Chopped Up: Ted’s All-Star Recap, Round Two

by in Shows, March 13th, 2011
Ted weighs in on Round Two's star-studded lineup.

Now that’s competitive cooking! There’s a reason Anne Burrell, Robert Irvine, Claire Robinson and Duff Goldman are long-standing Food Network stars— these chefs accomplished more in 20 minutes than most people could do with an entire day.

The competition between Worst Cooks in America co-hosts Anne Burrell and Robert Irvine was neck-and-neck throughout the three rounds, and Anne just barely nosed out ahead of Robert in a photo finish to win a spot in the April 3 finale, where she’ll continue her fight for $50,000 for the charity of her choice, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.

There’s no time for a warm-up on Chopped All-Stars, and right out of the gate, the contestants were presented with a basket that judge Alex Guarnaschelli aptly labeled “a total act of cruelty.” Notable culprit, of course: that canned haggis (collective shudder), which chefs and judges agreed had an aroma vaguely reminiscent of dog food. But somehow, all four All-Stars managed to use the stuff to create something that, judging from the empty plates on the judges’ table, was actually tasty. Unfortunately for all of us, who naturally wanted to see what pyrotechnics Duff might come up with in the dessert round, his flavors and technique weren’t enough to get him past round one.

The chefs were less than thrilled to find canned haggis in their baskets.

In round two, the entrée course, everyone was delighted to see a familiar and succulent protein, venison, in the basket. Not so much the red seaweed known as dulse. And if you thought Robert looked a little frazzled by the unfamiliar ocean vegetable, it was Chopped’s cramped quarters and tiny counter space that threw Food Network’s most muscular star for a loop. That difficulty cost Robert the carrot component when he knocked it onto the floor, but somehow he was still able to pull out an entrée that so wowed the judges they had nothing bad to say about it. And when Claire found herself returning her venison to the pan with only a minute left on the clock, it was clear she wasn’t going to get her plates done.

And then there were two.

Robert and Anne came at it like like gladiators in the dessert round. They both turned out desserts with lots of components and the sheer number of ingredients and techniques used in their dishes had to have been a Chopped record. After the judges tasted, deliberation got a bit heated; with contestants of this caliber, every little detail counts even more than usual. And so, while both chefs turned out great contenders, the judges felt that Robert’s was a little too rich and didn’t highlight the basket ingredients as well as Anne’s. Back on set at Worst Cooks, she’ll never let him hear the end of it!

Chopped All-Stars continues next Sunday at 9pm/8c with a third-round match-up of celebrity chefs from all over: Iron Chef veterans Nate Appleman and Beau MacMillan, renowned chef Anita Lo, and lovable chocolatier Jacques Torres. Don’t miss it!

Want more of Ted’s witty commentary? Follow @ChopTedAllen on Twitter.

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Comments (174)

  1. becky says:

    I've given the issue some thought: I think the reason Chef Robert is leading in the fan vote is simpy because he loses to Chef Anne. All things being equal, the numbers would be as well. I think they are equal in ability, drive, competitiveness and determination despite odds. The differences in the results are simply due to choices in motivation. In the Chopped competition, Chef Robert chose an aids for children in S Africa..while worthy, was distant and impersonal; while Chef Anne chose the Diabetes Foundation for Luke (who she has created and shared recipes for on her show), personal and close.
    As to the food? Chef Robert used the jelly beans as a condiment (an eliminator for many) and Chef
    Ann left silverskin near the bone (she was working with one eye…silverskin?..What silverskin?). They are equally outstanding in their realms. It is like, I think, the Worst Cooks competition: Chef Robert chose to illumine a dim bulb with the firm determination of a Marine Drill Instructor. Chef Anne chose to tame a strobe light with the heart of a teacher. They are both winners…and equally deserving of all future successes. They have earned their praise. My best to both.

    • Pennagirl says:

      Becky, is it not impersonal…he goes to church regularly and this is a missionary that he personally supports. You just don't like him. So she "creates" a Diabetes Foundation is that helps a really small group. She left the silverskin on BEFORE she burned her eye, not an excuse.

  2. Blah says:

    I think both Chef Anne and Chef Robert did an AWESOME job. They are both great chefs.
    They were enjoy themselves on Chopped, and I think that was what made me like both of them so much more.
    Good Job to both of them, And CONGRATS to Chef Anne!

    ~Blah :)

  3. Beth S. says:

    They didn't say anything about what anyone did with the teething biscuits in the episode on March 13th. I've watched it a couple times and they did not show what any of the four contestants did with the teething biscuits. Irritating.

  4. Bill says:

    I think in round one Michael should have been eliminated . He's rude and crude. The comment which they have since taken off, "I would kill a litter of puppies to win this." was horrifying. What kind of guy is this?Surely not the kind you want on a family TV show.

  5. Bertye says:

    I am an avid fan of Chopped and love watching it. However, I thought that Chef Irvine should have won the round. Chef Anne made an error that no experienced chef should ever make by not removing the skin from the vension. Ted clearly states at the beginning of the show that the chefs can use as little or as much of the ingredients as they want. If this is not the case then don't say it. It makes no sense to say and then penalize then for not doing so and saying "I could barley taste the Ingredient (whatever it happens to be.)" But I do love the show and try and not miss an episode.

  6. Qeew says:

    I think FN did a horrible job putting both Chef Robert and Chef Anne on the same show…they should of split them up! I honestly think Chef Robert should of won, Chef Anne did a mistake a amatuer would do…..that was the determining factor for Robert wining!! Oh well…I think Chef Robert is awesome and hope to be eating in his restaurant this summer!!! Go Chef Irvine!!!!

  7. Kevin says:

    I wish I was one of the judges for this show! Then I could actually have a real opinion about who did the bettter with their overall meal.

    Seriously, I think all four chefs created outstanding dishes. Each chef displayed a different style of presenting the secret ingredients for each course, compared to the first week, when each of the three chefs in the entree round prepared courses that were very similar. I don't know who I would have cast my vote for in the final round, because all the courses seemed outstanding. I have never seen an episode of Chopped before where all the courses were so different between each of the chefs. And I would offer an open invitation to any of those four chefs to prepare a meal for me!

    That episode was one of the best single hours of television that I have ever experienced!

  8. Susan says:

    What a great episode week 2 was, but what a horrible match-up. Food Network took probably three of the most popular chefs and pitted them against each other (Robert, Anne & Duff). It would have been so much better and caused more anticipation if they had separated these chefs and had one of them in each of the three weeks preceeding the finale, rather than all at once. Based on the judges comments, they really had to chop one of the best candidates who deserves to be in the final episode.

    Whoever is in charge of marketing should be questioned. The first week was anticlimactic, and then after seeing all of the great competitors last week, I am really only interested in watching one more of the episodes before the finale.

    • carolyn says:

      I agree about the match up especially with Anne and Robert. For me, Robert Irvine's dishes looked incredible and I consider myself to be very savvy with foods. He took the risk and stuffed the venison rather than doing the safety, ribs like Anne did were safe… Clearly, Roberts dishes not only looked for inviting and professional, but the risks he took were the ultimate. When he was chopped, I just wanted to stop watching the show. Which I have said to say. What is it with Food Network and their negative feeling about Chef Robert? All ofo his shows from Dinner Impossible to Restaurant Impossible to Worst Chefs are a success because of HIM and his personality! Don't you get it Food network? I am sick and sick of you rejecting the most innovative chef in the world…. I will be done watching any of your shows unless you br ing him back for another challenge in this competition. He was not judged correctly! Ugh, Yikes, sick of the politics… yes on a food network channel. done, done.

  9. ShanniMoon says:

    Oh please! Anne is a phenomenal chef~! Yes, she was trained by the Master Mario, but the woman can cook. So she's got bleached hair and a rock star attitude. Do you honestly KNOW how hard it is to be a woman chef in the restaurant biz? GO ANNE!!!!!!!

  10. Diana says:

    Was I the only one rooting for Chef Claire? Five ingredient Fix, genius show

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