Expert Witness: What it’s like to compete in the Chopped kitchen

In entertainment, an awful lot of stuff happens behind closed doors, from canceling TV shows to organizing music festival lineups. While the public sees the end product on TVs, movie screens, paper, or radio dials, they don’t see what it took to get there. In Expert Witness, The A.V. Club talks to industry insiders about the actual business of entertainment in hopes of shedding some light on how the pop-culture sausage gets made.

The Food Network staple Chopped—which recently finished its 23rd season despite only premiering in 2009—is like a shot of pure adrenaline for cooking show fans, featuring almost none of the inflated drama of reality shows. There are rarely personality conflicts between contestants, as in Top Chef, and no challenges that distract from the key focus of getting something on the plate. The show’s rules are simple: four chefs, who have ranged in …

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