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.
LIOR LEV SERCARZ
chef & cookie maker
RALPH BATTISTA, JR.
executive chef, Butterfield 8
chef de cuisine, Pacifico
New York City
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
- 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
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
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
... 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
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