Four talented chefs... But only one of them will
survive the entire dinner to win $10,000.
partner/pastry chef, Bona Vita Osteria
orig. Brownsville, TX
sous-chef, Nobu 57
New York City
executive chef, Flex Mussels
orig. Senegal, West Africa
chef owner, Boucarou Lounge
You know the rules, you know the lifelines, let's
meet the judges...
- Master of dynamic American cooking Geoffrey Zarkarian
- Master executive chef Alex Guaranschelli
- Captain of seafood chic and relative newbie of the Chopping Block, Josh Capon
Round 1: APPETIZER (20 minutes). First in
the mystery baskets are... nori... beef tenderloin... and maple syrup.
You have twenty minutes to put something
together... from now!
Adele: Espresso Crusted Beef with Ricotta Cream
PJ: Beef Carpaccio with Nori Puree
Michael: Tenderloin Medallions with Maple Glaze
Malik: Nori-Wrapped Tenderloin with Maple Reduction.
Nori, of course, is a seaweed that got caught in
a steamroller. You see it wrapping many a roll in a sushi bar. It's a little
acidic. Malik's got the judges alight with excitement and the chef-testants
running scared. PJ decides to 86 the carpaccio and instead do a beef tartare.
Michael's medallions are way too big... so he slices them down to carpaccio.
Adele soaks her nori in beef drippings.
Two minute warning! If you're not plating... you
may want to think about it.
... and TIME. Twenty minutes gone, and one of you
will follow shortly.
Adele got it together until the nori part. The
dish has a nice smokiness to it, but the sauce has a gluey consistency.
PJ has a beef tartare with nori aioli. It's very
imaginative, but Geoffrey's not a fan of the aioli.
Michael switched to a carpaccio-style beef with
maple glaze. The flavor profile is there. The beef isn't cut well, though.
Malik's scallion-skewered tenderloin strikes a
great balance in the dish all over. The dish, though, is a little cluttered.
So we have a few good dishes, but not without a
couple of missteps. For one dish, it just overwhelms. The first person... to be
chopped... is ADELE. The beef was heavy on the portion, the sauce was not a good
way to hide the maple syrup, and the nori just escaped her.
Round 2: ENTREE (30 minutes). Three
chefs... three baskets... In them.. broccoli rabe, crystallized ginger, 5-year
aged gouda, and mahi mahi.
How will you put these together in half an hour?
Love to find out. Let's go!
PJ: Pan-Seared Mahi-Mahi with Bean Puree
Michael: Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Gouda Salad
Malik: Gouda and Potatoe Crusted Mahi-Mahi
The ginger and the cheese are going to be tricky
to integrate into the fish. Malik is not cooking them for the judges. He's
cooking for the people watching. Halfway through the round, and it's way too
early for Michael to start grilling fish. As for PJ, he's just hoping to finish
At the five minute-mark, Michael decides to put
the ginger in with his salad, julienned. PJ is going another way with ginger
vinaigrette. Final minute, and it's time to plate. Michael still needs to pull
out his fish.
And... TIME! Everyone's up on their plates, but
the judges are ready to chop one down.
PJ's execution was nailed. The cheese was
cleverly hidden in the beans. Geoffrey thought it could have a little more zip.
Alex liked the balance. The size, though, is not an entree.
Michael's filet also suffers from size matters.
He wanted to knock the judges' socks off, and he impressed at least two of them.
The fish is completely cooked well, but... it's flat.
Malik's fish was creatively put away. The colors
actually work on this dish. The ginger, though, is inedible. It was a little
overwhelming with the heat and spice. And Malik won't shut up about it.
This is going to be a tough one. Malik seems very
confident. The judges liked Michael's entree a lot. Only Malik served a perfect
portion of a fish. That and the criticism that he gives AND takes may help... or
hurt him. PJ's dish was the least creative.
Can they agree on which chef needs to be chopped?
They do... and it doesn't look good... for... MALIK. He's very talented with
passion, but the ginger was not edible and the flavors were not sophisticated
enough. Before he leaves, though, the judges advise Malik to maybe include a
hint of humility. And in a Chopped first, instead of going out the right door,
he goes out the studio door, bag in hand.
So the drama.
Round 1: DESSERT (30 minutes). Welcome to
infinity. Inside your final baskets.... cherries, pumpernickel bread, curry
powder, and yuzu juice.
We're thirty away from a champion... off we go!
PJ: Chilled Cherry Soup with Curry Pain Perdu
Michael: Curried French Toaste with Yuzu and Cherry Compote
Yuzu is a Japanese citrus that is akin to a lime.
Both chefs are using it to integrate a batter into flavored pumpernickel. PJ is
thinking that his French toast is going to be better than Michael's. He
incorporates the cherry juice into a yogurt. Michael's looking for a color
element, chiffonading mint and incorporating. The judges think PJ is finessed.
Michael sauces his plate later... and both desserts are done with seconds to
... and TIME. This is for cash money.
Michael's presentation is colorful, and it
invites you in. For Alex, though, it's not sweet enough. She needs sugar to
weather the storm. Josh thinks that it's more of a brunch than a dessert.
PJ's soup is delicious and refreshing. The whole
cherries add a contrast, however, the soup is not really inviting
Now let's look at the dishes overall...
Michael's dessert had a real vivaciousness that made it a more focused dessert.
First round went to PJ overall, especially with Michael's "beef sunglasses".
Michael came back in the entree to tie it up. PJ went safe, safer, and sorta
safe, according to Geoffrey. Michael also grew tremendously from a piece of beef
that really should've been tossed.
This is going to come down to the end. The final
person... to be chopped... is... MICHAEL! Upset of upsets. This was a hard
decision for everyone, but the carpaccio was too much.
And so PJ not only gets to ask his girlfriend to
marry him, he's got the ten large to pay for a ring!
So as we wish a lifetime of happiness to PJ and
his fiancee, we're going to wish a lifetime of luck to four more chefs as they
enter the arena and hope that they can win 10 Gs by avoiding getting... CHOPPED.
To see this episode in its
entirety, or to apply to be a contestant on "Chopped", visit the
official website at