Well, not really one versus the other… but something I’ve always wondered about both shows.
For Iron Chef, no matter how good these chefs are, I’m amazed how once they see the ‘secret’ ingredient they know immediately the 6 or 7 dishes they are going to prepare. In fact everyone on their team knows exactly what they are going to do. Perhaps they edit out the 30 minutes of discussion that must happen so that everyone knows what they are supposed to do, but they certainly don’t imply that there is any planning that happens in real time. So do the chefs know the secret ingredient in advance or do they really have the ability to make it all up on the fly?
For Chopped, again, some of the chefs seems to have a good idea what is coming and can immediately jump into cooking an amazingly complex dish. How could they have a ready-made recipe in their mind for Rams Testicles and Hearts of Palm without having some idea that these may be basket ingredients? So are they given hints in advance or are they really that good?