Athletes, actors, comedians, oh my! Celebrities gear up for first 'Chopped Tournament of Stars'by jmaloni
Five episode competition features celebrities competing in the 'Chopped' kitchen for charity
With a $50,000 grand prize for charity on the line, celebrities from different walks of life compete in the ultimate "Chopped Tournament of Stars," premiering Sunday, March 9, at 9 p.m. on the Food Network. The five-part competition series, hosted by Ted Allen, includes four celebrities going head-to-head each week in themed episodes over three rounds: appetizer, entrée and dessert - each featuring mystery ingredients within the "Chopped" basket.
Featuring sports stars, comedians, actors, and for the first time, veterans from "Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off," the celebrities are judged by a rotating roster of "Chopped" regulars - including Maneet Chauhan, Amanda Freitag, Alex Guarnaschelli, Marc Murphy, Chris Santos and Geoffrey Zakarian - to determine which celebrity will advance each week to face off in the finale Sunday, April 6, at 9 p.m., with a chance to win the grand prize for the charity of their choice.
"This tournament brings together the most diverse, talented group of celebrities we have ever had compete in the 'Chopped' kitchen, " said Bob Tuschman, general manager and senior vice president of programming at Food Network. "With $50,000 on the line for their charity, these celebs fill the kitchen with action, drama and comedy as they do everything they can to be the victor."
Additionally, if you ever looked in your fridge, hoping for inspiration to strike, never again let the question "What's for dinner?" stump you. On April 8, be the first to learn tips and secrets for combining pantry staples into exciting meals in "The Chopped Cookbook: Use What You've Got to Cook Something Great," from Clarkson Potter. By showing how to spin your favorite ingredients into 188 fun, doable, and delicious recipes, the culinary masterminds at Food Network set you up for mealtime victory every night.
The special "Chopped" episodes include:
•"Sports Stars!", premiering Sunday, March 9
Four famous athletes bring their fierceness and passion to the "Chopped" kitchen. With the charities they are playing for in their minds, the competitors open the first basket to find a scary ingredient: alligator. Then in the entrée round, the celebs must cook with some strange eggs and some tiny limes. The final two sports stars who make it to the dessert round put their athleticism and enthusiasm into making a great final dish that includes crystallized ginger and wafer cookies.
Competitors: Brandi Chastain, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Greg Louganis, Charles Oakley
Judges: Guarnaschelli, Murphy, Zakarian
•"Rachael vs. Guy!", premiering Sunday, March 16
These four competitors are all cooking-competition veterans, alums of Food Network's "Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off," but they have never stepped foot in the "Chopped" kitchen. How will they do with beef tongue and microwaveable chocolate cake in the appetizer basket? Then the stars have a pizza party in the entrée round after they discover leftover slices in the basket. With hopes of making it to the $50,000 finale, two competitors must make desserts using chocolate bars and banana chips.
Competitors: Penn Jillette, Coolio, Lou Diamond Phillips, Carnie Wilson
Judges: Chauhan, Murphy, Santos
•"Comedians!", premiering Sunday, March 23
Bringing the funny to the "Chopped" kitchen, four comedians compete for a chance to move on to the $50,000 finale. Playing for their favorite charities, the stars open up the first basket and get a pork delicacy and a gummy candy. Then in the entrée round, the three comedians left must make jalapeño poppers palatable with beer can chicken. With vanilla cupcakes in the final basket, transforming the ingredient becomes key for the two finalists.
Competitors: Tommy Davidson, Sinbad, Gillian Vigman, Robert Wuhl
Judges: Chauhan, Santos, Zakarian
•"Actors!", premiering Sunday, March 30
With only one spot left in the $50,000 charity tournament, four actors bravely take on the role of chef. In the first round, one competitor tries desperately to figure out the right cooking technique for a tricky ingredient. A pretty citrus fruit and a spiny lobster are two of the mystery ingredients the competitors must demystify in the entrée round. In the final round, the two remaining stars make a mess in the kitchen with some very creative desserts with mascarpone and strawberries.
Competitors: Lucas Grabeel, Michael Imperioli, Peter Scolari, Tasha Smith
Judges: Chauhan, Freitag, Guarnaschelli
•"Finale!", premiering Sunday, April 6
The four finalists open the first basket and get a drive-thru snack and a cold dessert. $50,000 is destined to go to one of the last three celebrities' favorite charities, but which stars will have good luck with the duck in the entrée basket? The final round of the celebrity tournament is bound to be intense, as the competitors must have enough culinary stamina left to make something tasty, beautiful and creative from churros and champagne.
Judges: Guarnaschelli, Murphy, Zakarian