It's chef-on-chef-on-chef-on-chef action with
mysteries abound... mainly in the mystery boxes. What happens when a cut of
meat, a whole flounder, and some miniature legumes are thrown in the mix? Only
one way to find out. Let's meet the cheftestants...
orig. Puerto Rico
sous chef, Orillas Tapas Bar & Grill in Wilmington, DE
Nuevo Latino Fusion
New York City
caterer/chef, Great Performances Catering
New York City
executive chef, DeGrezia
Hard Knocks Italian
Long Island, NY
Three rounds, each one has
its own box of mysterious ingredients. Be it a little or a lot, each one must be
used. After each course, the plate will be judged on creativity, presentation,
and taste. The lowest rung on the pole each round gets chopped. These are timed
rounds; strategy is involved. The last chef standing wins $10,000 cash money.
- Italian cookbook superscribe Scott Conant
- Star chef Amanda Freitag
- Latin cuisine expert Aaron Sanchez
Round 1: APPETIZER (20 minutes). What kind
of course can you make from beef shoulder, fish sauce, and canned pumpkin? Let's
Twenty clicks on the clock... get clackin'!
Julio: Seared Beef Shoulder with Korean BBQ Sauce
Marc: Thai Beef Salad with Fish Sauce Vinaigrette
Massimo: Arugula Salad with Beef Shoulder with Pumpkin Sauce
Christine: Spicy Veggies with Braised Beef with Pumpkin Ragout
You want to cook the beef low and slow
normally... but the chefs don't have that time. The fish sauce is essentially
blended fermented fish, so it's really salty and too much can really ruin your
Marc decides to add head while Massimo decides to
add taste. Julio's worried that he won't get done on time, while Christine is
wondering how to use the beef now that it's shoe leather. Five minutes left, and
plates are down. Marc is hoping for simplicity, while Christine salvages her
And TIME. Everyone's not too crazy about their
dishes, but it's all about what the judges think.
Julio's dish is great in the glaze, matching
pumpkin puree with a distinct flavor. Aaron wanted to see a little green,
Marc: Thai Beef Salad with Pumpkin Chipotle. He
wants to keep it simple. It's very simple and very fresh. The meat could've used
a little more dressing and fish sauce.
Massimo's appetizer brought out the flavor of the
beef, but the pumpkin with the sage is a little overbearing.
Christine's meat is incredibly tough with an
inconsistent meat. The pumpkin is a smooth transition.
Two big starters, and two lacking starters.
Christine's not convinced that she'll survive this round. Marc and Julio were
smart, but what about wild card Massimo? The first person to be chopped... is...
MASSIMO. The sage was overpowering and clouding the concept of the dish.
Round 1: ENTREE (30 minutes). Next up for
creative interpretation are... flounder, yellow plantain, baby bok choy, and
Thirty minutes before the judges are served...
Julio: Pan-Seared Flounder with Fumet Sauce
Marc: Curry-Dredged Flounder with Toasted Plantains
Christine: Steamed Flounder Stuffed with Bok Choy & Plantains
The best way to fry plantains is in butter. Bok
choy is best done in a blanch. Julio is going the relish route with the
watermelon, while Christine is making a sauce out of it. Julio's familiar with
plantains, roasting them. Marc is frying, then baking his flounder to bring out
the grease... and it's stuck to the paper towel. Christine's got five minutes to
cook her fish. It's a hail Mary at this point. At 20 seconds... it's
And TIME. Marc is a little scared at this point.
Let's go to the block.
Marc: Fried Flounder with Pickled Watermelon
Salad. Scott thought it could've used a little more curry. Amanda wanted a
little more pickling brine. Aaron got a broken piece of fish.
Christine's rolls... well, she knows what the
judges are going to say, but they go with the watermelon first, it's spicy. It's
a good idea, but in the end, it's undercooked.
Julio: Lemon-Glazed Flounder. Amanda just downed
a mouthful of bones. The fish is delicately cooked and very well done.
So this one will be decided on execution. Will
Christine survive by the skin of her teeth again, or will her habit of not
knowing when to say when be her undoing? Will Marc's creativity be trumped by
his major mistake? Or will Julio surprise everyone? The next person to be
chopped... is... CHRISTINE. Raw fish... overly spicy sauce... owned.
Round 1: DESSERT (30 minutes). The only
thing separating you from 10 G's is tomatillos, creme fraiche, and plain donuts.
Thirty minutes to a winner... GO!
Julio: Tomatillo Relish with French Toast Donuts
Marc: Classic Fritter with Tomatillo Relish
Marc ends up cutting his finger, which sets him
back a lot. He thinks about quitting, but in the end, he presses on. Julio adds
some apples, while Marc is still dealing with cold oil. Julio is taking a risk
by cooking some already cooked donuts, while he adds orange zest and tequila to
strawberry jelly to make a syrup. He's now worried that his dish is a little
heavy. Marc looks at Julio's dish, then thinks that his fritters are too dark.
He decides to serve ONE fritter each. A very light ending to a very light meal.
Deal with it.
And... TIME. This is for cash money. Let's go to
the Chopping Block.
Julio: French Toast Donuts with Tomatillo
Compote. There was concern that the dish may be very heavy... and indeed it was.
Amanda is very sensitive to cloves, while the other two judges say the dish work
Marc: Classic Fritter with Tomatillo Chutney.
Marc wanted to break it down. Aaron wanted to see a more compact fritter, but
the tomatillos are impeccable.
So now we have to think about bold flavors from
Julio and light flavors from Marc. A tight race between different components
being brought together versus respecting your product. Both were not without
fault. Both had their moments as well. But the bottom line is that one of these
desserts is worth $10,000.
The final person... to be chopped... is... JULIO.
It was a difficult decision.
But in the end, the decision is made, and Marc
Spooner spoons out $10,000 as this week's Chopped champion. Now do us all a
favor and go get that cut looked at.
Next week, more ingredients will be hidden from
view as chefs fight it out to avoid being... chopped.
To see this episode in its
entirety, or to apply to be a contestant on "Chopped", visit the
official website at