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Jan 30, 2013 07:38 PM

The Clock Lies

How many cooking competition shows, from Top Chef to Chopped, do you all think actually happen within the designated time allotment?

C'mon, who's really making six zillion cupcakes in like 14 minutes (gross exaggeration to make my point)?

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  1. The clock on top chef Canada is pretty real, that's all I can say. Just because you can't break apart a chicken in 20 seconds and I can't run 100 m in 10 seconds doesn't mean the clock is rigged

    1. well, technically, i think the iron chef's dont happen in 1hr. I thought i read that they plate 1 serving within the alloted hour. but the actual food served (4 or 5servings) take over that timelimit.

      2 Replies
      1. re: FattyDumplin

        The story, several years ago, was that during the 1st hour (the televised one) they produced one serving. This was used for the beauty shots. Then each side got an hour to prepare the matching servings for the judges. These were judged right after preparation. That way, neither side has the advantage of serving right away.

        It less obvious how they manage logistics like that on shows like Chopped. I read that each Chopped episode requires an 11 hr day of filming.

        1. re: FattyDumplin

          As many of you probably know, in the original Iron Chef Japan, they had to plate all 5 servings in the allotted hour. You would regularly see them struggling to make room for the 20 plates required to dish up 5 settings of 4 courses.

        2. I think on Top Chef the timer clock is run to the exact time allotment. However, my understanding is that Padma does the initial set-up or introduction to the challenge (QF and EC), and then they go off camera for an extended explanation of the challenge, the parameters, etc. All of the contestants are allowed to ask questions to be sure they understand the challenge. I think they may even be given a printout which outlines everything. Then they go back on camera, and we hear Padma say, "Your time starts now" and the clock begins to count down exactly as we are told it will. The other thing we don't really see, although it is understood, is that often the final cooking time for ECs are staggered, and we are not shown the multiple clocks running for the staggering. But even then, each contestant is only given the exact allotment of time.

          4 Replies
          1. re: lisavf

            What I want to know is - how can they think of 5 wonderful, exquisite dishes at the same time & have several different work stations, but they all know what to do within 30 seconds of being given the "secret" ingredient? How can they NOT know the secret ingredient ahead of time? Obviously, speaking of Iron Chef.

            1. re: chloebell

              They are told of three possible secret ingredients well ahead of time. They don't know which of the three it will be until the day of filming.

              1. re: donovt

                Yes - donovt is correct - they come in the door with planning for three possible secret ingredients.

                1. re: jeanmarieok

                  When Rod Fennie was on Iron Chef he later told the world that everyone knew what the 'secret ingredient' was two weeks before. Apparently Fennie and the Japanese chef's 'crew' negotiated during that time extensively.