Throw a "Chopped Challenge" Dinner Party

Are you looking for a fun theme for a dinner party? Do your friends love to cook as much as you do? If so, issue a "Chopped Challenge" to make an unforgettable meal.

The Chopped Challenge mystery ingredients waiting to be revealed
The Chopped Challenge mystery ingredients waiting to be revealed | Source
Ted Allen, the host of Chopped
Ted Allen, the host of Chopped | Source

The Premise

Chopped is a cooking competition that airs on the Food Network. As adorable host Ted Allen explains at the start of every show, the premise is that four chefs must use a basket of mystery ingredients to create a three course meal before time runs out. There are three rounds in the competition: appetizer, entrée, and dessert. At the start of each round the contestants are given a basket of varied, unusual, and sometimes seemingly incompatible items from which they are to compose a dish in a limited amount of time. They may supplement the mystery ingredients with any items in the pantry or refrigerator, but they must use all the mystery ingredients in some way.

The chefs then go before a panel of snarky judges at the "chopping block," at which their dishes are judged on the basis of presentation, taste, and creativity. The chef with the worst dish is "chopped" and the remaining chefs go on to compete in the next round with a new basket of mystery ingredients. The last chef standing is named the Chopped Champion.

With just a few tweaks, this becomes a great premise for an interactive dinner party. The biggest change is that instead of having all the contestants compete in each round – because whose kitchen is equipped with four separate cooking stations? – each contestant is assigned one course to prepare while the others watch. At the end of each round, everyone eats and scores that course before the next course is prepared. When the meal is finished, the scores are tallied and the Chopped Champion is declared. Read on to learn how you can plan and execute your own Chopped Challenge.

Planning Your Chopped Challenge

1. Assess your space.

Make no mistake about it – this party takes place in the kitchen. If you have a tiny kitchen in which one person barely can turn around, let alone two, this is not the party for you, unless you can convince a friend with a more spacious kitchen to host it. My kitchen has a center island with a large work space and seating for four, which I found to be ideal for my own Chopped Challenge dinner party.

2. Identify your guest list.

You'll want to limit this party to three to four individuals or teams of two simply for logistical reasons. Teams of two seem to work especially well. For my Chopped Challenge, I invited two other couples to compete against my husband and me for a three-course meal. If you have four couples, you would make a four-course meal. Everyone on the guest list should love to cook, or at least know their way around a kitchen, because that's what this party is all about. Also, your guests should be familiar with the general premise. If they've never seen the show, it would be a good idea to have them watch an episode or two in advance of your party. (Chopped airs on Tuesdays at 10:00pm/9:00c.)

3. Assign the courses.

Assign each guest or team with a course for which they are to provide the mystery ingredients. If there will be three teams, assign one team to bring a basket of mystery ingredients for the appetizer course, another for the entrée course, and the third for the dessert. For four teams, you could assign a second appetizer course, or have a fish course and a meat course instead of one entrée course.

Tell your guests to bring the ingredients in a closed container (a picnic basket, a cardboard box with a lid, or even a brown paper bag) so they aren't revealed to the other guests until the appropriate time. Remind them that they will have to eat whatever is prepared using the ingredients they bring, which should provide some insurance against something totally weird or gross showing up in one of the baskets. (Sure, rattlesnake may have been used in a basket on Chopped, but that doesn't mean I want to eat it or cook with it.)

4. Stock up.

Stock your pantry and refrigerator with some basic ingredients that can be used to supplement the mystery ingredients. This should include things like butter, olive and other cooking oils, spices and condiments, aromatics such as onions and garlic, fresh herbs, salad greens, fresh vegetables and fruits, canned tomato sauce and paste, chicken and beef stock, a variety of soft and hard cheeses, milk and cream, eggs, chocolate or cocoa, and red and white wine (for cooking and drinking).

If you like to cook, you probably have many of this things on hand already, but for more ideas, search the Internet for lists of pantry essentials or watch a few episodes of Chopped and make note of the pantry and refrigerator ingredients available to the show's contestants. Also, use the party as an excuse to clean out your pantry and refrigerator (I got rid of several jars of spices and condiments I had since the Clinton administration) and reorganize everything so it's all easy to see with just one glance inside the door.

Executing Your Chopped Challenge

It's the day of your dinner party and the guests have arrived. Now what? Uncork a couple bottles of wine and let the games begin!

First, make sure the mystery ingredient baskets remain closed and your guests don't reveal to one another what they've brought until it's time to open the basket. Then decide which team will be cooking each course. I had the team that brought the entrée mystery ingredients ingredients cook the appetizer course, the team that brought the dessert ingredients cook the entrée course, and the team that brought the appetizer ingredients cook the dessert course. That way no one ended up with the same basket they brought.

Decide how much time will be allowed to cook each course. On Chopped, the contestants are allowed 20 minutes for the appetizer course and 30 minutes for each the entrée and dessert courses. You may want to allow a bit more time than that for a couple of reasons: (1) your guests probably aren't professional chefs like the Chopped contestants; and (2) you have to eat the food, too, so you don't want it to be undercooked. For my own Chopped Challenge, we allowed 30 minutes for the appetizer course and 40 minutes for the entrée and dessert courses.

Next comes the fun part. The team cooking the appetizer course should open that basket of mystery ingredients. Give them no more than a minute or two to determine what they have, both in the basket and in the pantry, then set a timer and tell them to get cooking. The rest of you can sit back to watch, while imparting helpful comments like, "Ewww, that's gross," or "I can't believe you're making that." (A little trash talking never hurts in a friendly competition.) When the timer goes off, the food must be plated and ready to eat. No exceptions. Anything not on the plate can't be served.

Everyone eats and scores the course. Each dish should be judged in three categories: presentation, taste and creativity. There should be a deduction applied if any of the mystery ingredients don't make it on the plate. For my Chopped Challenge, we used note cards and each guest individually rated the dish on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best, in each of the three categories. Don't reveal the individual scores until all courses are completed.

Once you've eaten and scored the first course, it's time for the entrée round (after maybe a quick break in between to clean up a bit and wash some pans) and then the dessert round. When all the courses have been completed and individually scored, add up all the scores to determine which team has the highest overall score. That team is named the Chopped Champion.

Opening the first basket of mystery ingredients
Opening the first basket of mystery ingredients

A Recap of My Chopped Challenge Dinner Party

Appetizer Course

The appetizer mystery ingredients included tuna steaks, egg roll wrappers, dried chili mangos, and pork rinds. Chef Scott and Chef Christine prepared pan-seared tuna steaks with mango chili and red pepper chutney with crispy egg roll ribbons and a dusting of pork rind crumbs, while the rest of us consumed copious amounts of wine and hurled insults at the chefs. When time was up, we moved to the dining room table to eat. The verdict? The judges liked the dish, but would have preferred to see a more creative use of the pork rinds.

Entrée Course

My husband (Chef Bob) and I prepared the entrée course. The ingredients in our mystery basket were tilapia fillets, butternut squash, radishes, and a bottle of Pepsi. (And in a blatant ploy to show up Chef Scott and Chef Christine, we also used the remaining pork rinds from the appetizer course.) We prepared pan-fried tilapia with pork rind breading, butternut squash and Pepsi puree, crispy potato chips, and a radish and orange salad with Pepsi vinaigrette. Everyone seemed duly impressed.

The Mystery ingredients for the entree course
The Mystery ingredients for the entree course
Candied Bacon
Candied Bacon
Creative Use of a Mystery Ingredient
Creative Use of a Mystery Ingredient

Dessert Course

And then it was time for Chef Jeff and Chef Jen to make the dessert course. They used mystery ingredients supplied by Chef Bob and me: a whole pineapple, puff pastry dough, pine nuts, and a pound of bacon. (Being the competitive person I am, I came to regret my decision to include the bacon.) They prepared pine nut puffs served with caramelized pineapple slices, a slice of candied bacon and, in the most creative use of a mystery ingredient all night, whipped cream with candied bacon bits. Of course this dish won, hands down, because everything's better with bacon. I should have included tripe instead, to keep things competitive.

Caramelized pineapple slices
Caramelized pineapple slices

A Variation: Chopped Challenge, Cocktail Edition

Are you feeling a little intimidated at the thought of confronting a basket of mystery ingredients and whipping up a composed dish in a short period of time? Or are you hosting a bigger group than what your kitchen possibly could hold? You may want to try this simple variation of the game: the Chopped Challenge Cocktail Edition.

The concept is similar. What you'll need is a well-stocked bar and some basic bar equipment, including a cocktail shaker, blender, muddler, juice squeezer, cutting board and knife, and some cocktail toothpicks or umbrellas. Ask your guests each to bring a brown paper bag containing three mystery ingredients (non-alcoholic) that could be used in a cocktail (for example, orange soda, grapefruit and fresh ginger or chocolate syrup, bananas, and coconut milk). Please note that Little Sizzlers pork sausage does not make a good mystery ingredient for this challenge, based on my own recent experience.

When you are ready to begin the challenge, have the contestants draw cards to determine the order. The first person up must select a bag (other than their own) and use all three mystery ingredients in the bag in combination with any liquor of their choice to create a cocktail within a set period of time. I recommend setting a timer for five to ten minutes for this challenge. By the time the timer goes off, the cocktail must be poured into shot-sized glasses (disposable Dixie cups work well) and ready for everyone to sample. After all contestants have taken a turn, everyone votes for their favorite to determine the winner. A bottle of liquor or a cocktail shaker would make a good prize.

The Chopped Challenge Cocktail Edition makes a great party game for a milestone birthday party. The other guests create their drinks for the guest of honor, who serves as judge and picks the winner. We did this for my sister-in-law's 50th birthday party and it was a huge success, the Little Sizzler cocktail notwithstanding.

Ready to Give it a Try?

If you and your friends love to cook, are creative, and have a competitive streak, make your next dinner party a Chopped Challenge. It will be a party no one will ever forget.

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Comments 117 comments

Mrs. Pujols 5 years ago

Fun idea, can't wait to try it this weekend!

leann2800 5 years ago

I love this show. I am addicted. Maybe I can find some Chopped fanatcs around here to have a party with. Thanks for the idea

ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 5 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

Great hub. Welcome to hubpages!

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

What an awesome hub! Fulls of details and information! A way to get everyone involved! I'll have to try this one day ... soon. Welcome to Hubpages, looking forward to more of your creative hubs!

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 5 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks for the comments. If any of you try your own Chopped Challenge, please comment here to let me know how it went and what types of dishes you ended up with.

jwhitman profile image

jwhitman 5 years ago from Albany, New York

I love this!!!! I watch Chopped all the time with my kids...I'm thinking I may have a Chopped Kids Edition party at my house where my friend's kids with do the cooking along with their parents. Voted up!

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 5 years ago from Iowa Author

A kids edition is a great idea! But you'd have to be one brave woman to subject your kitchen to that. : )

leann2800 5 years ago

A kids edition! tahts a cool idea :)

LittlePayday profile image

LittlePayday 5 years ago from Online @

This is such a great Hub about an amazingly creative idea! I am not the best cook, and I have a small kitchen, so I would say I would be more inclined to host a Chopped Challenge Cocktail party, or the kids version haha - who knows maybe this weekend :)

Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

DeborahNeyens, you are BRILLIANT! I love this idea!! I've done a couple of similar food-related challenges, but never in a dinner party context, which just sounds amazing. I've got to give this a try!

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 5 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks for your comments, LittlePayday and Simone. Simone, would love to hear about your food-related challenges. LittlePayday, let me know how your Chopped Challenge cocktail party goes.

vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 5 years ago from Nashville Tn.

Sounds like so much fun. You have done an outstanding job here. Looking forward to reading more of your hubs. Consider me a big fan! And thanks so much.

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 5 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks so much, vocalcoach!

Jim 5 years ago

Great article from a great up-and-coming author!

Jenny McGinness 5 years ago

Great article!!! This is my FAVORITE show on Food Network, aside from Cupcake Wars. If ever in need of a judge, I would definitely be interested!! lol :)

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 5 years ago from New York

Great idea that sounds like fun. Great job and welcome. Voted up.

Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

It´s a good idea. You don´t have to cook alone. I have to try this. Thanks for sharing. Congrats on the hub of the day.

ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

This is definitely a party one would enjoy! :D Woohoo Come join the Hubnuggets celebration too as your hub has been nominated! Step right here:

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

Congratulations Deborah on your Hub Of The Day! I'm so excited for YOU! This is a fabulous article and well deserved! :))

melbel profile image

melbel 5 years ago from New Buffalo, Michigan

I have to show this to my sister! She loves that show! This would be really cool for us to try as she was always trying weird food combos growing up. Haha, this would be a blast!

instantlyfamily profile image

instantlyfamily 5 years ago

What a fabulous idea! Congratulations!!

applecsmith profile image

applecsmith 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Congratulations on being the Hub of the Day! This is very creative and fun idea. I will have to try this some time as I love watching this show. Thank you for sharing. Voted up!

Through My Lens profile image

Through My Lens 5 years ago from MA

sounds like a blast! Great idea!!

cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan

I LOVE Chopped. It is one of my favorite shows. I try think about what I might make right along with them but I'm not usually as creative! This is a well put together hub with great explanations and detail. I think that this is a fantastic idea and I'm thinking about who I could do this dinner party with right now! Congrats on the hub of the day. You are off to a great start on Hubpages!

Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 5 years ago from Jamaica

This is a fun way to enjoy the evening while also enjoying the food with friends or family.

J Yoder 5 years ago

Creative idea! Maybe my husband and I will have to try this. Thanks for sharing.

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA

Congratulations on getting "Hub of the Day!"

Hmmm... as a vegetarian, I don't think I'd "risk" the dinner competition...but dessert? A dessert-a-thon might be fun--especially around the holidays, when we all tend to pig out on goodies. ;-)

What a clever idea. I've not seen the show--it must run on one of the networks seen only on cable or satellite, and we have neither.

(I generally don't like the cooking shows, as the chef/hosts tend to be unnecessarily cruel with their commentary.)

Voted up!

joystickenvy profile image

joystickenvy 5 years ago from Illinois

Fun idea! I love chopped. Alas, I can't cook worth a hoot, but I'd love to put some of my more gastronomically inclined friends to the challenge.

enchantedmirror profile image

enchantedmirror 5 years ago

I LOVE Chopped!!! One of the best cooking shows ever! This is a super fun idea and could not have come at a better time since the whole cooking trend is continuously on the rise

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

"Twould be a fun idea to plan with friends. Congrats on Hub of the Day!

Friv 5 years ago

Fun idea, thank for sharing. I will share to my friends.


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca

That sounds like so much fun. Although I have to say, I would be a little intimidated if I was invited to one of these and had to rampage through my friends house hoping for some ingredient that I want to use. The cocktail edition however, that is a great idea!

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 5 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks for all the great comments. I was excited to return from my weekend camping trip to find out I was hub of the day! Appreciate all of the support.

Steph 5 years ago

Loved your page. I've been thinking of doing a Chopped party. The only thing is, I do have a small kitchen (and suffer from clausterphobia when there are two or more people in my kitchen with me). My idea was to send out the mystery basket lists with the invitations. So, like two people will have the appatizer list (ie, bacon, french bread, peanut butter, whatever), two will have the entrée basket list, and two will have the dessert basket list. Each person has a week to plan and make their dish, bring it to the party and we all decide who made it best. As hostess, I'd provide food in case no one brought anything and drinks.

brandy 5 years ago

great article! what an awesome author - loved the idea!

Sandy McCollum 5 years ago

Wow, GREAT idea!! I love this, I'm so doing it! Thanks for the idea and the conversational-type instructions. :)

elizabethmcgriff profile image

elizabethmcgriff 5 years ago from South Alabama

This sounds like SO MUCH FUN! I could barely read for thinking about who to invite and when I could do this! I'm thinking dinner party for four couples next Friday night. Thank you so much for the great ideas. I'll let you know if/when I get it together.

handicapped chef 5 years ago

That was awesome i really love the ideal......i will try it.

Ella D'Zur profile image

Ella D'Zur 5 years ago

That sounds fun. What a way to have a dinner party!

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 5 years ago from Iowa Author

Dying to know if any of you have tried this yet and how it turned out. Please post if you have!

tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 5 years ago from California

Delightfully fun hub. You had me with the Longaberger basket. Totally intimidating idea to someone who thought a chopped dinner was where everything was chopped and layered like the salad. Always looking for ways to expand my outlook and you have certainly got me thinking in new ways,

ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois

This sounds like a fun idea, though I never could have come up with recipes that you and your guests did.

Years ago my husband had a rather quirky boss who would have dinner parties, but all the guests would make the meal in his tiny kitchen. It was actually a lot of fun.

This is a great hub and great idea; you've got my vote up.

cookie512 profile image

cookie512 4 years ago

this is amazing! I have done this with all my friends!

Suki C profile image

Suki C 4 years ago from Andalucia, Spain

I've not seen this show on British TV, but it sounds great fun and I love your idea for doing it at home - I'd love to give it a try one day :)

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Yes, tirelesstraveler, we had everything from a Longaberger basket to a shoe box!

ktrapp, I love interactive dinner parties. I think it's fun to get all the guests involved in the kitchen (assuming you have the room, of course).

Cookie, would love to hear more about your Chopped Challenge.

Suki, too bad you can't get the show in the UK. It's addictive. In fact, one of my friends curses me because she had never watched the show until after reading my article and now she's hooked and stays up late to watch it!

jenubouka 4 years ago

Wow I am impressed with the dishes! Some of the contestants on the show couldn't touch your talents! Awesome idea!

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, jenubouka. You should give this a try. I'm sure you could come up with some great dishes!

alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

What a great idea -- and I appreciate your offering a smaller editions like the cocktails for those of us who may find the big one too intimidating. Voting this Up and Useful.

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

The cocktail edition is a lot of fum, alocsin. You should round up some friends and give it a try!

sunbun143 profile image

sunbun143 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

This is such a fun idea...and I like the "chopped potluck" idea for those of us with small kitchens. Overall - great hub!

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, sunbun. Glad you enjoyed it. I appreciate your comment.

ExoticHippieQueen 4 years ago

Hey Deb! Hope I'm bringing you one closer to your 300 mark! This is a great hub and an awesome idea for a party!

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks so much for the follow, comment, and compliment, ExoticHippieQueen.

The Frog Princess profile image

The Frog Princess 4 years ago from Florence area of the Great Pee Dee of South Carolina

I am having some guests over Easter holidays. Since we are having a sister's PJ party week-end we will just have to add this to our list for some wine and cooking in the kitchen. You gave me a great idea for our dinners.

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

I'm so glad I was able help you with your party-planning, Frog Princess. Please report back and let me know how it goes. Have fun!

Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)


What a great idea! Thanks for publishing this Hub. I definitely have to bookmark your article...and share it.

Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD

This is a really fun hub. I am not such a great cook, so I don't know if I would be up for the challenge, but I am happy to share this with others. :-)

Voted up and interesting!

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Daisy! I appreciate the comment and share. You will have to give this party a try. It's a ton of fun.

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Jeannie, for commenting and sharing. If you're not much of a cook, try the cocktail addition. It make for a really fun party and some creative adult beverages.

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

Great hub, this challenge looks like a lot of fun! Great photos too.

Voted up and shared!

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Jools! It's time for me to restock my pantry and host another chopped challenge. It's a lot of fun. I hope you try it sometime, too. Thanks for commenting and sharing.

rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

This is an adorable idea! It sure beats pot luck dinners to pieces. Thanks!

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Rebecca. The only downside is the mess in the kitchen and all the dirty dishes. The one advantage of a potluck is the minimal clean up. But the mess is worth it! Thanks for stopping by.

RedElf profile image

RedElf 4 years ago from Canada

Totally creative - I loved the dishes you and your guests invented, and can hardly wait to host my own chopped challenge dinner party!

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, RedElf! I can't wait to hear all about it.

Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois

I've never seen this show but it sounds like a fun (and challenging) evening! I'd have to have someone else host the party because my kitchen would be too small.

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Danette. Yes, definitely get a friend to host and let them deal with the mess. : )

Ryan 4 years ago

I do this all the time with a group of about 6 friends. Always a good time.

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks for the comment, Ryan. It does make for a good party, doesn't it?

flintstones 4 years ago

I did a Chopped - Birthday edition for my teenage daughter and 5 of her friends. They split into two teams of three and I provided matching baskets of mystery ingredients for each team. We have a somewhat good sized kitchen and we did just the entrée and dessert rounds...but they teams cooked at the same time. They had a BLAST. A must do again type party!!! My two daughters and I do Chopped home edition all the time. We just pick three random things from the house....those are the MUST USE and off we go!!! Great way to clean out the fridge!!!

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

That sounds like a great birthday party, flintstones! And my husband and I do the same thing when we've run out of ideas for dinner; we turn it into a game. Thanks for the comment.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

Love this show and the idea of using it for a party is thrilling. You have put this together well and all one has to do is execute the plan. Voted up. Congrats on your hub award.

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks for reading and commenting, Dianna. This was one of my very first hubs. I'm thrilled that it's still doing so well.

daisydayz profile image

daisydayz 4 years ago from Cardiff

This sounds like an awesome challenge! And such fun, plus you have inspired me to write a hub on our dinner party fun too! We have 3 separate versions which are played/done with my university society when I was there. Thank you - voted up and useful!

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, daisydayz. I'm excited to read your dinner party hub!

CandraEvans profile image

CandraEvans 4 years ago from Cincinnati, Ohio

Chopped is a great show and this Hub is awesome. Thank you for this clever and fun idea!

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thank you, Candra! I hope you try this yourself sometime. It makes for a great party.

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

Stopping by my favorite Deb hub to give you a tweet! :)

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DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Sunshine! Have a great day.

KDuBarry03 4 years ago

Oh wow, i never would have thought about this! Huh...Now I have to throw a dinner party next month! Thanks for the great idea, Deborah.

Pinned, Tweeted, and Voted up and across the board!

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Keith! Definitely give it a try and report back on how it goes. If you and your friends like to cook, it's a fun time.

Life as a Blog profile image

Life as a Blog 4 years ago from Austin, Texas

Great hub and wonderful idea! I will definitely keep it in mind the next time the subject of party themes comes up with my friends. Thanks!

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Life as a Blog. It's nice to meet you.

vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

Congratulations on winning HOTD on this one! I don't know how I missed it. This is a great idea, both the dinner and cocktail party chopped challenge. It sounds like a blast and I really enjoyed reading your recap of the experience. I agree...everything is better with bacon!

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

LOL, vespawoolf. Not sure how you've missed it, either. It's been around for more that a year now and, in fact, I think it was hub of the day last Labor Day weekend! But anyway, glad you found it now. You'll have to try it sometime, at least the easier cocktail version. It's so much fun. Thanks for the comment.

vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

Well that explains it! I've only been here since January. I already spoke to one of my friends and she thinks the chopped party is a great idea. I'll let you know how it goes! Thanks again.

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Gosh, has it only been since January? It seems like you've been around as long as I have (which, granted, is only a few months more). Anyway, I would love to hear about it so please do let me know if you try it!

vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

Well thanks! It has gone quickly. I definitely plan to do this...we're going to have a blast. Maybe I'll write a hub about it and link to yours!

Suzie HQ profile image

Suzie HQ 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

Hi Deborah,

This is one of the BEST IDEAS I have seen for a dinner party ever!!

Not familiar with the TV program here, from your description and detail, I am already planning one here!! My partner did look a bit concerned but I think it would be brilliant. I would also maybe get everyone to chip in a few euro for basic ingredients and set a limit for the spend on course ingredients so no one is spending too much.

Voting up+++++++ and sharing this excellent hub!!!

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Suzie! It will be loads of fun! Setting a limit is good, but some of the best mystery ingredients are relatively cheap (e.g., a bag of pork rinds). Let me know how it goes. And your partner is right to be concerned; your kitchen will be trashed when you're done. LOL.

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Rfordin 3 years ago from Florida

My girlfriend would sooooooooooooo love this.....Many nights we spend watching this show. Great hub! Awesome Idea.


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Sunshine625 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

One day I'll take me up on the challenge!:)

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DeborahNeyens 3 years ago from Iowa Author

Becky and Linda, since you're both in Florida, I think you need to get together and take the Chopped Challenge. How fun would that be?! Thanks for the comments.

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Mike Robbers 3 years ago from London

Congratulations for winning HOTD with this adorable hub,, both the dinner and cocktail party sound like an awesome challenge.. the dishes you all invented are so lovely,, loved the photos as well

voted up and shared :)

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DeborahNeyens 3 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Mike! Give it a try sometime. The cocktail challenge is really easy to pull off and lots of fun for all.

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Millionaire Tips 3 years ago from USA

A belated congratulations on your Hub of the Day. This does sound like an excellent idea, although I would feel intimidated trying to make something edible out of a weird combination of ingredients, and even more intimidated in trying to eat stuff with weird combinations. Hmm, maybe if I fill up all the bags, I won't have to worry about that. Voted up.

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Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

Belated congratulations on receiving a HOTD award. My husband and I love watching chopped on television. Your party idea using the mystery basket of ingredients would be so much fun for people who love to cook. I'll bet that there was lots of laughter and animated talking as well as cooking going on. Up votes including funny...taking the place of fun. Nice documentation of the party you had! Will share in case others have missed reading this. :)

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DeborahNeyens 3 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Peggy. This was my very first Hub of the Day back when I was brand new to Hubpages. It was such a thrill! The party is lots of fun, too. Now my husband and I often turn cooking into a game by pulling out some "mystery ingredients" for the other to use. Just this past weekend, I made brussels sprouts quesadillas for lunch in a mini Chopped Challenge.

DebBho 3 years ago

Great idea. I ran across your page when I was searching for Chopped-style challenges online. We used to do a version we called "Gang-Up" challenges on, and there was a site called "FoodieFights" that hosted weekly challenges but they disappeared shortly after I found them. I enjoyed participating so much that I just might launch my own site so I can do them again! (I don't know enough people who cook to put together a dinner, alas.)

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DeborahNeyens 3 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks for the comment, Deb. Let me know if you launch your own site. Sounds like a fun idea!

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Jools99 3 years ago from North-East UK

What did you say? This is the 100th comment on this glad I could help....I also enjoyed reading it again! :o)

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DeborahNeyens 3 years ago from Iowa Author

100 comments? Wow! Thank you very much, Jools. : )

PKJ 3 years ago

We love the show and my 12 year old daughter came up with the idea of us doing our own family chopped and we hold our own contest once a quarter and it is a BLAST....

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DeborahNeyens 3 years ago from Iowa Author

That's great, PKJ. Some nights when I'm feeling uninspired about dinner, I'll tell my husband to pick out three or four ingredients and I'll have my own mini chopped challenge. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Nightauel 2 years ago

I'm slow to catch up on this topic, but I was reading through the comments this morning and saw several on the topic of a kids version of "Chopped." This was written well before there were children's versions of several of the cooking shows, and last night we saw the first child winner from my great state of South Carolina! This looks like great fun for a party for adults, too.

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DeborahNeyens 2 years ago from Iowa Author

Hi Nightauel. I haven't seen the episode yet but I have it recorded. Congratulations to the state of South Carolina. :) I like the different versions of Chopped now with the home cooks, teens, firefighters, etc. Maybe some day I will apply for the home chef version!

Nightauel 2 years ago

I'm so sorry, DeborahNeyens, that I didn't post a spoiler warning before I put that post up. She was interviewed locally before the episode aired, so I knew who was going to win, too, which gives you an entirely different view of the judges comments. Listening to what they were saying, I'd have NEVER guessed she was going to win. I like all the different versions, too, and am guilty of watching cooking shows back to Justin Wilson, the Cajun cook and even a few Julia Childs. I have watched many an Iron Chef with English voice-overs in the middle of the night. I like the competitive shows better than the straight cooking shows and Rachel Ray wore me out. I love Alton Brown and saw him on-stage earlier this year (he's a riot and he wasn't even cooking) but I don't really care for his new Cutthroat show. But you're right, the kids' shows are amazing. I'm 54 years old and I don't know that I could bake a scratch cake without a recipe, yet I've seen them all do it and under extreme pressure. I might just stand there and cry!!

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DeborahNeyens 2 years ago from Iowa Author

No worries about the spoiler, Nightauel. I don't like Cutthroat Kitchen either; it seems to have very little to do with cooking. My favorite cooking competition besides Chopped is Top Chef. I also prefer the dubbed version of Iron Chef to the American version. My husband, brother-in-law and I once did our own Iron Chef guinea hen competition. Now that was interesting!

Nightauel 2 years ago

I love Top Chef, and I'd like Hell's Kitchen a lot more if there was a lot less volume, DeborahNeyens. My restaurant experience is limited to fast food in high school, but I do think there's a fair amount of drama in the back of the house in most restaurants. I just don't see the need to add all the yelling. I'd love to hear more about your guinea hen competition and how you did the Iron Chef experience. I'm going to try to raise interest in our little cul-de-sac in a progressive dinner and I may throw that in as one of the themes if I can figure out how.

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DeborahNeyens 2 years ago from Iowa Author

What a great idea, Nightauel! Have you seen the article I did on progressive dinners? It may give you some ideas, although my progressive dinners haven't been nearly as creative as that. I thought about writing an article about Iron Chef guinea hen, but it was so long ago and I don't think anyone got any photos, believe it or not! (We were all so intent on cooking.) I did write down the recipe I came up with, though. Maybe I can publish it, at least.

Nightauel 2 years ago

I think the cooking shows have made all of us more creative in the kitchen, starting with Alton Brown's turning cooking into a science by explaining what chemicals balanced each other and how that applied to dinner. I still use his brine recipe for our holiday turkey! What I love about Top Chef is the idea that you can take what you actually have on hand and use it in different ways, meaning that your groceries never filter to the back of the pantry to live for ten years. I can see where there are even elements of Cutthroat Kitchen in real life: you might have to go to Plan B if your deep fryer dies or you thought you had shrimp in the freezer but they turned into chicken nuggets instead, but not all at once, and not with such malice. Not a fan of yelling OR malice, you know?

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DeborahNeyens 2 years ago from Iowa Author

So true, Nightauel. Plus, when you turn cooking dinner into a game, it doesn't seem like such a chore. :)

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amazmerizing 21 months ago from PACIFIC NORTHWEST, USA

Ha sounds like a super fun evening. My husband doesn't cook... like... ever... so we would lose... maybe with my sons... hmmm

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DeborahNeyens 21 months ago from Iowa Author

Super fun, amazmerizing. I'm thinking about hosting another one really soon. It's great for winter when there isn't much else to do. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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pstraubie48 19 months ago from sunny Florida

How much fun this would be. I have not done this yet...the operative word here is 'yet.' I have given themed dinners many times where the guests help prepare the meal which is fun for all.

Now I just need to gather up a group and throw this party.

Thanks for the heads up

Angels are on the way to you ps

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poetryman6969 18 months ago

This would be way too challenging for me as I burn cornflakes but I think it could be fun for amateur chefs. With great bacon comes great responsibility. And with plenty of bacon, what could possibly go wrong? Hold my bacon, I got this!

KimM71 18 months ago

This is so fun! My friend and I do a chopped challenge every few months. We take turns of course. Now it is my turn to bring her 4 ingredients to make dinner and we are able to use anything we have in our cabinets/fridge to add to the delicious meals. We do have different rules like no set time. If it takes 20 minutes or 2 hours, as long as all 4 ingredients are used. So far, we have succeeded in making great meals but we always know we can call out for pizza if it should not turn out edible. So much fun and makes for an interesting night, good conversation, laughs, and so far good food! I suggest everyone have fun with it! We have been doing this for a couple years now.

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