11 Things You Didn’t Know About Amanda Freitag

by in Shows, March 30th, 2013

Amanda FreitagYou’ve seen them judge the competition, battle for the title of All-Stars champion and compete in a friendly game with colleagues on After Hours, but there’s a lot you don’t know about the judges of Chopped. Here’s your chance to get to know the nine people behind the Chopping Block.

Amanda Freitag is a regular judge on Chopped. She recently competed in The Next Iron Chef: Redemption, coming in second place. Amanda has been cooking professionally for more than 20 years and has worked under a long list of chefs including Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Alain Passard, Diane Forley and Tom Valenti, to name a few, and it is with great excitement that Amanda is now working toward opening a restaurant of her own. But there are a few things you might not know about Amanda — for example, she loves comfort foods like burgers and pasta but hates certain foods that other chefs would consider favorite delicacies, like sea urchin and monkfish liver. Find out more about Amanda in her Q&A below.

What’s your Achilles’ heel ingredient, one that you hate to work with or encounter in someone else’s dish?
Amanda Freitag: I would have to say sea urchin. Unlike many other chefs, I am not a fan. I am not skilled at cleaning it or cooking it.

What dish or ingredient will we never catch you eating?
AF: I tried monkfish liver terrine once and I think it is one of the only things I would never, ever eat again!

What was your most memorable meal? What, where, who? Details, please.
AF: I will never forget my first meal at the original Bouley in New York City. Chef David Bouley was pioneering Tribeca at the time. It started at the entrance, walking in and opening the huge wooden door and taking in the beautiful perfume of fresh apples that were in the foyer. Every detail of the meal was nuanced and the food was surprising and delicious. The service was impeccable; it made me fall in love with the restaurant world even deeper.

What’s your guilty pleasure food?
AF: I would have to say burgers. When I get that craving for a juicy, meaty hamburger, there is nothing else that can satisfy me.

Is there one dish that you always order out and never make at home?
AF: I would say paella, especially at Tertulia. I just wouldn’t and couldn’t ever make it as well at home as they do.

What kitchen tool can’t you live without?
AF: I have become addicted to my Vitamix blender. I use it for so many things: smoothies, soups, sauces, pestos, flavored oils and cocktails.… I just love it!

If you weren’t in food, what career would you like to have tried?
AF: I would have been some sort of an artist/performer. I love the instant gratification of making people happy with my work.

What’s your favorite “food city” to visit?
AF: Ooh, that’s a tough one … It’s a big world with lots of yummy food and I wouldn’t want anyone to be angry with me. In the U.S. it’s a tie between San Francisco and Portland (Oregon).

What’s your favorite late-night snack?
AF: For sweet it’s chocolate chip cookies and milk. Salty is tortilla chips and guacamole.

What’s one must-have at your last supper?
AF: Pasta! Fresh, of course, preferably Scott Conant’s spaghetti with tomato and basil.

Who’s your favorite person to cook with?
AF: I would have to say my nieces, Lizzie and Megan. They are 11 and 14 and they are fascinated by how much I love food, and what a good time I have cooking it and what a fun mess I can make.

Rapid fire: Think fast!
Ketchup or mustard? Ketchup
Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate (of course)
Coffee or tea? Coffee
Burger or hot dog? Burger
Cream cheese or butter? Butter
Soda or water? Water
Sprinkles or jimmies? Sprinkles

Get to Know the Rest of the Judges:
Aarón Sánchez
Alex Guarnaschelli
Chris Santos
Geoffrey Zakarian
Maneet Chauhan
Marc Murphy
Marcus Samuelsson
Scott Conant

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Comments (36)

  1. Stella says:

    Amanda for the win!!! Totally supporting you!!!

  2. nonparieldolls says:

    Hope Amanda gets a big check from Vitamix. ::( So far she's the only chef to plug anything. Kinda disappointing.

  3. Arielle says:

    Thats cool she said portland

  4. amandiac says:

    she's kinda sexy….i have to watch her…not in a creepy way :)

  5. David Eckels says:

    Can't quantify it, but besides being a talented chef, she is far and away one of the most attractive women on Food Network.

    • Gail says:

      Amanda is an amazing chef!!! The proof is in her impressive run on NIC Redemption. I'd argue that Amanda is the most beautiful woman on Food Network.

  6. homoviper says:

    Love this. Amanda is so great, and I love that she's competing for God's Love We Deliver.

  7. Loretta says:

    Totally love Amanda and was so bummed when she did not win Next Iron Chef. She is such a class act. Sadly I just knew Alex was going to win with Jeffery as a judge. He should not have been allowed to judge….period.

    • Chopped_Fan says:

      Amanda worked that competition. She was so impressive!! I too was bummed at the outcome. I personally found Bobby Flay being a judge in the finale the biggest issue. There was absolutely no objectivity shown on his part whatsoever! It was clear he was rooting for the winner. He was almost gleeful when he said that he was happy that he had finally gotten the heat from the cherry tart. I feel like barring any great catastrophe, there was no way Bobby was going to vote in favor of Amanda. Sure he was only one vote, but any sort of bias in the judging is inappropriate.

      Amanda, keep holding your head high. Your time is coming! We fans appreciate your classy nature… Others should take a cue from you.

    • Debbie says:

      I agree that he should not been allowed to judge

  8. Michael Halp says:

    Amanda you are the best !!!

  9. Michael Halp says:

    Amanda you are the best !!!

  10. ChefAnneWatcher says:

    Amanda is a class act! I LOVE her as a judge on Chopped…she is always looking at the positives in the chefs' dishes, and her criticism (when warranted) is tempered with positive points.

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