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. Paula says:

    This should be a regular show. I always wondered what the judges would have made if the had to cook with the basket ingredients. Now we know!
    Loved the chefs cooking! I hope this never goes away as long as the Chopped is on the air.
    Love this!!!

  2. Amy says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed this! I loved the judges cooking, and Alex hosting. Great job! Please do another one!

  3. Charlestm says:

    Too bad you're using Flash to deliver this show online. Flash doesn't work on iPads nor Android devices running Jellybean. Your IT staff just eliminated half your potential viewers.

  4. Margaret Cooley says:

    Great idea to showcase the judges. I really enjoyed it. I'd love to see more of these.

  5. D Tweene says:

    This is a great idea. Too bad it was ruined by the wooden and completely fake facade that Alex Guarnaschelli puts on. It's too bad that the Foodnetwork executives don't see how shallow and self-serving Alex is – trying to position herself in every shot. This really makes me appreciate Ted Allen, a true professional.

  6. @violue says:

    This was such an awesome surprise, and a really fun watch. I loved seeing the judges having fun. With Restaurant Impossible, the end of the show has you go to the website to find out how the restaurant is doing, and I disliked that because it was Food Network forcing me to go to the site if I wanted closure on the story I'd just watched. But this is just a fun extra, and I still get the full experience of the episode whether I watch this or not. But of course I'm going to watch this because I love seeing the judges interact. :)

    That was my long-winded way of saying I liked this segment and thing it was a great idea.

  7. south47th says:

    Loved the mini show with the Chefs and "Guest Hostess"! I even enjoyed Chris! Hope to see FN keep this going.

  8. stuckup chefs says:

    what this was filmed n the morning Alex just woke up or have a hangover from screaming hear her raspy voice!

  9. Noelani says:

    Enjoyed seeing the chefs' casual side as opposed to their tough serious one on the show. Chris especially was a sweetie! Give us more!! :-)

  10. @mabones2002 says:

    I really enjoyed seeing these chefs cook, I love all of them!!!! And yes, Ted has said to use a little or a lot.

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