Here's how it works: Four chefs start out, each with a basket of "mystery ingredients" which must feature prominently in their recipes. Typically, they open their baskets to discover eclectic ingredients that do not go together. "Jellied eels, potato chips, bitter Asian parsnips, and Heavenly Hash ice cream. Hmm..." They can add other ingredients from the pantry or fridge, but generally, they find themselves flying around the kitchen frantically and trying to whip something original and tasty in 20-30 minutes. After the appetizer round, the food judges "chop" one chef. The three chefs who didn't get cut move to the entree round. Again, weird ingredients and another chef gets chopped. The final two chefs duke it out in the desert round. The judges consider the three dishes each chef made and the winner walks off with $10,000. Ted Allen does a good job hosting. He seems to relish the job of lifting the cover off the dish prepared by the chef who's getting chopped.
Have a look.