What do these four celebrities with different backgrounds have in common? Judy Gold, Johnny Weir, Joey Fatone and Laila Ali all share a love of cooking, and they proved that in the Chopped Kitchen tonight. Only one advanced to compete in the fourth and final spot in the finale, however, and is one step closer to winning $50,000 for his or her charity.
If you missed the show and recorded it, don’t read any further — FN Dish is about to break down the episode and chat with the runner-up.
Appetizer: Vanilla cupcakes, chicken tenders, avocados and kochujang
Entree: Skirt steak, matzo crackers, sweet orange gelatin cups and collard greens
Dessert: Circus peanuts, passion fruit puree, graham cracker cereal and curry powder
Appetizer Round: Judy Gold
Entree Round: Johnny Weir
Dessert Round: Joey Fatone
Winner: Laila Ali
Judges: Maneet Chauhan, Geoffrey Zakarian and Marcus Samuelsson
Former *NSYNC star and Dancing with the Stars contestant Joey Fatone was also a competitor on Season 1 of Food Network’s Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off. And while he’s certainly got cooking chops, he couldn’t inch past the overall strength of Laila’s meal. FN Dish talked with Joey to get the talented runner-up’s take on this intense round of the All-Stars tournament.
How did your time on Rachael vs. Guy help prepare you for competing on Chopped All-Stars?
JF: It’s all about timing. I had a foot in the door in terms of timing and how I practice the use of it wisely. I’m used to cooking under pressure now — not many others have that experience.
What do you think Guy would say about your performance today?
JF: I don’t know. He’s a stickler with me, so he might have given me a hard time (but joking around), “You should have done this, instead!”
Tonight you used the blow torch and the whipped cream maker. Your culinary chops have obviously grown. Why did you decide to take the risk of using gadgets you hadn’t before?
JF: When they were showing us all the stuff available to us in the kitchen, I said to myself: “You know what? I can use that — I can tackle that.” And I did.
You finished before time ran out and you left Geoffrey speechless. If you could go back and do it again, would you utilize those minutes?
JF: I would have over-thought the dish if I stood there and continued to think of things to do with it. You don’t want to do too much.
Out of all three baskets, which one was the hardest for you?
JF: The first basket was the hardest for me because it was simply the first basket. I had no idea what I was getting myself into! Only 20 minutes — that goes by so quickly.
Was there any one ingredient you’d never worked with before?
JF: Oh, yes — the kochujang.
You competed against Laila in Dancing with the Stars, too. What was it like going up against her again?
JF: It was fun. It’s a different light. Instead of the ballroom, it’s a kitchen. It’s still a competition and it’s still playful. I’m glad we had a good time in the last round together.
You’ve done Rachael vs. Guy and now you’ve taken on the Chopped Kitchen. Is there anything else you want to check off your culinary to-do list?
JF: No! I’d rather host now. Give me a hosting job on Food Network.
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