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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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Season's Chopping
December 8

It's the most wonderful time of the year, and four chefs would love nothing more than to stuff their stockings full of $10,000. First, though, they have to survive three rounds of Christmas dinner.
Megan Fells
Poughkeepsie, NY
chef/restaurateur, The Artist's Palate
"new ideas"
Keith Geter
New York City
chef, Artisanal
Jon Bignelli
New York City
sous-chef, wd50
New American
Jason Tilmann
New York City
executive chef, NYY Steak

You think you know the rules, and you may know the lifelines, but this promises to be anything BUT your standard day at the park, because Ted and company have a few wrinkles to add. First of which, your entire meal has to be holiday themed.

Let's meet the judges...

- Latin expert Aaron Sanchez
- Master executive chef Alex Guarnaschelli
- Italian maestro Scott Conant

Round 1: APPETIZER (20 minutes). And because we live to give around the holidays, here are your first presents... venison tenderloin, quince, and egg nog.

All three of those have to be in your appetizer... in 20 minutes... from NOW.

Megan: Roasted Venison with Quince Chutney
Keith: Pan-Seared Venison with Egg Nog Emulsion
Jon: Venison Tartare with Egg Nog & Quince Puree
Jason: Cinnamon-Scented Venison with Quince Puree

Venison is easily coaxed with some additions of flavor and essence. A quince is really tart. A good idea would be to pair the quince and the nog together. The eggnog, though, is very cloyingly sweet. You have to soften that up.

Jason went from 300 pounds to 180, and that makes him a driven individual. It also makes him a very vocal individual. Much to Alex's dismay. If that wasn't enough for you, Keith's blender is apparently possessed.

Three minutes left on the clock, and Jason has his puree on a plate... and Jon has Jason blender in his hands. Megan's got her plating done with a minute left.

And... TIME! I saw three chefs come to the next round... That doesn't leave room for whoever loses THIS one.

Megan wins Scott over with the juniper in the venison. Alex's spices are a little coarse, though. It ends up tasting like potpourri. Aaron has to LOOK for the egg nog.

Keith's choice of marjoram with the eggnog was very smart. The spice is a little assertive, but the judges like the doneness of his meat.

Jon's tartare was a bold choice. That and the puree were very smart. But he admits to the judges that he didn't empty the blender before he took it, so it's a question of whether we're tasting his puree or Jason's.

Jason's puree is velvety, and it goes well with the meat. And once again, Scott demands respect at the Chopping Block. Just so he knows, though... the two purees taste different.

So the first round is over, and Jon and Jason are anything BUT in a jolly mood. Keith's meat was a little too crusty. Jason couldn't accept that his venison was oversalted. Jon's bravery is to be commended. And Megan... well, she had rolled potpourri.

So who's dish is on the Chopping Block first? The first person... to be chopped... is... MEGAN. There was a technical flaw with the quince being underdone and the eggnog being absent.

And Jason has to get a word in edgewise. Save it for the next round, big mouth. You're going to need it because...

Round 2: ENTREE (45 minutes). ... You are reading correctly. Forty-five minutes to create something from... kale, rutabaga, marshmallows, and a 12-pound turkey.

And your extra time... starts NOW!

Keith: Turkey with Marshmallow Stuffing & Rutabaga Hash
Jon: Pan-Roasted Turkey with Braised Kale & Gravy
Jason: Turkey with Rutabaga Puree & Sauteed Kale

A lot of time, a lot of options. the turkey has to be roasted. It has to have a great skin on it to remind the judges of a great holiday dinner.

Jason says that he swears that he's not here to cause problems, just win money to get mom to Florida. Jason decides to make bacon for his kale, while Keith decides to pound out his turkey. Jon's just worried that his kale is going to be tough and stringy. Jason's turkey... raw on the inside.

Two minute warning. Keith is making a kale pistou, and with that, a roasted marshmallow. Jason's turkeys... cooked. It means nothing if it isn't plated.... NOW.

Ketih's plate has strings on it. Woops. The rutabaga has a great flavor, and the marshmallow takes Scott back, but the filling was like "overcooked ravioli filling".

Jon's puree brings the plate together. The kale is also the star on the dish. The presentation could've been a lot better, though.

Jason's duo of turkey has a fantastic puree. He also reflects himself the competitor in light and dark meat on the plate together. But the chefs don't get enough kale, and the bacon overshadows everything on the plate.

And Jason and Jon swear that everything is cool. All three entrees had some great qualities. Aaron thought Keith was the most creative of the group. Jon had a sleeper dish, very straightforward, had a lot of depth, but missing a few elements. Jason's bacon was so unnecessary.

This is going to be a little tricky, but the second person... to be chopped... is... JASON. Scott says that this is not personal. The bacon was overwhelming.

Round 3: DESSERT (30 minutes). O little box of ingredients, how still we see thee lie. That'll change quickly. Inside... garnet yams, brie, sparkling wine, and cranberry.

Thirty minutes to one dessert... Get going!

Keith: Sparking Cranberry Soup with Yam & Brie Tower
Jon: French Toast Sandwich

Garnet yams are usually a side dish. They'll make a great dessert, but what will you do with brie? Keith has a cheese background. Can he turn it into something fabulous?

Both chefs are basically winging it, but Jon is winging it with a cranberry smoothie sauce. Neither chef is a pastry chef. Halfway in, and Jon thinks that his French toast will hold true to the holiday spirit. The judges think that dessert will be "the lasting memory of the holidays". Keith's dish is very vibrant. Jon... is looking for something with 38 seconds to go. in the holiday spirit, Keith allows some of his nuts to go over to Jon's side.

And... TIME! This anything but silent night is going to end very richly for one of these two.

Jon's toast brings out the whimsy of the holidays. The French toast is almost like a cheesecake, but it's very savory. There's no real counterpoint to the dish.

Keith's soup is appreciative in the way he attacked the ingredients. The cheese, though, is assertive. Keith wanted it big. It's a lot to take in.

So now we're going to look at the desserts, but also the overall progression of the meal. Does it invoke that gingerbread and holly feeling. Jon's dish was familiar to him. The judges weren't crazy about the yogurt and cranberry. Keith's dessert was a little overwhelming. Scott says, "Neither of those desserts were correct." Jon though outside the box in the app round, while Keith's entree was tops all around. This is going to be a close one. We have Keith's holiday bling versus Jon's holiday at home.

One of you is $10,000 richer... The final person... to be chopped... is.... KEITH. On one hand, he had spectacular moments, but the problem was execution, and the flavors didn't gel with each other.

It's going to be a merry Christmas indeed for Jon Bignelli, who takes away a check for $10,000 cash money.

We hope you have a great time watching this special seasonal battle, and we hope you have a very very happy holiday, and through the new year, may you never have to be... chopped.

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