Amanda Freitag of Chopped and Next Iron ChefFans of Food Network’s competition series Choppedlove to watch chefs struggling to incorporate unexpected ingredients into a seemingly incompatible dinner course.

So what happens when “Chopped” builds a special episode around Thanksgiving, one of the most traditional food holidays of the year?

“The Thanksgiving episode is one of my favorites,” judge Amanda Freitag says of the hour premiering Tuesday, Nov. 13. “It’s really hard, because everybody always has these things that they make, and there’s not any deviation. We’re asking them to take this basket filled with ‘something’ and get creative with it. Also, as we all know, Thanksgiving dinner takes, like, two days to prepare, and here (the time allotted) doesn’t even add up to two hours.”

Still, the chefs show impressive creativity, Freitag adds.

“They have 20 minutes to impress those of us who are judges but have competed ourselves. They’re definitely working hard for that $10,000. I’ve competed on ‘Chopped,’ and I’ve been chopped. I know what it feels like.”

What holidays foods are you looking forward to cooking?

“I’m looking forward to making all those kind of cheesy, old-school classics with a twist. I take that green bean casserole with cream of mushroom soup and fried onions on top, but I make all of it from scratch, or I make sweet potatoes, but instead of marshmallows, I put something else sweet on top.”

Where will you spend Thanksgiving?

“I call it the Misfit Thanksgiving. I’ll be at my mom’s house. I’m inviting a lot of industry friends who can’t make it home to be with their own families.”

Posted by:John Crook