Who doesn’t like Chopped — the long-running Food Network competition show where four chefs compete to combine “mystery baskets” of ingredients into appetizer, entrée and dessert dishes that wow the judging panel. On air since 2009, the show has had several spinoffs, such as Chopped Junior, Chopped After Hours, Chopped Next Gen, and now debuting this month on the Discovery+ streaming service, appropriately on April 20th, Chopped 420.
While not the first television program to feature cannabis cooking, Chopped 420 is certainly the most mainstream entry of its kind and is designed to appeal to a wide range of viewers. The show is intended to capitalize on one of America’s newest culinary trends: cannabis cuisine. This is manifest in the growing number of permanent and pop-up restaurants featuring cannabis fine dining, bakeries and pizzerias offering CBD and THC-infused goods, and other events combining cannabis and food.
So while the program is expected to have the obligatory stoner jokes as the judges banter with the chefs, the actual cooking will be of a significantly higher level. The traditional Chopped appetizer, entrée and dessert rounds will still be present, but all will be expected to incorporate cannabis as an ingredient, either as flower or through ingredients infused with cannabis such as butter, honey and oils.
While the contestants will have their mystery baskets and the well-stocked studio pantry for selecting ingredients, Chopped 420 will go farther than its sibling series. There will be an adjoining greenhouse where the contestants can select the individual cannabis varieties they wish to use in their dishes, at the same time educating viewers of the culinary differences between various strains and forms.
Hosting the program is actor and comedian Ron Funches. Judges for the competitions will include chef Ester Choi, chef Luke Reyes, chef Sam Talbot, drag performer and cannabis activist Laganja Estranja, and comedian Tacarra Williams. Dishes will be judged not only on taste and presentation, but also on whether or not they provide an accompanying buzz.
Just like in their parent series, the winning chefs of each Chopped 420 competition will take home a $10,000 prize. While that may certainly be enough to buy a few years’ worth of Taco Bell munchies, the welcome reality is that all the talented chefs featured are trying to raise the bar for restaurant diners — putting cannabis in the same category as farm-to-table offerings, wines from local vineyards, and other premium selections that heighten the experience. Your Kanna Knowledge team will be watching, as well as keeping our eyes out for any unplanned legal ramifications as viewers in certain states attempt to recreate dishes at home …