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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
Airs 10p Tues, Food

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Time & Space
October 4

It's about to begin again. Four more cheftestants, three more baskets, and $10,000 to the one who can avoid having Ted Allen say with no feeling or malice... "You've been chopped."
Ronnie Vincent
executive sous-chef at Joe's Stone Crab
Helen Park
New York City
corporate executive chef
Ryan Goergen
orig. Minnesota
executive chef in NYC
Van Dao
San Francisco (orig. Niceville, FL)
owner/pastry chef, Biscuit Bender

Tonight's judges...

- Trend-setting restauranteur chef Chris Santos
- New American superstar chef Amanda Freitag
- Modern Italian chef Scott Conant

Round 1: APPETIZER (20 minutes). The first box of season 9 has... Izote flowers, smoked butter, rhubarb, and... a whole chicken in a can.

And time... starts .... *checks watch*... did I mention that was chicken in a canNOW!

Ronnie: Sauteed Chicken Salad with Basil & Izote Flower Vinaigrette
Helen: Creamy Chicken Soup
Ryan: Crispy Pan-Fried Chicken Salad
Van: Crunchy Rhubarb Salad with Warm Chicken Salad

Izote flower is the flower of the yucca plant, pickled and preserved. Chicken in a can is... exactly what it says on the tin. Meanwhile, Helen just lit a fire about something. No big, though.

Van sauteed the Izote for a unifying element. Chris likes the rhubarb salad, but the salads are like two different salads that don't really belong together. Amanda likes the texture of Ryan's salad, though it is straight-forward. A little too much so. Helen's soup is not cream of chicken. It's light broth with a touch of cream... and a bone. But the mushroom topping works. Ronnie's chicken salad had a great vinaigrette. The chicken's flavor is amazing, but no one's going to eat the raw onion. And again, someone has to have a bone in theirs... and it wasn't "restaurant quality."

There are only three boxes in the entree round. The first chef... to be chopped...  is... VAN. The taste was there, but it didn't come together into one dish.

Round 2: ENTREE (30 minutes). One down, two to go. Next on the menu... yellow miso... pork shoulder... mountain yam... and astronaut ice cream.

Strange, isn't it? Food isn't going to cook itself.

Ronnie: Spiced Pork Shoulder
Helen: Grilled Pork with Miso Sauce
Ryan: Miso Braised Pork

"Astronaut ice cream" was created in 1968 and used in ONE mission, Apollo 7, and never again. And yet 50 years later in 2011, they still make it. Go figure. Helen uses it to make a base for her miso sauce.

Meanwhile, Ryan doesn't know what to do with mountain yam. He proceeds to puree it and... we have another fire... Ronnie.

Ryan makes his yam into slaw with the ice cream and Granny Smith apples. The flavors in the pork were well incorporated. The ice cream... not so much. Helen's sauce actually was done well, but it clashed with the mustard marinade. The salad served with the grill was top notch. Ronnie's pork is perfect, but it probably matches up to Helen's dish. The curry and the ice cream... and the coconut... worked with the sauce. The potato AND mountain yam... also worked. Presentation, though, is lacking.

The next person... to be chopped... is... RYAN. It was a giant step backwards.

Round 3: DESSERT (30 minutes). And this is where success pays. Ronnie and Helen are now one basket away from $10,000. In said basket... margarita mix, quick cook grits, marionberry preserves, and vanilla yogurt.

Good luck, chefs... and GO!

Ronnie: Creamy Grits with Marionberry Compote
Helen: Marionberry Sauce with Ginger.

... but what is Helen going to make that sauce WITH? How about... a grits roulade? Meanwhile, Ronnie needs a hit of surprise, so he adds condensed milk to his grits and rum to his whipped cream.

Helen ended up with a Berry & Grits Roulade with Lime & Yogurt Sauce. It's really creative, but the middle is soggy. And it could stand to be a little sweeter. On the flip, Ronnie's dessert could stand to be a little less sweet. But it hits all the marks.

We've saved the hardest decision for last. On the one hand, Ronnie grew from being nervous to being a sharp-shooter, but did he overshoot it? Helen did more or less the same. The same approach... two different meals. Both started sloppy, ended on a high.

Unfortunately for one player, there's only one check for $10,000. The final chef... to be chopped... is...  RONNIE. He nailed the first course and the second, but he never got past the points for presentation.

And that means that today, Helen Park is the season's first Chopped Champion! That gives her a nice payday, $10,000 for three dishes.

So who's next to bring it home? Find out next week when four more chefs compete in three more rounds. One of them will get paid. 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