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. Alex says:

    Love Chopped! I remember you guys raising cane cause a chef used only one flavor of Neopolitian ice cream. To be fair – you guys need to play by the same rules.

  2. Linda Kleback says:

    I really enjoyed this! I admire the regular competitors for taking on the baskets and seeing what the judges can do with the same ingredients is fascinating. Please, more episodes!

  3. Dmsc33 says:

    Great idea. Please keep this going! Loved seeing what the judges did with the same ingredients

  4. MoHub says:

    Isn't Ted's actual phrase "as much or as little"? It's a fine difference but it does have a different connotation.

  5. chard says:

    Great idea. Please make more!

  6. @danny6114 says:

    I think Chris nailed it when he said that to use the whole ingredient to the detriment of the dish shows a lack of finesse.

  7. Docknock says:

    While I really enjoyed all of these Chefs and their fun side, I think that they should really rotate the other judges in because part of the fun is seeing how they interact with each other as well as the ingredients and all of the judges have such unique points of view that while I definitely want to learn more. The teaching segment with Marc Murphy did not seem forced at all. I do take issue with calling Alex a "Judge" because there was no one declared the winner. She was more of a host like Ted. Yes, it is a nit picky point, but I think it reflects the casual banter.
    Until we get an all star battle with Alton Brown, Justin Warner, Rachel Ray and Ted Allen himself, this would keep me happy for a while

  8. no babies says:

    Baby goat and other gross ingredients! Not watching it anymore.

  9. Kim says:

    I am really a huge fan of chopped and enjoyed chopped after dark. Can't wait to see another episode. I love all off the judges and really enjoyed there softer side . Would love to see Elton Brown, Ted Allen, Raychel Ray, Paula Dean and many other food network stars.

  10. Marie says:

    I would love to see this on the show, on TV. I agree that Alex is a bit full of herself. Her attitude is hard to take sometimes.

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