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Four chefs will create a three course dinner... with one chef eliminated after each course.

Recaps by Chico Alexander, GSNN

Ted Allen
Linda Lea, Michael Krupat, Dave Noll

Packager: City Lights Television for Food Network
Origin: Food Network Studios, New York City
Airs: Tuesdays at 10p ET on Food Network

In High-Definition Where AvailableStreaming Online

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Quail/Arctic Char/Beer
February 24

From the four corners of the world, they've arrived at New York City to test their mettle against each other and against the clock for a shot at $10,000. Let's meet the chefs who hope to avoid the titular action tonight.

orig. Isreal
chef & cookie maker
Manhattan, NY
executive chef, Butterfield 8
chef de cuisine, Pacifico
New York City
chef instructor

The rules are simple. You're given a mélange of random theme ingredients that must be used in that dish. You have 30 minutes of cooking time. After each course, the plate will be judged on creativity, presentation, and above all, taste. The chef whose plate scores the lowest after each course will be "chopped". The last chef standing wins $10,000.

Tonight's judges...

- executive chef Alex Guarnaschelli
- cookbook author, chef, and Italian food dynamo Scott Conant
- executive chef Amanda Freitag (who lost to Bobby Flay in Kitchen Stadium this week)

Round 1: APPETIZER. In the mystery boxes this round...  Endive, frozen peas, quail, and red seedless grapes.

Back to 30 minutes for the appetizer... and the time starts NOW!

Lior: Grilled Quail with Spice Marinade
Ralph: Braised Quail with Caramelized Endive
Abe: Poached Quail with Braised Endive Potatoes
Melinda: Maple Glazed Quail with Pea Puree & Raisins

Melinda has to work with a mousseline... she'll make quail into a sausage. Everything's falling apart on her. Ralph is trying to caramelized with vinegar and brown sugar. Lior is making a poor man's jus. Ralph is done at the three-minute mark. Melinda has yet to put anything on her plate. As for Abe... He's just making sure everything looks good.

And TIME. If it ain't on the plate, it ain't getting judged. The final dishes match up. Amanda likes the way he cooked the quail, but Alex is concerned about the herbs. Alex wants some more on the flavor of Ralph's quail. Scott thinks that the quail eggs are undercooked. Abe's quail is overcooked. Scott commends Melinda for the attempt... but the texture is definitely off. And he didn't get any quail breast.

Will Melinda's attempt overshadow the fact that she didn't use it in all four of her servings? Or will someone else fall through the cracks? The first person to be chopped is...

... MELINDA. Not completing the plates is not enough.

Round 2: ENTREE. Ted brings out another set of boxes. In them... Watercress, tamarind paste, creamed corn, arctic char.

Thirty minutes... begin NOW!

Lior: Grilled Char with Watercress Salad
Ralph: Seared Chair with Tamarind Mashed Potatoes
Abe: Crispy Char with Watercress Salsa

So two people are going Latin, while Ralph just decides to use the tamarind to add flavor to mashed potatoes. Then comes the other big problem... pin bones. Some work around it. Others try to take out as many as possible. Ralph likes to make creamed corn creamy, but he doesn't make his mashed potatoes done enough. As for Abe, he has burned his fish. Lior is most confident in his corn.

And TIME. Going to the judges with the dishes that they had planned on. Adding real cream to cream corn in Ralph's dish was a good idea. The potatoes were also a good idea, but it would've worked better without the seeds. Abe's char is nicely cooked, but Amanda thinks that it's really spicy. Lior has a story to go with his dish... and it's absolutely perfect, but the corn puree is goopy.

So Lior has a memory from his dish, but will it be a pleasant one? Or will Abe's crunchy char drop him? Next person to be chopped...

... RALPH. The undercooked potatoes and the tamarind eclipsed the positive aspects of the dish.

Round 3: DESSERT. One round away from $10,000... In the baskets... Pitted dates, frozen pie crust, caramel candy, and stout beer.

Thirty minutes... GO!

Lior: Caramelized Pie Dough with Sauteed Dates
Abe: Napoleon with Stout-Soaked Dates

Lior owns a cooking company who makes cookies, so Abe may be the underdog. Lior thinks that the dates are dry. Meanwhile, Abe is trying to unwrap caramels... Both are taking different routes to the same end product, but will it be good enough at this point?

That's TIME. Visually, Lior has the advantage, but we have to eat it now.

Scott thinks that the ricotta and citrus napoleon is delicious. Alex thinks that the dish was very creative.

Time to consider the overall meal in addition to the desserts. Did the stories that Lior weave tie together... or did Abe's bold flavors win out in the end?

The final person to be chopped... is... LIOR. It was an extremely difficult decision, but the dessert lacked the soul and depth that Abe's had.

Not a clean victory, but a victory nonetheless for Abe Lopez, as he is today's Chopped Champ. Now he has to do come up with something to do...  with $10,000.

Next week, four more chefs and another $10,000 to be won if you can avoid being... chopped.

To see this episode in its entirety, or to apply to be a contestant on "Chopped", visit the official website at