An Overview of the Rules of Ready, Steady, Chuck!

The rules of Ready, Steady, Chuck! are relatively straightforward and have deliberately been kept as simple as possible for the benefit of the chefs. This page will run you through the basics, so that you can understand what's going on, but if you want to play the game yourself we recommend you familiarise yourself with the full Ready, Steady, Chuck! Challenge Official World Rules. If you like, you can download the complete official rules as a pdf file.

At the 2015 Ready, Steady, Chuck! Challenge, an amended version of the rules was used, known as Ready, Steady, Chuck! EXPRESS™. These rules amendments are supplementary to the main rules, applying two major changes - the identification of a signature ingredient for each competing chef, and some measures to speed up the ingredient shopping process. You can read the official rules for Ready, Steady, Chuck! EXPRESS or download a pdf version.

Whether you are playing Classic Ready, Steady, Chuck!, or Ready, Steady, Chuck! EXPRESS™, Ready, Steady, Chuck! is played in three phases: shopping, cooking, tasting and judging.

Will the people having fits of laughter in aisle 6 please leave the supermarket immediately Spontaneous and uncontrollable laughter in supermarkets is inevitable during Ready, Steady, Chuck! but be warned, this sort of thing may attract the attention of the security services

Shopping

The game starts in the local Ready, Steady, Chuck!-compatible supermarket where the ingredients for the dishes are randomly purchased. There are several ways that this can be done - in the early days of Ready, Steady, Chuck! this was done by taking dice to the supermarket and rolling them to determine the aisle, side, distance from one ed, shelf height, and ingredient along that section of shelf. Which is all very well, and does work, but is also very time-consuming. In 1999 it took over an hour to buy five pounds worth of ingredients in this way for three people. Not surprising that we got some funny looks from people, not even allowing for the dice rolling. Since then we have managed to speed the process up by doing most of the dice rolling in advance using a sheet of random numbers instead, using what has since become the official Ready, Steady, Chuck! Random Number Generator. But we recommend you take some dice with you anyway just in case you need to make some extra decisions on the spur of the moment.

A notepad is also very useful. It's important to keep a record of who gets what ingredient - though people do tend to be unlikely to forget. However, you will also need to keep a count of the total cost of the ingredients, and the easiest way to do this is to write it down. Simple, but effective. Carrying a copy of the Official Rules with you might be useful, and could even be helpful if there are any disputes between competitors, but it isn't essential. If there is a dispute, settle it with a roll of the dice for now.

Cooking As each chef takes their turn to create their meal, the others look on and try hard not to laugh too much.

For each ingredient, for each competitor in turn, use the random numbers to select, the aisle, side, distance along, shelf height and the like such that an ingredient can be randomly identified. There are a few fiddly rules about what can and can't be chosen, that are explained in the Ready, Steady, Chuck! Official Rules, but essentially if it isn't proper food, it isn't going to be allowed.

Each chef selects 5-8 ingredients in this way.

Cooking

The second phase of Ready, Steady, Chuck! is the preparation of the meal. Each chef takes it in turns to design, create, and, where necessary, cook their dish. You'll have realised we use the term cooking in the title lightly. While the dish doesn't have to actually be cooked, each chef must use all of their ingredients, and the dish must be served on one plate, although an accompanying drink is permitted. Chefs can use any and all of the facilities, equipment, crockery and cutlery available, sufficient oil, butter or spread as required to fry with (but not to deep-fry), and water. Use of other ingredients available in the kitchen is not normally permitted although can be by mutual agreement of all the chefs. The point here is that the dish should be made with the random ingredients and overpowering them with other flavours should be dissuaded.

Chefs have up to twenty minutes to create their meals, and when it's time to serve, they must also name their dish.

Mmmmmm, chocolate and onion. My favourite... Chefs tuck in, eagerly judging and risk-taking together

Tasting

When the dish is completed and named, it's time for everyone to tuck in and sample it. It's generally agreed that anyone who has enjoyed the spectacle of the Challenge - even if they're just an innocent observer - can't duck out of having a taste. That's just not on. But on the plus side, if you do have a taste, you are eligible to judge. We apply this rule rigorously and we strongly recommend that you do too. So anyone who is a participant or a judge MUST taste all of the meals prepared in order to be present and to be eligible to judge any of them.

This is one of the most memnorable and entertaining parts of the Challenge, so make the most of it, and take some notes of people's comments as they're often very amusing when read back later.

Ranking dishes in each of the scoring categories can often be a very difficult thing

Judging

Once a meal has been prepared, all those present - except its creator, of course - must judge the meal against four criteria: creativity; presentation; name; and taste. Each judge ranks the meals against each of these criteria, and when everyone is finished the scores are put together to obtain the overall result. If you're doing this in your own Ready, Steady, Chuck games, use our handy downloadable Score Sheets for convenience.

The overall winner becomes the title holder of the coveted Ready, Steady, Chuck! Challenge Trophy for that year.

At the judges' discretion, dishes may also be honoured with a Special Achievement Award. Normally, not more than one such award is given in any single year - but there's always a first time.

For a more detailed run through of the way Ready, Steady Chuck! works, have a look at our Walkthrough of the 2006 Challenge.

If you run your own Ready, Steady, Chuck! competitions, make sure you email us to tell us about your creations!