This is Cole Dickinson, Chef de Cuisine at Los Angeles restaurant ink. and winner of Chopped's Season 16 episode "Mochi Obliged."
1. The mystery basket is just as tough as you think.
2. Sometimes the judges eat cold food.
3. It's a loooong 16-hour day of filming.
4. The judges actually judge the food and don't pull any punches.
5. The dishes look different on television.
Said Dickinson, "The [fish] I made was the most visually appealing dish, but when I saw it on TV, it looked like shit. It looked horrible. What looked best was the [sautéed lamb], but when I plated it, I thought, 'this looks like shit.'"