Times-Herald (Vallejo)

‘Chopped Martha Rules’: Lifestyle maven calls the shots in new tournament

- By MichELLE ROSE

Everybody wants to rule the world, right? We’ve all dreamed of at least one scenario in which we’re given free rein to change things and rewrite the rules. Except it’s not really a dream for Martha Stewart: the lifestyle expert and recurring “Chopped” judge is doing exactly that, and delighting in it, when she takes over the “Chopped” kitchen this month.

“Chopped: Martha Rules” is a new, five-part series that begins this Tuesday, April 13, on Food Network. Basically, whatever Martha Stewart says goes, and that includes a change of setting.

Instead of the familiar “Chopped” kitchen, the group of 16 chefs will compete in an outdoor kitchen in Kennebunkp­ort, Maine. The format is the same, with Ted Allen serving as the host of each hour-long episode in which four chefs compete in eliminatio­n challenges involving a mystery basket of ingredient­s.

You’d think by now that there wouldn’t be many surprise ingredient­s left to showcase, but trust Stewart to get a little creative on “Chopped: Martha Rules.”

Most of the twists will consist of rule changes and unexpected challenges, with Stewart taking control of the clock at one point and even adding a surprise fifth chef to spice up the competitio­n.

This week, expect the first group of competitor­s to try to make a great first impression, but Stewart won’t make things easy: they’ll only have access to 10 pantry staples, while their Maine-themed baskets include blueberry pie and clam chowder.

Stick with the tournament over the next few weeks to see how Stewart continues to bring chaos to the “Chopped”-style competitio­n. In a future episode, she suddenly orders the cooks to switch stations (and dishes) midway through the round. And expect her to pull out all the stops in the finale, even swapping out an appetizer ingredient for … some footwear?

Marc Murphy and Marcus Samuelsson will be joining Stewart at the judges table, and, along with Allen, they’ll be determinin­g the winners who get to face off in the big finale. Given that the grand prize is $50,000, trust the chefs to be extra creative and show a high level of agility and focus, even as the competitio­n changes around them.

The action begins this Tuesday, April 13, on “Chopped: Martha Rules,” and you can follow the competitio­n on social media using #Chopped.

 ??  ?? Martha Stewart stars in “Chopped: Martha Rules”
Martha Stewart stars in “Chopped: Martha Rules”

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