Another four chefs. Another three baskets.
Another $10,000. Let's meet tonight's competitors.
owner and executive chef
cafeteria chef at IBM
The rules are simple.
You're given a mélange of random theme ingredients that must be used in that
dish. You have a given number of 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
- dynamic chef & restaurateur Geoffrey Zakarian
- "The Cooking Loft" host Alex Guarnaschelli
- Latin expert and cookbook author Aaron Sanchez
Round 1: APPETIZER. First up... beef
tenderloin, cucumbers, Asian pears, bittersweet chocolate.
You have 30 minutes... Get going!
Nigel: Spicy Beef with Tangy Cucumber Salad
Gavin: Beef Carpaccio with Pickled Cucumber Salad
Michael: Braised Beef Medallion with Glazed Pears
Melissa: Seared Beef with Caramelized Pears
Nigel loves spices. Gavin works brown butter with
the chocolate. Melissa is confused by the cucumber. Michael? He's got an
internal clock. Nigel and Gavin are just worried about finishing on time.
And TIME'S UP. In the end, everyone has finished.
Nigel's salsa works. The cucumber doesn't work.
Neither do the spices. Some of it is overspiced. Gavin's dish took some moxie,
but it could've used a little more salt. Michael's appetizer is nothing but
roasted, but the plate could've been bigger or the serving smaller. Melissa's
dish is fun, but does it really fit?
So a few procedural errors on Nigel's and
Michael's part, a few lacking flavors for Gavin, and a fit issue with Melissa.
Whose dish did not pass muster in this round?
The first person to be chopped is... MICHAEL. It
was three separate dishes, not one big one. The flavors were there, but they
Round 2: ENTREE. Next up in the mystery
boxes are... mussels, canned tomatoes, pita bread, and celery root.
Thirty minutes in this round... GO!
Nigel: Spaghetti with Mussels in Spicy Tomato
Gavin: Manhattan vs. New England Chowder
Melissa: Steamed Mussels with White Bean & Celery Root Ragout
You can really do too much and muck up these
simple ingredients. So much can go so wrong so quickly, as evidenced by Gavin's
pot setting forth the big steam heat. He doesn't like the shell. Melissa's broth
is not coming up to a boil, and the ragout is not coming up as well as it
should. Nigel's working on all burners. In the end, Gavin changes gears...
Gavin: Potato Hash with Manhattan Mussel Chowder.
Melissa's just going to keep things simple. Gavin
forgets to toast his pita before pulverizing it. All of the chefs are concerned
in this round...
And... TIME. Plates are down. Time to serve.
Nigel's pasta is really lacking in sauce. Gavin's
hash is not as crunchy without the toasted pita. Melissa's mussels doesn't need
all of those beans. Aaron likes it a lot for being comforting.
Does size really matter in this course? The
second person to be chopped is... NIGEL. The flavors were good, but there was no
evolution from course to course.
Round 3: DESSERT. Welcome to the shootout
at the OK Corral. Your weapons... Black mission figs, slivered almonds, and
This is for money, folks... GO!
Gavin: Roasted Figs with Lemon Sabayon
Melissa: Sautéed Figs with Brown Sugar and Almond Streusel
You have to be very careful with figs, because
they are full of water. Sabayon is very time consuming. Can Gavin kick one out
in thirty minutes? Melissa's streusel is beautiful, as she works it into a
parfait. She's keeping it simple, while he's going all-in. Hopefully he won't
screw things up.
And... STOP COOKING. You've gone as far as you
can on your own power.
Gavin's dessert, though it was one step away from
catastrophe, ends up being rather delicate. Melissa's fig parfait is more of a
breakfast, but all of the components are very good.
So we have the collected approach of Melissa,
while Gavin threw himself out and came out three for three. Which one of these
desserts is worth $10,000? The final person to be chopped is... MELISSA. She was
very impressive, but Gavin was just blowing away. And in the end, Gavin Mills is
this week's champ and recipient of $10,000.
Next week is the season finale, and we've saved
the best for last as four chefs enter, but three wind up getting... chopped.
To see this episode in its
entirety, or to apply to be a contestant on "Chopped", visit the
official website at