6 Rules You Never Knew Cooking Show Contestants Must Follow – Eat This Not That


Although there are some variations, the first scene is always similar: the chef candidates open a box of mysterious ingredients and must cook a fabulous meal for a panel of celebrity chefs. From our couches, we watch them explain their culinary point of view via voice-overs, burn things, cut themselves and, inevitably, have to go home or win the grand prize. But what really happens on a kitchen set, and are there any secret rules that all contestants must follow?

The three most watched cooking shows in the United States are Excellent chef, Choppedand Chefby private soldier. While each of them requires competing leaders must sign non-disclosure/confidentiality agreements, word of mouth can slip through the cracks and it travels extremely fast. In addition to these little slips here and there, there were former contestants who decided to openly share what it was really like to be on these famous cooking shows and the strict rules they must follow. And we are there for every second.

You may never watch your favorite cooking shows again after learning these 6 Rules You Didn’t Know Candidates Must Follow. However, don’t turn away just yet, instead take a look and see for yourself if you could possibly survive the heat in any of these kitchens.

Courtesy of the Food Network

Whether they win or lose a cooking show, contestants need to talk about everything that happened after the fact. Shows like Chopped and Chef-both real-time reality TV shows where contestants are under a tight time restriction – require post-show interviews for all contestants and depending on E ! New, they can take hours to film. Kathy Fang, a former winner of Chopped, Told Delight in an interview, that these questions and answers in front of the camera are mostly “where the candidates explain what is going through their minds at a given moment”. A full day of filming can take over 14 hours.

masterchef competitors
Master Chef / Facebook

This rule does not apply to all cooking shows at all levels, but it is mandatory for all Chef competitors. The intense show does not allow professional chefs or anyone who has worked as a professional chef before. As stated on their application website, “your current main source of income cannot come from the preparation and cooking of fresh produce in a professional environment (restaurants, hotels, food trucks, catering, etc.).” Basically, you need to be fresh out of the oven yourself and ready to learn everything you can in such a short time.

judges judging
Master Chef / Facebook

All is fair in love and war, as well as high-pressure cooking shows. While it’s no surprise that these cooking competitions are only designed to test the best, it’s not uncommon to think that reality TV has staged situations or maybe a judge was given a scenario. However, Chef hires, for example, a team of standards and practices managers, lucky peach reports, they are not judges and they are not influenced by judges. The team’s job is to watch the competitors during each challenge and establish equality for the leaders by giving everyone the same advantages as the competitors to their left or right.

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Cutthroat Kitchen contestant uniform
Courtesy of the Food Network

Ruthless Kitchenan old show on Food Networkhad a unique rule for chefs and their cooking utensils. A former contestant explained that he was allowed to bring his own set of knives, but was only allowed to use a total of three knives in the middle of a challenge.

Not all salons are so strict, although they do insist on providing chefs with appropriate, network-recognizable, colorful chef’s smocks and/or aprons. The contestants all wear their assigned uniform during production, but then it’s vital that they return the gifted outfit when the cooking is over.

chopped competitors

As you’d expect on national television, there were contestants who came forward and said they should be willing to share their personal lives alongside their professional lives. Plus, pretty much everything filmed is up for grabs during the edit, this includes your audition tape, pre- and post-show interviews, and everything else during the heat of the competition.

Josh Lewis, finalist of the 23rd season of Chopped, Told audiovisual club that he had discussed his struggle with anxiety with the producers early on (before he was cast on the show) and it became a bit of his story that he was taking on the cooking show challenge particular to try to overcome it. “They try to tell a story with each contestant and they want something that will appeal to the audience,” Lewis explains in the interview.

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america's worst cooks filming
Courtesy of the Food Network

No one is a fan of spoilers, but especially a network trying to produce a highly anticipated and unforgiving cooking show. To prevent insider leaks, shows such as America’s worst cooks do not allow their participants to have access to telephones, the Internet and sometimes even other television broadcasts, Mashed reports. The precautionary measure not only restricts the Chiefs’ ability to post future events of the show on social media, but it can also make some contestants feel very isolated and can create genuinely moving real-life television.

Jordan Summers-Marcouillier

Jordan Summers-Marcouillier was born and raised in San Jose, CA and now works as a writer in New York, NY. Learn more about Jordan


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