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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

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Duck for Dinner

Season nine of the full throttle full course dinner game ends with these four...
Megan Johnson
New York City
executive chef, Elsewhere and Casellula Cheese & Wine Cafe
Al Nappo
Washington, DC
executive chef at Georgetown
Neela Paniz
Napa Valley, CA
executive chef/owner, Neela's
Larry Baldwin
Rumson, NJ
executive chef, David Burke Fromagerie

Tonight on the panel.

- Cutting edge chef/restauranteur Zak Pelaccio
- 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 now.

Megan: Duck Rillette with Red Cherry Pepper Jam
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 Breast
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 Zabaglione
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 duck you.

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.

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