Tonight, the first basket ought to be named
the earth first basket because of its crazy ingredient. Who's taking it
on today? Two vegetarian chefs and two who just know how to handle it
chef owner, Vedge
New York City
executive chef, Urban Cooking
executive chef, Hillside Farmacy
chef owner, Garrido's
Tonight on the panel.
- Superstar Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli
- American restauranteur Marc Murphy
- Executive chef supreme Amanda Freitag
Round 1: APPETIZER (20 minutes).
First in the mystery baskets are... rice wrappers, morel mushrooms, chia seeds,
and dandelion greens.
... and you have 20 minutes... and they start
Rich: Horta Roll with Morel Stock
Mustapha: Noodle Salad with Greens & Morels
Sonya: Morel Spring Rolls with a Winter Salad
David: Mushroom Ragout with Braised Dandelion Greens
There are a lot of textures on Rich's
dish, but it needs a little more salt. Alex likes the flavor of the
stock. Chef Mu's dish had a little bit of sweetness, but the bourbon was
overcloying. The "noodles" were "glopped" together. But the use of the
chia seeds were spot on. Sonya's morel filling is delicious. It's Alex's
favorite so far, but what's up with the lemon slice and the hot sauce?
Finally, David's morel saute pairs well with the dandelion greens with
bacon and honey, but the rice paper has a stick-to-your-teeth textures.
The first chef... to be chopped... is...
DAVID. The flavor was there, but the focus needed to be on the
mushrooms, and the rice paper were not successful.
Round 2: ENTREE (30 minutes).
And then there were three left to take on this
box... etrog citron, golden beets, wheatgrass, and tempeh.
Thirty minutes... Get to it!
Rich: Steak Spice Temped with Marinated Beets &
Italian Salsa Verde
Mustapha: Asian Saute Temped with Frisee Salad and Candied Beets
Sonya: Curry Roasted Tempeh with Heirloom Tomatoes and Beet Puree
The tempeh takes on the flavor of
whatever it is cooked in. Etrog citron needs to be balanced with other
flavors to offset its own acidity.
Chef Mu looked like a train wreck, but...
it worked. No taste of tempeh whatsoever. But there's no real harmony in
the components. Sonya's dish was overpickled, causing Alex to choke on
herself. Meanwhile, the tempeh tastes a lot like bacon, and the rest of
the dish was mushy. Rich's tempeh was very bright, and it's very well
seasoned. The beets are cohesive on the plate, but this is not a steak
and should not be treated as such.
The next chef... to be chopped... is...
SONYA. The tempeh's bitterness came through, and though the puree was
tasty, it bled into the wheatgrass.
Round 3: DESSERT (30 minutes).
We've got the carnivore turned vegetarian vs. the vegetarian turned carnivore.
Both will face the challenge of... cranberries, green tea powder, edamame, and
We're half-an-hour away from a big money moment.
Rich: Edamame Turnovers with Cranberry Sauce
Mustapha: Merlot Cranberry Sauce with Candied Yams
Rich is wrestling with a dilemma. At 18 he swore
off of ALL animal products. Honey is an animal product. "I don't feel there's
any virtue in being eliminated by not using an ingredient to make a statement.
I'm never going to use honey in our restaurant, but I'm going to use it today."
He's going to use it, but he's not going to overdo it.
Rich's turnovers won the judges' over, with the
cranberry balancing with the green tea. The turnover needed a little more
cooking time. Chef Mu's dish was an ode to home. His childhood has nurtured a
love of ingredients. It's a good dish.. but is it a dessert? The judges were
looking forward to a cookie crumble or something.
The final chef... to be chopped... is...
MUSTAPHA. There was a push-pull between creative choices and actual
cohesiveness. The dessert was lacking a "dessert" element.
And so the vegetarian from Philadelphia
has pushed meatless cuisine further into the limelight, as RICH LANDAU
takes away $10,000 and the title of Chopped Champion.
Now our attention turns to the next
battle. One player is going to be paid, and the other three are going to
extras from this episode, or to apply to be a contestant on "Chopped", visit the
official website at