The Other Side of the Chopping Block: One Chopped Judge Moves On, Three Say Goodbye

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, April 30th, 2012

chopped judges
Last night we watched one of the most anticipated Chopped All-Stars episodes of the series. Four Chopped judges — Alex Guarnaschelli, Marcus Samuelsson, Marc Murphy and Chris Santos — took their place on the Chopping Block to compete for the fourth and final spot in the finale and $50,000 for their charity.

If you missed the show and recorded it, don’t read any further — we’re about to break down the episode, divulge the winner and chat with the runner-up.

The baskets:
Appetizer: potato pancakes, purple kohlrabi, Korean melon and goat brains
Entrée: rack of Berkshire pork, kusa, grape molasses and preserved duck eggs
Dessert: cake flour, farmers’ cheese, baby beets and cola

Elimination details:
First round: Chris Santos
Second round: Marc Murphy
Final round: Alex Guarnaschelli
Winner: Marcus Samuelsson

You’re a chef by nature. So which side of the Chopping Block do you prefer (judge or contestant)?
Honestly, I like both. I think it’s very important to have the perspective of both sides of the table. Cooking on Chopped is a very humbling experience. So is becoming a chef. What looks so easy when you’re at home watching is so much harder in real life. I highly recommend experiencing both sides of the Chopping Block.

alex guarnaschelliIn the appetizer round, you said your dish was, “A tribute to every bite of acidity that I’ve missed sitting there as a judge.” What’s the most common problem you see as a judge in a dish?
The most common problem is that everyone has great ideas, but there’s not enough time with the clock. Twenty minutes is so tough — 30 isn’t much better. If the clock weren’t there, there would be few technical issues. But then it wouldn’t be Chopped.

What was it like being judged by Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian when you’re his sous chef on Iron Chef America?
Geoffrey is a very objective judge who doesn’t allow himself to be clouded by personal relationships. I felt great about it.

Geoffrey was worried that when you added the water to the pork that it was going to toughen the meat. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of that.
I was trying to avoid being chopped and for that, all the rules go out the window. Luckily, my meat was cooked.

You’ve done Chopped All-Stars twice now. Is the third time a charm for you?
That remains to be seen in the future. It’s a privilege to be a part of a show that showcases the talents of up-and-coming chefs. I encourage everyone to take the risk of being chopped.

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Comments (119)

  1. Mizalice says:

    So very happy that Penny is gone. I was happy when she didn't win Food Network Star, it shocked me to see her on Chopped All Stars. She is self-centered, abrasive and needs to learn humility. To say that Amanda doesn't know about using Saffron as she was leaving the show just proves that she thinks she is so much better than everyone else, even a Chopped judge. WOW! I watch Food Network 4-5 days of the week, but if she ever gets a show on the network, I will find other networks to watch.

  2. lori says:

    Please Please Please Food Network- Don't Give Penny Her Own Show!!!! She's such a disappointment with her lack of grace and humility. She was NOT about her charity, she plugged HERSELF at every opportunity, it was beyond sickening that she put herself above her charity; this only showed her True Colors!!! She was not "painted" as the villain, she only proves thru her behavior and attitude that she actually IS the villain!! I will Never watch Food Network (my favorite channel) again if Penny is put on TV! What would her show be about? 30 minutes of talking about herself….No Thank You!

  3. Donna says:

    My apologies. I forgot to recognize Chef Nate Appleman as an All Star Grand Champion, who is White. He won last year. Evenso, my comment in response to 'Disappointed' is no less valid.

  4. Gigi says:

    I too was disappointed that Michael Symon was chopped. I was livid when Penny claimed "bragging rights" as if she beat him! Michael beat Michael by forgetting the ingredient. Penny is the most sahllow, unlikable, mean spirited person I have ever seen on the FoodNetwork. You do us all a disservice by promoting her nastyness. Her cooking is a one trick pony – Middle East PERIOD! I certainly hope FoodNetwork takes the high road and kicks her to the curb. She is certainly not someone I would want my grandaughter to relate to.

  5. christie says:

    I applied to be on chopped and haven't heard anything back yet. Does anyone know how long it takes to hear anything back? Inquiring minds want to know. My name is Chiristie Katona.

  6. thelma says:

    Who's Penny? Is she on Next Food Network Star?

  7. Velvet says:

    I love watching chopped and before it became famous, I was watching even then. I love Marcus!!! He's the chef that I feel is a "beast" in the kitchen!! Alex and Marcus and Mark are REAL chefs however, Chris Santos is a horrible cook, that weak uneventful entree he made should have been throwed at him, and then they should have placed him in the corner with a "dunce" hat on!!! Just not m favorite judge nor chef, not sure why he's a judge, his dad must be one of the show executive.

  8. Velvet says:

    I love when women represent in the kitchen, but my MONEY is on Marcus Samuleson!!!!!!! I love his style and the oly chef I feel that would give him a run for is money would be Geoffrey!!!!! Love that dude!!!!!

  9. Velvet says:

    I love when women represent in the kitchen, but Marcus is going to win!!!!!!

  10. Marjorie Snow says:

    Chopped is one of my favorite shows. Love the format, challenges & all the judges, except Alex Guarnachelli. She is a bitter judge that shows partiality towards the weakest opponents & does Geoffrey Zakarian an injustice by being his sous chef on Iron Chef. She should be replaced, as she spoils the show for mant of us.

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