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Chopped All-Stars Ups The Ante

If you watched last year’s “Chopped All Stars” on Food Network, you know that it was riveting and must-see TV. I, for one, was thrilled to see some of the judges, who were generally very difficult to please and very hard on the contestants, have to compete and see what it was like on the other side. But even better, in addition to the “judges” round, there were three other rounds with themes–former contestants on “Food Network Star,” for instance, and then one final round featuring the four winners. Former “Next Iron Chef” contestant Nate Appleman won last year’s inaugural crown.

So of course, Food Network had to make Season 2 of “Chopped All Stars” (premiering Sunday, April 8th) bigger and better. Seriously, if you are a Food Network junkie, you’re going to freak when you see this list. Here, I’ll just lift it right from the network’s press release:

Part 1, “Iron Chefs Do Battle” Premieres Sunday, April 8th at 9pm ET/PT
Competitors: Iron Chefs Cat Cora, Marc Forgione, Jose Garces and Michael Symon
Judges: Scott Conant, Aarón Sanchez, Geoffrey Zakarian

Part 2, “Prime Time vs. Day Time” Premieres Sunday, April 15th at 9pm ET/PT
Competitors: Show hosts Keegan Gerhard (Food Network Challenge), Jeffrey Saad (United Tastes of America, Cooking Channel), Aarti Sequeira (Aarti Party) and Marcela Valladolid (Mexican Made Easy)
Judges: Amanda Freitag, Aarón Sanchez, Geoffrey Zakarian

Part 3, “Food Network Star Contestants” Premieres Sunday, April 22nd at 9pm ET/PT
Competitors: Food Network Star Season Seven Finalists Justin Balmes, Penny Davidi, Vic “Vegas” Moea and Chris Nirschel
Judges: Scott Conant, Amanda Freitag, Aarón Sanchez

Part 4, “Judge Remix” Premieres Sunday, April 29th at 9pm ET/PT
Competitors: Chopped judges Alex Guarnaschelli, Marc Murphy, Marcus Samuelsson and Chris Santos
Judges: Amanda Freitag, Aarón Sanchez, Geoffrey Zakarian

Part 5, “Grand Finale” Premieres Sunday, May 6th at 9pm ET/PT
Competitors: Prior episode winners
Judges: Anne Burrell, Amanda Freitag, Aarón Sanchez

I mean, seriously? The “Judge Remix” round is going to be awesome, but really, all of them are compelling themes. If you saw “Food Network Star” last year, you know that Penny Davidi is a great cook but also a drama queen who is sure to add to the ratings.

And if you’re not familiar with “Chopped,” the show is hosted by Ted Allen, and the four contestants have 20 minutes to cook an appetizer using four items in a mystery basket, after which one contestant is “chopped,” or eliminated. Then the remaining three cook an entree in 30 minutes, and the two finalists have 20 minutes to make a dessert. The producers of the show, of course, find all kinds of weird ingredients and put items together that should never go together (for example–jelly beans, fish, purple carrots and potato chips). But that adds to the fun.

So there you have it–another great season of “Chopped All Stars” awaits next month. Will you be watching?

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