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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 Notional Productions for Food Network
Origins Food Network Studios, New York City
Web foodnetwork.com/chopped
Airs 10p Tues, Food
Available
HIGH DEFINITION
ON DEMAND
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@Chopped
TWITTER
#Chopped

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Grand Finale
September 27

They came... they saw... they conquered the Chopping Block for $10,000... and then they came back and did it again. But in an epic battle for $50,000... only one will be left standing. The other three will experience what it's like to be chopped for the first time.
 
Wade Burch
executive chef from Texas
Alan Harding
chef
Danielle Saunders
private chef
Lauren Gerrie
caterer and dancer from New York

As a point to make, the winner of each heat came out of Kitchen #4. But stranger things have happened, so don't write that check to Lauren just yet.

On the panel for this $50,000 match...

- Latin wizard Aaron Sanchez
- Superstar executive chef Alex Guarnaschelli
- New York restauranteur Marc Murphy

Round 1: APPETIZER (20 minutes). On the menu today for round 1 are... catfish, daikon, cherry soda, and boiled peanuts

Who wants 20 minutes? I got'em. You got a dish?

Wade: Cornmeal Fried Catfish
Alan: Bahn Mi Salad
Danielle: Cajun Dusted Catfish
Lauren: Coconut-Poached Catfish

Alan and Lauren are proceeding with blending the peanuts without shelling the peanuts. Could be a major misstep. Alan is also undercooking her fish. The players need to send the right message with these appetizers or else the judges will send you on your way.

Lauren's cola foam is pretty. The daikon goes well with apple. The catfish is tender, but the judges are getting shell with the peanut sauce. Danielle's serving her catfish with a salad with cherry vinaigrette. The judges love the dish, but they just want more of the dressing, and it's a little too safe. Alan has a spice-crusted catfish. The peanut sauce is a lot better than Lauren's. The fish is very spicy, but it's a little bit on the raw side. Wade's catfish is perfect, and the daikon-apple fusion. But there is little to no peanut in the sauce, and the choice of fried catfish is a little safe.

The first chef... to be chopped... and to lose their shot at $50,000... is... ALAN. He had creative choices, but the catfish is undercooked.

Round 2: ENTREE (30 minutes). For our survivors, we have these ingredients... kettle corn, chayote, apple sauce, and roasted suckling pig.

... and time starts now.

Wade: Pulled Bork with BBQ Sauce
Danielle: Suckling Pig & Chayote Ravioli
Lauren: Chilaquiles

Chayotes... hurt. Lauren is going to use those as a salsa verde.

Danielle had to cook it up a notch creatively. She tried to pull of a traditional French red wine cream sauce with the ravioli... Nope. Wrong. There is no traditional red wine sauce with a ravioli with pig... but the dish works. Wade made a sandwich with latkes instead of bread. The pork is addictive. But the sweet potato cake is too sweet, and the chayote and apple sauce are not as woven together. Lauren has also done pulled pork .. with a shot of tequila. The apple sauce goes well with the pork. She's taken risks creatively, but Aaron gives her the business on the tortilla.

The next person... to be chopped... and will not compete for $50,000... is... WADE. He simply wasn't creative enough, and the dish itself was not interwoven enough.

Round 3: DESSERT (30 minutes). Okay, we are at the precipice... It's time to turn araucana eggs, bread flour, turbinado sugar, and goat's milk into money.

We're 30 from a $50,000 dessert. LET'S GO!

Danielle: Buttermilk Spoon Cake
Lauren: Cornmeal Parfait

Let's see... eggs, milk, flour, sugar. It's almost screaming "Bake me!" Lauren... isn't going down the easy path, while Danielle is putting all of her eggs in one basket. Lauren decides to change gears from a whole fried egg to an egg yolk.

And... You've done all you can do in this tournament.

Lauren's cornmeal parfait pushes the envelope creatively. There's a pleasant creaminess that is real fun. But the taste Alex is left in her mouth is pure egg. Danielle has a rum-spiked berry sauce and mascarpone cream with her cake. It is flawless. It is obvious.

Lauren has been nothing short of creative, but she's had a few missteps along the way. Danielle has been safe all day long with the exception of an exceptional entree. So will they go with the safe route and the better taste... or the creative daring route with a few missteps?

One of these women has just won $50,000...

The final chef... to be chopped... in this inaugural tournament of champions... is...  LAUREN! She just couldn't use her creativity to her advantage.

And DANIELLE SAUNDERS IS THE FIRST CHOPPED GRAND CHAMPION, and with that... comes a check for $50,000! And here to share in the moment, her friends and family

We'll be back with more mystery boxes and more hungry competitors in the weeks to come, knowing that in one week, one of them will win money. The others.... will get chopped.

To see extras from this episode, or to apply to be a contestant on "Chopped", visit the official website at www.foodnetwork.com/chopped