Four chefs... One will
convert mystery ingredients into the taste of victory. The other three
will get the chop. Let's say hey to the players...
New York City
executive chef, City Winery
New York City (orig. South Carolina)
private chef & model
restauranteur, Farm 2 Bistro
Toms River, NJ
chef/owner, Bistro 44
You know the rules, and you know the lifelines. Let's
meet the judges...
- Latin cuisine authority Aaron Sanchez
- Fine dining expert back after an extended absence on "NIC" Amanda Freitag
- "How to Cook Everything" author and "Chopped" newbie Mark Bittman
Round 1: APPETIZER (20 minutes). Our first
course must feature...bittersweet chocolate, haba˝ero chiles, and fresh
Your 20 starts now.
Andres: Grilled Sardines with Salsa
Laurielle: Pan-Fried Sardines with Chickpea Salad
Michael: Sardine & Tomato Provenšal
Erik: Sardine Salad with Chocolate Vinaigrette
Fresh sardines are mild and delicious.
Canned sardines are fishy and just terrible. With 15 minutes, Erik's
pans aren't heating, while Laurielle is going for heat. Erik's hoping
that his habanero salsa as a garnish goes over well with the judges.
Michael's provenšal is a good idea, but with five on the clock, no one
is ready as of yet. And Andres.... He hasn't even popped open his
chocolate. Michael and Erik go the vinaigrette route. Laurielle is
plating. She decides to use the chocolate as a garnish for the plate.
Almost a copout, but let's see what happens.
... and TIME. Michael and Erik's plates
are identical. This could be interesting.
Andres' dish is garnished with pico de gallo and
Peruvian potatoes. The grill gives it a lot of earthiness. Mark wanted to feel
more of the chocolate.
Laurielle's dish has a habanero citrus zest. The
fish is nice, but is the chocolate for decoration or to eat? Aaron wants to see
Michael's and Erik's dishes. Nearly identical.
The chocolate is the star in the plate, but the tomatoes don't bring anything to
Michael's dish. Aaron wanted olives and capers. Erik's dish... a lot of love
went into the sardines. A lot of flavor came out of it. The vinaigrette is
silky, but Amanda's missing onions and peppers.
So the first round will be decided on creativity
as the fish gets a lot of raves. Andres impresses. Laurielle and Michael
disappoint. But who's going to get the knife first? The first person... to be
chopped... is... MICHAEL. The vinaigrette was good, but the provenšal mixture
Round 2: ENTREE (30 minutes). Time for
celebration is over. Time for lamb loin chops, strawberries, celery root, and
Swiss cheese is nigh...
... and time starts now.
Andres: Pan-Seared Lamb Chops
Laurielle: Spice Rubbed Grilled Lamb with Strawberry Gastrique
Erik: Cocoa-Dusted Lamb Chops
The lamb chops have a little tail.
There's a lot of fat and flavor there, but if you leave too much of it,
there's just a lot of fat and connective tissues.
Andres is adding celery root three ways.
Celery root is similar to potato in texture, but it has that celery
Halfway in, everyone's going the puree
route. Andres' is not going to congeal. Erik is going to try to add the
cheese to his. Laurielle... a little bit of chicken stock to loosen it
up. Andres decides to change his puree into a sauce. Andres' lamb isn't
searing, so it goes to the oven.
Minute to win it, folks. And... Laurielle
missed a plate. Can she get it in time? And... TIME! And Andres and
Laurielle's dish are identical. WOW.
Laurielle's lamb flavors are perfect. The
colors are perfect, but the puree is lost.
Erik's puree: "feathery and velvety". But
you want different things... and chocolate was in two different courses.
Mark doesn't have a problem with the cocoa, as it adds color. Amanda
wanted the tail trimmed a little bit.
Andres' three ways are a chip, a sauce,
and a salad with the celery root. It's well executed. The lamb,
though... is lacking the sear.
So we're missing a sear, we have a
redundancy of ingredients, and Laurielle's puree is lost. One of these
is a $10,000 mistake. The next person to be chopped... is... ANDRES.
Laurielle misses it by that much. He was ambitious, but the lamb did not
have a sear and the dish didn't really come together.
Round 3: DESSERT (30 minutes). It's
heads-up on Chopped. Between Laurielle and Erik are... corn tortillas, violet
mustard, blueberries, and dried chipotle peppers.
We're 30 from a champion... Let's go!
Laurielle: Open Faced Cannoli with Violet Mustard
Cream and Blueberry Compote
Erik: Chocolate Orange Mousse Napoleon
No one knows what violet mustard is. It's
basically cooked-down grape juice with mustard. Other than that, this can be
classified as "cruel and unusual punishment." You have to give tortillas a nice
toast, because they're really raw.
Erik has a lot of experience, but Laurielle is
going to give him a run for his money. The experts think that chipotles are not
to be trifled with in a dessert dish. Laurielle and Erik are both whipping
cream, Erik with a machine, Laurielle by hand. Erik's going to hope it chills as
he has the time to get it in the fridge.
Laurielle's stacking her tortillas. With a minute
to go, Erik is making his dessert. Will Chocolate Thunder come through in the
And... TIME! For the last time today, whatever is
on the plate is in play.
Erik has delivered on his promise of
chocolate. The elements work together, but the tortilla is very chewy.
Laurielle struck gold. Her tortillas are
crispy, but hard to eat. Laurielle was going with sexy, but it really
looks like a mess.
And now, let's go across the board. Erik won over
Laurielle in the entree and the appetizer. Both tanked on the tortilla, but Erik
was a little more intriguing throughout. Laurielle was much more restrained in
her use of the ingredients. One of these approaches today... is worth $10,000.
The final person... to be chopped... is...
LAURIELLE! She brought style to the kitchen, but we also needed some substance.
Erik had both style AND substance, as he takes
the crown as this week's Chopped Champion and winner of $10,000.
He can rest, but four more chefs are waiting in
the wings for their shot at 10 large, little knowing that three of them will...
To see this episode in its
entirety, or to apply to be a contestant on "Chopped", visit the
official website at