Michael Symon Takes the First Round of Chopped All-Stars

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, April 10th, 2012

michael symon chopped all-stars
Yesterday on FN Dish, we broke down the first episode of Chopped All-Stars for you, including an interview with runner-up Marc Forgione.

Today, we’re chatting with the first-round winner and Iron Chef extraordinaire, Michael Symon.

What was it like  competing against your fellow Iron Chefs?
MS: It’s always flattering and an honor to compete against chefs that work at such a high level. It’s also so much fun.

Which basket did you have the most trouble with?
MS: Dessert. I’m not a huge fan of rum.

The black bean caramel sauce — you had judges and viewers puzzled by this creation. What do the black beans do to the sauce? Is this something you’d recommend people at home try?
MS: I wouldn’t say this has to be done at home. The black beans were in the basket because they’re an unusual ingredient for desserts. As someone who doesn’t like desserts that are too sweet, I knew the beans would cut the sweetness of the caramel and I think the result was a well-balanced dessert.

You’re still undefeated (Burger Bash, too), and even though he lost, Marc Forgione wants you to bring the whole thing home for the Iron Chefs. What’s your strategy going into the grand finale?
MS: My strategy is to continue to cook good food. The plating of my first course wasn’t up to my personal standards, but when I only have a few minutes, I focus on preparing the tastiest food that I can make. I always hope to be judged on taste.

Tune in this Sunday at 9pm/8c when four gourmet globetrotters — Keegan Gerhard, Marcela Valladolid, Jeffrey Saad and Aarti Sequeira — take their place on the Chopping Block.

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Comments (81)

  1. SnowyKat2 says:

    Bye bye, Cat.. Bye bye Aarti.. Bye bye Marcela.. And a fine fare-well to all the other female chefs that bother to enter the contest in the future.. Women DON'T win Chopped anymore then they win Top Chef.. Period..

    • JLF says:

      Really?? Who would you have placed on top tonight? Arti's underdone rice with whole cloves left in the dish deserved elimination. Marcela made it a really close race, but by her own admission she was afraid that her desert just wasn't cohesive, and in fact the judges said the same thing. Should either of them be moved forward just for the sake of having a female? How is that proving that women deserve to win?

    • jeri says:

      Seeing as how the discussion was open for debate, women DO win on Chopped. Yes men win more, but they also compete more. I have no statistics, but I'm sure someone does. JLF is right, if the men cook better, they win, if the women cooks better, they win, simple. There is no one should win over the other just because. Best wins, period. End of discussion!!

      • FanFare57 says:

        Hi Jeri,
        A few seasons ago, Tom Colliccio answered that question regarding the lopsided number of male vs female chefs on Top Chef. He stated that in the industry overall, there are fewer female chefs. Therefore, there are fewer female chefs competing in these competitions.

        • SnowyKat2 says:

          First of all.. Top Chef has consistently, for years, had an equal number of male to female chefs compete, so I have no idea where you heard Colliccio say anything of the kind.. The facts are simple, this industry has always been bigoted against female chefs and, even today, it is one of the hardest of all industries for females to enter and expect to be paid the same as their male counterparts and/or treated with the same respect..

          I seriously doubt if Tom Colliccio or any of the other judges have given their opinions as to why, after 12 seasons, only ONE female chef has won this reality show.. But it's certainly very clear to me and to others who aren't afraid to see or speak the truth about the numbers.. It's called Bigotry..

          • JLF says:

            I don't work in the food industry so I won't try to argue the issues of equality or lack of it for working chefs. But your complaint carries very little weight when aimed at last nite's competition when Arti clearly deserved elimination and Marcela admitted that her entree was too small and her desert unfocused. If you want to aim your anger at Top Chef, I'm sure there's a blog somewhere for that show. If you want to fuss at Chopped, wait until there is an obvious foul.

          • SnowyKat2 says:

            I always find it so strange that every tiny mistake a female chef makes on Chopped is blown all out of proportion when compared to a guy's mistakes.. I've seen women booted off the show for overcooking rice or risotto and yet, a guy on the same show completely forgets a component and is allowed to remain..

            When discussing the remaining two contestants at the end of the show, if it is between a male and female chef, 90% of the time OR MORE, the female will go home! If you are a true aficionado of the show, as I was for SEVERAL years, you would have noticed this.. Obviously, you haven't been watching it for long..

          • JLF says:

            You have no idea what I watch or when, and I suspect from your fanaticism that you see what you want to see. Regardless of the win-loss scores for male and females, your own bias towards women seems to blind you to the relative merits of individual competitors. There's no sense arguing with those hell bent on finding fault.

  2. lou says:

    Doesn't anyone post about why they have a particular charity?
    I am a therapist for kids with autism and I support Michael Symon's charity Autism Speaks and would like to know more about his ties to it.

    • jeri says:

      MS chose his charity because he has two people close to him that have been diagnosed.

    • JLF says:

      A close friend of his has 2 boys, one with autism and one with aspergers. Because autism has also touched my family, I am rooting for Symon to win. That I really like MS makes it easy.

  3. jeri says:

    My, the crickets are early, unless they go quiet at 10pm.

  4. Cheryl says:

    Show was great, but I'm going to play the devil's advocate for fun. I was surprised that they left on the toe nails of the chicken's feet. I have no experience with them, but I would have removed them. What do you think? Would you?

    • jeri says:

      The only chef to remove the toenails was Keegan. He thought it obvious to remove them. As for the I have no idea what they were thinking. I would have thought it to be obvious, but one never knows.

    • JLF says:

      First of all I would never voluntarily cook (or eat) chicken feet. But I'm with you – it should be obvious to remove the toenails, unless you want your dish to be a real real nailbiter! :-) (Sorry – couldn't resist.)

    • jeri says:

      Just a tid bit FYI. Chicken feet are popular in Asian an Hispanic cooking. Usually making soups or as a snack served with alcohol (probably a necessity). They contain a lot of gelatin and used a lot for stock. Go figure!

    • jeri says:

      Just an afterthought, the Hispanic market around the corner sells chicken feet, right next to the black chickens, which are silkies. Regular chickens, but their skin is black!! They are great brooders, will sit on anything that resembles an egg, and they are cute as he… Very friendly.

    • FanFare57 says:

      I agree with you. At least the chefs could have cut the nails down (as in pedicure)????

  5. jeri says:

    Oops!!! Sorry didn't mean to reply to myself. Just wanted to ask were everyone was?

  6. BAR says:

    I am glad that Symon won, I love him and I totally support his charity because I have two boys with autism. Any help in this field is awesome. Keep going Symon! I am in your corner!

  7. Cheryl says:

    Sorry but the alcohol bottle story is old news. Seems it's chicken feet this week.

  8. ma chef says:

    When chopped now announces the judges why dont they introduce Geoffrey Zakarian as an Iron chef???

  9. jenny says:

    Well, I'm no professional chef. But if you're surrounded by them, you should be a little humble, unlike Chef Penny: a sore loser with a big mouth. This is a charity event, and she couldn't stop criticizing other people long enough to hear some input from people who are more accomplished. Outrageous.

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