The Challenge of Prepared Products — Chopped After Hours

by in Shows, June 16th, 2013

In the last After Hours episode, Chopped judges tried their hands at ingredients that collectively proved to be some of the most common ever featured on the show, and their experience with them was a challenge in and of itself. Similarly, on tonight’s all-new battle, judges Alex Guarnaschelli, Aarón Sánchez and Marcus Samuelsson faced a basket with one particularly demanding ingredient: lobster bisque. In the same way that the last group of judges had to transform the familiar, Alex, Aarón and Marcus had to redefine something that was already a finished dish.

“I think that’s the hardest [ingredient] right there,” guest judge Amanda Freitag said of the bisque, “’cause someone made it already. And maybe they made it too creamy, too thick.” Her peers understood what she meant by that, and they each went to great lengths to transform the bisque into something else, instead of simply warming it and serving it as-is. Aarón and Alex treated the bisque as the base of their sauces, guajillo and marinara, respectively, while Marcus used the bisque as the building block of another bisque. He added yogurt and white wine to the basket ingredient in an effort to increase its “sourness,” and cooked it with squid, potatoes and daikon radish. What resulted was a “completely complex” offering, according to Aarón .

When cooking with prepared products at home, do you prefer to leave them as they are, or do you dress them up with complementary ingredients? What did you think of the judges’ use of the bisque, and who do you think featured it best in his or her dish? Click the play button on the video above to watch what Alex, Aarón and Marcus did, then share your reactions and chat with fellow fans in the comments section below. Plus, browse insider photos from the set to get a behind-the-scenes look at what went down in the kitchen.

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Comments (19)

  1. Maria says:

    I loved this episode, Aaron is my favorite :)
    Now to answer your question I prefer to leave them as they are, because for me are more tasty and healthy.
    Thank you Maria for sharing

  2. Kiwi says:

    This is a comment about tonight's episode. I don't think it is fair that a Michelin star chef is competing against non-Michelin star chefs. I thought the chef that lost in the dessert round was amazing and yes he made errors, but how could he be judged against the other chef???

    • Jem says:

      I agree, did not seem fare to the other chefs, I know the Michelin chef was going to win, I also thought the other chef in the dessert round , was the true winner since he was not the one that was a Michelin chef , cooking that way everyday, therefore was more of a challenge for him and not much of a challenge for the Michelin chef.

  3. neenie says:

    i loved this and all episodes of chopped. i am a h-u-g-e fan of the show. i absolutely love all the judges— they all have such distinct personalities and so-o-o charming!!!!!neenie

  4. neenie says:


  5. neenie says:

    I LOVE "CHOPPED"!! I am absolutely addicted to the show, I think all the judges are terrific—each with their distinct personality and they are all brilliant!!!!!!!!! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!

  6. Kim M. says:

    I wish that when they had a Grand Champion on a chopped show that they would recognize the runner-up chef. Seriously, I think sometimes the competition is just so close that it is terrible to give one the title and the 2nd top competitor walks away with nothing. How about a Gold and Silver Champion?

  7. Kim M. says:

    I love this show Chopped also – it has become my absolute favorite next to the Pioneer Woman. I like Guy Fieri and his DDD show, but frankly I think the network runs too many episodes of his show on week nights and on Friday nights. Please mix it up a bit more.

  8. JMS says:

    First I got to say, I love the show. But, it killed me every time anyone on the show said אתרוג (etrog or esrog in hebrew). The pronunciation of the "e" is and eh sound like in egg or etymology. Speaking of the etymology, etrog is spoken of in the talmud, a Jewish religious text. To this day it is used on the holiday of succot by Jews because it's both pleasant smell and taste to represent someone who both is wise and does good deads.

    It makes an awesome jam but to pit one can up to 20 min so I wouldn't advise making it for chopped ;)

  9. Ladybird says:

    I would like to see super skinny chef take really fatty foods and make some
    thing great! Just to show that skinny girls/guys know how to cook even if they don"t eat.

  10. Chaos says:

    I'd love if chopped was more like this.

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