Season nine of the full throttle full course
dinner game ends with these four...
New York City
executive chef, Elsewhere and Casellula Cheese & Wine Cafe
executive chef at Georgetown
Napa Valley, CA
executive chef/owner, Neela's
executive chef, David Burke Fromagerie
Tonight on the panel.
- Cutting edge chef/restauranteur Zak
- Esteemed executive chef Alex Guarnaschelli
- Pasta perfectionists Scott Conant
Round 1: APPETIZER (20 minutes).
The first basket of the night has... duck confit, red cherry peppers, frozen
naan, and vanilla beans.
... and you have 20 minutes... and they start
Megan: Duck Rillette with Red Cherry
Al: Duck Confit Salad with Pickled Peppers.
Neela: Cherry Pepper Duck Masala
Larry: Composed Salad with Duck Confit
Duck confit is just thighs cooked in its
own rendered fat. Together, they taste like happy.
Megan's presentation is inviting and
well-thought through. Scott thought it was genius to make a rillette,
but it needed some fat or salt. Alex says that "you gotta get a little
street." Al's vanilla is not overbearing, but the entire dish is a
little sloppy. But it's a nice simple salad. Neela's presentation leaves
something to be desired, but there is not one superfluous flavor on the
dish. It's delicious. Larry's dish is something that could easily be
gotten, as Scott would say, at a fast casual restaurant.
Presentation is one of the three judging
aspects, and in that, Neela has a disadvantage. Will her flavors make up
for it? The first person... to be chopped... is... LARRY. Everyone did
well in the first round, but Larry's dish is the least cohesive. Ironic
for being a composed salad.
Round 2: ENTREE (30 minutes).
One down, two to go. Next on the menu... Duck
breast, champagne mango, morel mushroom, and ranch dressing.
Yes, duck again. Half an hour, get your duck,
quack quack, Anaheim for the win.
Megan: Juniper Berry & Cardamom Spiced Duck
Al: Pan-Roasted Duck Breast with Duck Fat Home Fries
Neela: Pan-Roasted Duck Breast with Morel Kitchery
Second duck course. Must be Duck Day at
the Chopped Kitchen. The duck breast is more pronounced in flavor. The
monkey wrench in this round... the ranch dressing.
Al's dish scared the panel with a
mango-ranch sauce. The skin wins, but it has more than a tablespoon of
duck blood. Neela's dish comes with a side of mango chutney. The duck is
perfect, but it has a lot of blood on the plate. The rice is undercooked
and becomes a little gluey. Megan's dish is visually appealing, but the
puree doesn't belong. Scott's duck is undercooked.
Neela's dish felt forced, while Al
whipped up (literally) a surprise. Megan, though, undercooks the duck. The next chef... to be
chopped... is... MEGAN. It wasn't an easy round for anyone, but the duck
was undercooked, and the integration was disjointed.
Round 3: DESSERT (30 minutes).
Is there a duck item in the box today? .... We have chocolate chips, chestnuts,
dried strawberries, and... DUCK EGGS!
We're half-an-hour away from a big money moment.
Time to get quacking!
Al: Caramel Chestnut Puree with Chocolate
Neela: Chocolate Mousse with Strawberry Sauce
A confirmed theme now. Duck eggs are
larger and richer than chicken eggs.
The clock is proving to be Neela's worst
enemy. Neela's really hoping that those custards set. If they don't,
it's all but over. Al, meanwhile, is feeling good about his separate
components, and he's plating with 10 minutes left.
Neela enriched the chocolate with the
yolk, and used the white to enhance the texture. But it's a little bit
too sweet. Al's dessert is a real winner, as Alex sees the energy that
he expounded on the plate. It's well balanced and well composed.
Now the question in this three-course
duck dinner... who made the better food all the way through? Neela
survived, but had a few errors. Al took some risks and came up trumps,
but in the end, came up cliche as well.
The final chef... to be chopped... is...
AL. Unfortunately, his appetizer had tomatoes that didn't belong and
that entree didn't belong on this planet.
And consistency pays off for NEELA PANIZ,
who earns sweet vindication as a chef and a $10,000 payday, you lucky
That will do it for season 9 of the show,
but if I know Food Network like I think I know Food Network, season 10
could be on its way as soon as this week. Stay tuned to see who gets
paid... and who gets CHOPPED.
extras from this episode, or to apply to be a contestant on "Chopped", visit the
official website at