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

Recaps by Chico Alexander, GSNN

Host Ted Allen
Creators Linda Lea, Michael Krupat, Dave Noll
EP Linda Lea, Dave Noll
Packager City Lights TV for Food Network
Origins Food Network Studios, New York City
Airs 10p Tues, Food
Available In High-Definition Where AvailableStreaming Online

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Pods, Grills & Sticky Fingers
July 28

The tastiest game show in America returns for another go-round. Which chef will come out on top and which three will be chopped? Only the mystery baskets know for sure, but before we open'em up, we have to meet the epicurean masters for today's challenge...
New York City
mother & chef, Matilda
Tuscan Mexican
Brooklyn, NY
sous chef, Cobblestone Foods
Long Branch, NJ
chef owner, Tre Amici
New York City
private chef

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.

Tonight's judges...

- Chef & restaurateur Geoffrey Zakarian
- Star executive chef Amanda Freitag
- Italian raconteur Scott Conant

Round 1: APPETIZER (20 minutes). First up in the boxes... Jumbo shrimp, edamame, and golden raisins

Twenty minutes on the clock... GO!

Maristella: Shrimp in White Wine Sauce
Joe: Warm Shrimp Salad
Matthew: Sauteed Shrimp Salad
Moha: Moroccan Cajun Shrimp

Everyone's going to reconstitute the raisins with alcohol. Maristella is blanked to start, while Moha is blanked in the middle. Joe is getting plates out, and he's not even halfway in yet! Moha cuts himself as time continues to run short. The rest of the chefs start plating while Moha tends to his finger.

And Joe's done with five minutes to spare. Matthew is getting his plates, while Moha has yet to even saute his shrimp... or done anything else for that matter. With a minute on the block, Moha's got to plate something.

And... TIME. And Moha's not even REMOTELY done. Well, he is.. just not in the way that he had hoped. Let's go to the Chopping Block.

Joe has everything's cooked well... with a dirty shrimp. But it's a little small. Could've used a little more time to better construct the dish.

Maristella had a Gamberoni All'uvetta... clean and simple, tying the whole plate together.

Matthew's salad is cooked very well, but Amanda only has one edamame, something she called "kind of a bummer."

Moha... has a plate of edamame and little else. Ambitious, but there's a clock. And the shrimp is completely raw. He'd love for the chance to learn from his mistake.

He's not going to get it. MOHA's the first person chopped. The bottom line... he served a dish with nothing on it.

Round 2: ENTREE (30 minutes). It's time to build on the successes of the last round. And your building blocks... flank steak, grape juice, goat cheese, and lemongrass.

Maristella hates goat cheese... something she'll have to get over. Start cooking!

Maristella: Pan Seared Flank Steak
Joe: Grilled Flank Steak with Apple & Goat Cheese Hash
Matthew: Grilled Flank Steak with Goat Cheese Risotto

Lemongrass makes a great marinade. Grape juice as well. The thing is, though, that lemongrass is completely inedible. You have to infuse the flavor into something. Maristella actually enjoys her goat cheese.. especially with the grape juice. Matthew adds bacon to his risotto, while Joe is having a hard time with a sauce, mounting it with a lot of butter. Ten minutes left, and Maristella looks like she's cooked too much. And she's hoping to plate it all... even so much as to forego resting the meat. A mistake she will pay for later.

And TIME. If it's on the plate, it's on the menu.

Maristella had Pink Peppercorn and Tequila Flank Steak. Everyone's pleasantly surprised, but the flavor of the lemongrass is overwhelmed.

Matthew scores with his creativity, but his risotto needs salt.

Joe's lemongrass sort of disappeared into the heavens, according to Geoffrey. Amanda wanted a little bigger portion because the hash is pretty good.

Interesting strategies all of them, and all of them very tasty, but which one will get the chop next? The second person... to be chopped... is... MARISTELLA. The dish was delicious, but overwrought.

Round 3: DESSERT (30 minutes). One more round, one more basket. In it... Coffee liqueur, avocados, boiled gingko nuts, and honeycomb.

This is for cash money. GO!

Joe: Avocado & Gingko Nut Mousse
Matthew: Zeppole

They say gingko nuts bring good luck. These guys are going to need it, because they also have no texture. Matthew manages to loosen some of the honey into the batter. Joe on the other hand will combine coffee liqueur with a chocolate ganache. Still has no idea what to do with that honeycomb, though. He ends up nuking it for some easy honey, mixing it with a little lemon, and thinking that he's not going to wow them, just going to do what he can. He's a little more than shaky.

Both chefs are having a spoon-fest. And Joe's done... beating his record. Matthew decides against spoons at the last second and uses cocoa powder. Will this happen?

And TIME. You've done all you can. It's on the judges now.

Matthew's toasted gingko nut zeppole... not sweet. The avocado... not sweet. The coffee cream... too sweet. It's not one coherent though. The presentation was good, though.

Joe's scoop-and-a-dip comes across like "green soup", but it's extremely complex and good. There's a wish for some texture.

Now let's think about the overall progression of the meals. Joe has continually made a habit of coming in under the time but not really doing anything to improve within that time. On the other hand, Matthew has been creative with his ideas, but flawed in his execution. His game was not as coherent as Joe's.

So who gets the money and who gets the shoe? The final person to be chopped is..  MATTHEW. His cooking prowess is incredible with a few points of creativity. But in the end, dessert was a disappointment.

His loss is Joe's gain, as he takes $10,000 and the title of Chopped Champion!

Will the sweets be just as sweet next time around? Come back soon to see four more chefs vie for the dole and three more chefs get... chopped.

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