How Much of a Basket Ingredient Is Enough? — Chopped After Hours

by in Shows, April 30th, 2013

“Use a little or a lot; I heard Ted say it before,” Marc Murphy told substitute host Alex Guarnaschelli during tonight’s premiere episode of Chopped After Hours. He and his competitors, fellow judges Aarón Sánchez and Chris Santos, opted to use only one portion of what was unquestionably the out-of-place ingredient in tonight’s mystery basket: coconut-chocolate bars. With just 30 minutes to cook an entree with the candy, plus pink beans, sofrito and striped bass, the guys didn’t have time to incorporate the bar as a whole, so they picked out of it elements that would be successful in their dishes. For Marc, who in a risky maneuver set off to make a cassoulet, and Chris, who prepared a Thai-style soup, it was the coconut center that was the chosen fraction; Aarón picked out the almonds to feature in his Louisiana-inspired plate of fish and grits.

What do you think of the judges using only a select portion of a mystery basket ingredient? Although doing so may indeed be battling within the rules, should they have worked harder to utilize the candy bar as a whole, or does its unusualness make up for the fact that it wasn’t incorporated fully? If a contestant had done that during competition, would the judges have been as accepting of his or her dish?

Click the play button on the video above to watch what went down in the kitchen, then join fellow Chopped After Hours fans in a discussion about the judges’ battle in the comments below. For more insider dish on the showdown, browse these behind-the-scenes snapshots to see Aarón, Marc and Chris in action.

Check back to for another installment of After Hours following a new episode of Chopped on Tuesday, May 7 at 10pm/9c.

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Comments (47)

  1. Kristine says:

    I think they should have used all components of the candy (chocolate, coconut, and almond) even if they didn't use the entire bar. There was an episode where dried soup was an ingredient and one of the cooks was criticized by the judges for not using both the noodles and the flavor ball. They should be held to that same standard.

    • A.J. says:

      same thing when a contestant didn't use all 3 flavors of cosmopolitan ice cream

      • Winston says:

        I've noticed that Ted has stopped saying " a little or a lot" in his usual speech he gives….. now he just says you must use all basket ingredients in some way……..

      • MoHub says:

        That's Neapolitan. Although I would love to try Cosmo-flavored ice cream.

    • Christina says:

      Well for starters they aren't competing for money with this. Secondly they addressed the issue and the reason why those people were criticized for not using it was that someone else incorporated the entire product and did it successfully (so that person could have too). The main thing is: does the dish taste good? Like them, I wouldn't care if you used the entire part of the candy bar if your dish tasted like poo because of it. The show challenges the chefs on how well they can successfully combine the ingredients to make something tasty and creative. Plus if you notice, Alex said she could taste the part of the candy bar each one took out and put in their dish.

    • kareness says:

      I think a little or a little or a lot means ok to use ingredients separated (as done with neopolitan ice cream, packaged dry soup, or the chocolate almond cocoanut bar).

  2. LoveBaking says:

    So cool, love these chefs!

  3. Cheryl says:

    i kind of agree…but it was fun to watch them at work…made me hungry and wanna taste all 3 of their dishes! :-)

  4. Annie says:

    I really enjoyed the video. I got a kick out the competition and Alex being the judge!

  5. Areli Biggers says:

    Todo estuvo Fantastico!!!

  6. val says:

    it was funny, they gave good cooking tips and alex was a great host. I love them all at Chopped.

  7. KarenInDallas says:

    Alex is a hoot! That was fun, thanks :-)

  8. Alex says:

    Got to agree Bad call , chocolate-coconut-almonds break them down OK but use at least 2 lol
    Great show never miss it !

  9. Meatball says:

    It's a calculated risk using the whole bar or not. If 2 contestants use it all and the third does not, then the third is most likely the one to get chopped.

  10. Chris says:

    Love the judges but they would have given a contestant grief for not being able to detect or not having used enough of the candy bar. I've sat here and said that the rules say you don't have to use it all and yet that comment comes out in their feedback often.

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