person on drugs. There is not much originality in this. All cooking shows won't have it. Overall, when you feel like watching people cook, go on Food Network and see if this is on. If it is, stay on the channel and enjoy the show.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 12 years old July 3, 2012


What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking