Did You Miss the Meat? — Chopped After Hours

by in Shows, June 18th, 2013

In most Chopped baskets, it’s the meaty protein or shellfish that trips up competitors, what with these ingredients that tend to be difficult to break down, clean, and cook properly and fully in a hurry. But in tonight’s brand-new episode of Chopped, the contestants found themselves with vegetarian baskets, which meant that when it came time for an After Hours competition, judges Alex Guarnaschelli, Amanda Freitag and Marc Murphy were challenged to create entrees using golden beets, wheatgrass, tempeh and etrog citron.

While Alex and Marc admitted to being unfamiliar with cooking and eating these kinds of ingredients, Amanda told them, “I eat this stuff,” and she later admitted to being “a closet vegetarian.” For all three judges, the challenge was offering dishes that were both bold and hefty enough to be filling. Amanda stuck to a classic preparation of tempeh by featuring it in a spiced stew with curry, while Alex treated the tempeh like rice, turning it into a risotto-style plate with mushrooms and citrus. Marc, however, known for his fondness of meat-and-potatoes classics, made a tempeh-based burger that was anything but vegetarian, thanks to beef broth and bacon. After tasting each of their offerings, guest host Aarón told them: “I’m not crying for meat right now. You made satisfying meals that really sort of constituted a complete dish.”

Alex says, “I think it’s really great to have an experience where people can see that we, as judges, whether we’re cooking or eating these ingredients, we learn and grow from them, too.” But when it comes to the judges taking on mystery baskets, do you think these vegetarian-minded ingredients were challenging enough for them, or did the ingredients prove to be too easy of a selection? Did you miss seeing a particularly perplexing meat in the mix, or was the oddity of these products enough to satisfy your craving for the unusual? Which judge used the ingredients best in his or her dish, and whose final offering looked most appealing? Click the play button on the video above to see Alex, Amanda and Marc in action, then chat with fellow fans in the comments section below about what went down. Plus, browse behind-the-scenes photos from the battle to see inside the Chopped Kitchen.

<img style=”display: none;” src=”http://img.foodnetwork.com/FOOD/2013/06/10/TIRE_Amanda-Freitag-Marc-Murphy-Alex-Guarnaschelli-Aaron-Sanchez_s4x3_lg.jpg” alt=”” />

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Comments (61)

  1. vanisavan says:

    I think that the chefs/judges have time to think what they are going to do while the presenter is asking questions (advantage for the chefs/judges) also, they are not being judge by anybody, How come? if they are trying to do a chopped show after hours, why not include judges? maybe the judges could be some chefs that have won the chopped competition before. What do you think about it?

  2. SamariYah says:

    Can we get a Chopped Hallel Basket. Shellfish and Pork give me the heebee jeebies!!!! Why???? Because I want to be on the show!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. gayle says:

    I don't think this show does much to encourage women to become chefs. They always seem to be a throw-in contestant once in awhile and get chopped right away. So many of the contestants are so grossly overweight, it is a turnoff. I think it is a terrible message for a chef to send to the public about the food they make. If I went to a restaurant and saw an obese chef, I would assume the meals are unhealthy

  4. JKWatson says:

    The judges have SO much personality. I just wish they would show it and lighten up a little when they are being the judges….seriously, lighten up!

  5. Jessie says:

    The best show was the lunch lady's.. The best it made me cry and smiled. Bring lunch lady's back

  6. ChoppedFan says:

    Chopped should have challenged non-vegitarian chefs to use all vegetarian basket items. This episode was a complete maniuplation to favor one chef. The producers staged it to make a point and to encourage complaints. Ted Allen, who I admire as a genius, is an activist. While I love this show and format and don't agree with many of the critcisms, this episode makes me think all of them are fixed.

  7. Jay says:

    Could we please get the recipe for Alex's dish?

  8. I would like to see more vegetarian baskets

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