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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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The Ultimate Face-Off
September 8

For the last year, you've been seeing some of the best chefs in the nation enter the Chopped Kitchen for a shot at winning $10,000 and the title of Chopped Champion. Tonight, one of them will win another $10,000 and move one step closer to being named a superchampion. Who'll rise to the challenge and who'll be Chopped?

Tonight's four champions...

orig. Buenos Aires, Argentina
junior exec chef, Industria Argentina
Won episode 2.1
New York City
skateboarder & chef instructor at ICE in NYC
American Cajun
Won episode 1.9
New York City
catering chef at Union Theological Seminary
Contemporary American
Won episode 1.1
Montclair, NJ
chef/owner, Passione
Won episode 1.13

Tonight's judges...

- sophisticated dining expert Marc Murphy
- Star executive chef Alex Guarnaschelli
- Renowned restauranteur Geoffrey Zarkarian

Round 1: APPETIZER (20 minutes). First challenge has... Crayfish, red seedless grapes, and fiddlehead ferns.

Twenty minutes... starting now.

Natalia: Grape and Apple Crawfish Salad
James: Spiced Crawfish with Fiddlehead Ragout
Sandy: Warm Crawfish Tail with Roasted Fiddleheads
Michael: Crawfish Veloute with Glazed Fiddleheads

The judges swear that Natalia is not going to finish with 10 minutes left on the clock. Michael may also not finish, due to his making a roux in his 20 minutes. Sandy is moving cool as a cucumber. "Jump down, turn around, pick a bale of cotton." James on the other hand is fast. Whose approach will work best?

And... that's time. One of these winners... is a loser. Which one?

Sandy made a roasted fiddlehead and crawfish salad. The wine tempers the sweetness of the grapes. A few of the crawfish had veins them.

James had a "cooler" crawfish with fiddlehead ragout. Bacon tied the sweetness to the spiciness, but the spices are a little too bland.

Natalia had sauteed fiddleheads with a crawfish and apple salad. Natalia's crawfish was muddy, but the salad was fresh.

Michael's crawfish veloute was a great idea. The crostini was crispy, but the roux is a little bit thick. And it doesn't taste a lot like crawfish.

So who just blew their chance at up to $40,000? The first person to be chopped... is... MICHAEL. They were tantalized with the promise of a really great soup, but the garnishes and the crawfish fell victim to the thickness of the soup

Round 2: ENTREE (30 minutes). Next up is a dish with quail, guava nectar, udon noodle, and dinosaur kale

You have 30 minutes... GO!

Natalia: Guava Glazed Quail with Sauteed Kale Noodles
James: Quail "Two Ways" - Marinated Quail Breast & Stuffed Kale Roll
Sandy: Guava Orange Quail with Roasted Noodles

And Sandy's again not in a rush. Good for him. Quail is usually served medium well. Something to remember.  James is making a noodle cake with apples and bourbon. They're not getting crispy enough. And Sandy's done with three minutes to go. James has an ambitious dish that may not get done. Natalia looks like she's almost done as well.

And... TIME. ... For dinner. Heh. It looks like Sandy and Natalia were doing the same thing. Woops.

James' quail is a good idea. The noodles give texture and the quail gives it flavor. Marc's breast was a little dry, and the rest of the plate was small

Natalia's quail is an entree, but she's not getting much flavor from the sesame oil. She likes the wing bone, but the judges think that it could've done better without.

Sandy's quail looks and sounds like Natalia's. The noodles have flavor depth, and the quail is perfectly cooked. He likes simple and clean flavors.

Two of these dishes are the same. One is half a portion. Who'll feel the sting of the Chopping Block next? The next person... to be chopped... is... SANDY. He showed simplicity and competence, but he lacks creativity.

Round 2: ENTREE (30 minutes). Right where you want to be... and standing between you and another $10,000.... are baby kiwi, Israeli couscous, rice paper, and saffron.

Someone's going to survive at the end of 30 minutes... Off you go!

Natalia: Baby Kiwi Sushi Roll
James: Tapioca Pudding with Kiwi Fruit Roll

Saffron... kills everything.

Natalia's trying to psych James out a little. Once again, James is overachieving with a pastry cream. Meanwhile, Natalia is keeping everything simple. James is complex. This could come down to the wire.

And James is staring at Natalia's stuff with a minute left. And he's nervous. Natalia's brittle is not coming up cracklin, so she decides to use it as a topping.

And... TIME. You've done all that you could. Now it's on the judges.

Natalia's kiwi sushi is tied with the cream, but the Creme Anglaise is undercooked.

James' saffron couscous pudding and the kiwi summer roll is refreshing. But there's a lack of clarity in the dish.

Natalia has kept it simple all competition long, while James has been more than ambitious. Both are very creative, but on the other hand, if it doesn't taste well, then you can keep your creativity.

Remember, the winner will come back next week to compete against another set of champions. So who is going to return for that chance to make ANOTHER $10,000?

The final person... to be chopped... is... NATALIA. She had a heck of an effort, but the first course let the crawfish down. She should be proud of the work she did.

But now it's about James, who is a two-time Chopped Championship with another $10,000, which will be put to good use as his baby is about to pop. More importantly, he will compete again next week against three more champions to determine who'll win another $10,00 and who'll be... Chopped. Stay tuned.

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