It's time once again to open up the chef
cage and let the animals run loose. Here are three boxes. Here's
$10,000. Who wants it?
Let's meet the chefs going for gold and
baker/pastry chef, The Bear Cafe in Woodstock, NY
New York City
chef & firefighter
chef, Fanny in Brooklyn
White Plains, NY
executive sous chef, Zanaro's
You know the rules, and you know the lifelines. Let's
meet the judges...
- Renegade restauranteur Chris Santos
- New wave Mexican superstar Sue Torres
- Dynamic American master Geoffrey Zakarian
Round 1: APPETIZER (20 minutes). First
down the line are... sake, grapes, and chicken wings.
Just 20 minutes on the clock... I'd get going if
I were you.
Linda: Sake-Glazed Wings with Grape Salad
John: Buffalo Chicken Wings with Grape & Sake Sauce
Lizzy: Soy-Sake Marinated Wings with Pickled Grapes
Justin: Citrus and Thyme Chicken Wings
You need at least 15 minutes to cook chicken
wings all the way to the bone. Anything less is an invitation to the chop. John
decides to fry with EVOO. That's not for frying chicken wings, my friend.
Linda... ends up changing her game... to...
Linda: Yogurt-Marinated Wings.
Lizzy gets her wings on the heat with 10 minutes.
John, meanwhile, is killing the wings. And now he's putting water in a boiling
pot of oil. BAD, JOHN! BAD! Justin, meanwhile, is keeping his wits about him.
Seems like he's the ONLY chef doing that. With a minute left to plate, it looks
like Justin may win this round, while the other chefs... panic.
And... TIME.... to panic, because someone's about
to get the *makes whooshing chop noise*.
Linda's grape salad works well, but the issue is
the chicken. The skin isn't crispy. Sue's chicken is especially raw. John's
chicken isn't cooked... AT ALL. Lots of things going for Lizzy's dish... but the
chicken still isn't cooked all the way. Justin's chicken... highlighted by the
sake vinaigrette... but you don't need those tips, because they're just sinew.
So we know Justin is safe. The question is.. who
isn't? Because honestly, this is a toss-up. We know that John cooked his dish
the LEAST, Linda a close second. But stranger things have happened in the
Chopped Kitchen. So who's the first to go? The first chicken to get their head
cut off on the Chopping Block... is... LINDA. Lots of missteps by everybody, but
Linda's chicken was determined to be the rawest of the raw.
Now that we got the taste of foul fowl out of our
mouths, who's up for...
Round 2: ENTREE (30 minutes). Kitchen
magic must be applied to... horseradish.. catfish... treviso... and Japanese
Half an hour to whip something up... from now.
Treviso is a red chicory which is very bitter,
but delicious if it's cooked just so.
John: Fried Catfish with Horseradish Potatoes Au
Lizzy: Pan-Seared Catfish with Sauteed Treviso
Justin: Tempura-Fried Catfish with Spicy Mayo
John seems to compose himself better in this
round. His biggest competition... classically-trained Justin, who can't find
cornstarch. So he improvises with flour with milk. Lizzy wants to hold her own,
though she forgets to core her treviso before she cooks it. BAD LIZZY. BAD! John
speculates he has seven minutes to cook his catfish. What a coincidence, you
have seven minutes on the clock. Justin's batter starts to go when he cuts into
the fish to plate it. That's bad. Lizzy's mayo... same deal. Not thick enough.
John's plate... has stuff on it.
And TIME. Next stop, the Chopping Block.
John's vegetables have a great flavor to them.
The whole plate, though, looks like a trainwreck. Lizzy's plate is colorful, but
the arugula... is repetitive. And the inedible treviso core is... inedible. The
eggplant and the treviso on Justin's plate are very tender. The batter on the
fish is a little thick. It's a little bready and eggy.
So is it crust... or inedible treviso core.... or
just a heavy-handed hammer that's going to get the chop? Tell you what,
though... Take John's fish, Justin's veg, and Lizzy's creative plating, and
that's a plate right there. The next person to get gutted by the Chopping
Block... is... LIZZY. They couldn't overlook the eggplant stem and the treviso
core. Too many flavors.
Round 3: DESSERT (30 minutes). Now it all
comes down to these final boxes, and within them... cherry tomatoes, silken
tofu, ginger snaps, and cocoa nibs.
This ought to be an interesting half-hour. BEGIN!
John: ... we still don't know.
Justin: Tofu Ginger Snap Genoise
These ingredients level the playing field. You
have the nibs, which are cocoa beans after roasting and shelling. they can be
very bitter if you don't work them properly.
Justin has to start over after his simple syrup
burns. John, meanwhile... is basically flying blind, trying whatever he can
think of and hoping it'll stick. Half of his time is gone. Oops, make that
two-thirds of his time. Ultimately, John comes up with...
John: Tofu Parfait Soup with Ricotta Cheese
Justin starts plating. John starts plating... One
of these plates is worth $10,000... and the other isn't worth the china it's
being served on...
And it's TIME to find out which is which.
Justin's cake is a winner, but the candied
tomatoes are far too sweet. John's soup surprisingly is well balanced and goes
down as such. Justin says he cooks with heart and passion, and that his meal
progressed. John says he progressed further than Justin... right after he makes
the all-too-familiar bus analogy.
Justin has been a bit safer than John throughout
the whole meal, but Justin has always performed better than his competition.
John was ambitious and creative throughout the match. In the end, though, it's
the classic question... if you create and you fail, are you creative or are you
The final person... to be chopped... is.... JOHN!
He did a tremendous job all day... but he can't cook chicken wings.
... and the same can't be said for Justin, who
proved that he can cook whatever is in front of him, winning $10,000 and the
title of Chopped Champion.
Another chef will earn that title next week. The
other three... Chopped. That's just the rule, folks.
To see this episode in its
entirety, or to apply to be a contestant on "Chopped", visit the
official website at