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. Ellen says:

    I agree that it seems very unfair to have a vegan show with only one vegan chef. I am not opposed to vegans but could you have not found four vegan chefs compete? It was obvious they were catering to him as the judges were surprised that he was opposed to honey. Also, when a push came to a shove, the vegan chef did compromise his beliefs to win the money. Not the best episode and we are now questioning if this show is on the up and up or rigged.

    • jalp says:

      What the surprise made obvious was not that they were catering to the vegan chef, but that they weren't quite at their normal level of expertise about what "vegan" means.

  2. DeborahinNC says:

    I too agree with many of the comments here. We DVR the shows so did not see it on the night it aired. I happy to see other foods and have not problem with a show that has not animal based proteins. What I think is unfair is that there was a vegan chef, a chef that grew up in a vegetarian house and then two chefs that normally work with animal proteins. I too expect to never see a kosher chef have to deal with non kosher foods that they can not taste or those who have allergies deal with foods they have to be careful working with.

    I love the show and have but felt really set up with this episode.

  3. 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 an eh sound like in egg or etymology and the ro is pronounced row so it is is et-row-g.

    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 of it's both pleasant smell and taste represent someone who both is wise and does good deeds.

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

  4. margie dixon says:

    I have no problem with a theme night, however to have one chef with such an obvious advantage is ridiculous! Is his sister named Susie?? Uncle named Bob? This particularly confusing considering how many times you have had a vegan or vegetarian chef and taunted them with proteins, even two in a round! THEN, the very next week you have the audacity to put on a chef with Celiac disease. DISEASE, not a life style choice! And yes I know that she makes the choice to be around food she cannot have but that is not my point. Was there ever a consideration to give her even one round of ingredients that she could taste everything?? Food allergies are a part of real world dining and perhaps it's time to accept that fact! Hmmmm acceptance, tolerance, understanding. Interesting concepts for a network that is working so hard to be politically correct that it will sacrifice one of its own that helped to make it a success. Forgiveness and loyalty are also interesting and admirable qualities. I have been loyal to FN for many years, but I am done. You aren't interested in what your viewers want, you have had and always will have your own agenda that is all about that dollar sign.

  5. Jim says:

    First of all I am a great fan of the food network channel but I'am very,very disappointed in how the judging on the chopped show is conducted. I watch this show all the time and almost very time there are black contestants preforming on the show you can almost bet the black person will not win the 10,000 prize. It's almost like this may be the most racist TV show on television today. Just for future reference I and all my friends will boycott this show until this show do better and start judging fairly as it should be. Just be fair is that much to ask.

  6. Judog says:

    So tired of vegans and their holier than thou attitudes and judgements. They expect their food choices to be catered to…but if I went to a vegans house for dinner, I certainly wouldn't expect them to cook a meat for me. And if I wanted meat in my meal, I wouldn't go to a vegetarian restaurant. And the ridiculous changes they want to make to dishes while ordering at a restaurant – if you can't eat what the restaurant offers, get a salad or don't go there! That goes for the no cream or butter folk also. You make yourselves out to be so important without considering how your requests and judgements impact those around you. Selfish.
    If Chopped wanted a vegan episode, they should have designated it as such and had 4 vegan cooks. Period.
    And the people who see racism and misogyny in the show? Get a grip. It's all about the food.

    • Chaos says:

      Judog , you are a complete idiot.
      1- Vegetarians don't eat meat. so if you go to ones house, you shouldn’t expect meat. they are against cooking it or eating it. or harming animals.
      If you want these people to come eat with you enough to invite them over, it's only proper that you not cook the thing they spend their lives not eating for just 1 night.
      2- Restaraunts have different options because it will allow them to make more money by attracting more customers. duh.
      Thanks fer your time.

      • Lola Drum says:

        Not all vegans have that attitude. I don't eat meat or dairy, but I cook both for my family. I have no reason to dictate what my family eats or does not eat. The vegan chef should have had to cook with animal protein. He should not call himself a chef as he refuses to cook certain food.

  7. Liz says:

    Really thought this was sooo biased–. what a surprise the veg chef won! If I was a competitor in this episode I would have been really upset. If they wanted to do a vegan/vegetarian episiode they should have had 4 vegetarian/vegan chefs competing against each other. Don't you think as someone mentioned earlier the "fix" is in when all of a sudden the baskets have no meat in them? And the dilemma for the vegan chef is whether or not to use the honey which of course he did since" no use losing to make a statement" Really, to be fair you should allow the competitors that lost to come back on for a real episode where the deck is not stacked against them!!

  8. Casi says:

    Protein is one of the hardest things to keep replenished in a food bank. I run a small town food bank and would love to see the contestants (and the show for that matter) dedicate an hour to using only food found in food banks. In a world of labels, i.e. vegan, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, organic….I'd like to see professionals show the less fortunate how to use the staple ingredients so as to get the most value and taste out of them. Anyway….love the show.

  9. Rhonda says:

    Just watched Chopped After Hiours Webisodes. I love this and think its a brilliant idea. Are you going to publish the recipes that the judges make? I would love to make some of these dishes at home, they look so yummy even for strange chopped basket ingredients!

  10. DJKarma says:

    Amanda is a closet vegetarian- love it! I'd like to see her do a veg cooking show!!!

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