Lessons from the Teens — Chopped After Hours

by in Shows, July 2nd, 2013

The beauty of After Hours competitions is that by the time the judges try their hands at four mystery ingredients, they are, in fact, not mysteries at all, having been revealed to the panel during the show when the competitors opened their baskets. The judges saw what the chefs did to transform the disparate ingredients into one cohesive dish and often recognize where they made missteps in their executions and where there is potential for improvement. After watching the entree round in tonight’s all-new episode of Chopped, judges Amanda Freitag, Marc Murphy and Marcus Samuelsson took what the young competitors did with goat leg, rhubarb, frisee and hummus and used their successes, not failures, to motivate their own cooking.

Aarón Sánchez was on hand to guest judge this round, and he encouraged the panel to elevate the teens’ already stellar dishes into something even more worthy of the Chopped Kitchen. “The flavors that they were able to get onto these dishes were absolutely amazing,” Marcus said of the teens’ offerings while cooking his own plate. “It actually inspired me to a do a really good job right now.” He set off to prepare grilled goat leg with a potato salad and bacon-studded red wine-rhubarb sauce, while Amanda and Marc prepared meatballs with rhubarb-tomato sauce and roasted goat with potato salad and grilled lettuce, respectively. After a quick 30 minutes of cooking, the panel came together to taste each other’s dishes, and Aarón admitted to his peers, “You guys did almost as good as the teenagers.” They agreed that their offerings were inspired examples of how to integrate dissimilar ingredients. “I love the way they cooked, and I hope we made them proud and gave them some new ideas,” Amanda ssaid at the end of the competition about the teenagers.

Want to see the judges in action in the Chopped Kitchen? Click the play button on the video above to see them tackle goat leg, rhubarb, frisee and hummus, then chat with fans in the comments section below about what went down. Plus, browse behind-the-scenes photos from the battle to get an insider’s look at the competition.

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Comments (21)

  1. Robert says:

    Donna and Patricia are correct. This episode showed a clear bias towards the eventual winner and the girls should have been the finalists. Not to mention they had great attitudes.

  2. Katie says:

    You have to keep in mind that the kid who won had no professional kitchen experience. All he had was amateur passion. I feel like the judges kept that in mind when weighing the quality of the dishes with the amount of hands on experience of the contestants. Molly had worked in a professional kitchen for years, which lends me to feel as though her dishes were not up to the judges' expectation from a chef with that background.

  3. Jadeacres says:

    Wow ! Been watching Chopped regularly and see something TED and the producers must have missed.
    Female chefs don't stand a chance when up against three male contestants especially when Alex G is on the judging panel. Thought I saw a pattern and went back several seasons and sure enough, no matter what the "error", the lone female will make the walk of shame every time over her male counterparts even when the guy neglects to include an ingredient or makes inedible food. Over and over "ad nauseam" the panel turfs the woman first. Do some number crunching folks, put a network intern on the stats and see for yourself.

  4. leslie says:

    Im so dissapointed!!! Burned potatoes deserved getting chopped or Maybe he is a nephew of the producer of the show?? I will NEVER watch chopped again!

  5. Pete says:

    I'm confused. The rules state that a contestant can use as much of as little of an ingredient as they want. On the "After Hours" episodes, the judges routinely exploit this rule, allowing them to use minuscule amounts of ingredients (Mark is particularly guilty of this). However, they also chop contestants (teens or otherwise) for not using enough of the ingredient. I wish they would make up their minds and be consistent. This was the case in this episode as burnt potatoes beat not enough rhubarb.

  6. tim says:

    burnt potato can never beat not enough rhubarb…and i agree it's hard for the girls

  7. Chaarles Ballard says:

    If you really want find the ultimate chopped champion, then give them the same ingreadance in all three baskets. Talk about a challenge!

  8. buddyrob says:

    I would have to agree with a lot of the viewer's on this one. The kid should have been chopped with the burnt potatoes. I have been watching this show since 2009 and I get mad all the time with some of the judges views and how unprofessional they are when they are criticizing someone's dish. It's just to harsh sometimes. There are a great many episodes where the judges are either bias or just plain wrong and chop the wrong person. Granted were not tasting the food but you can tell who's dish is good if you know anything about cooking. I can't understand when there judging the three dishes they say they like a certain dish then that person gets chopped? I know the judges have been doing this for a long time but I've have lost a lot of respect with most of them for some of there decisions.

    I come from a long line of Chef's and cooks and I can tell you first hand that they are very bias and to me it looks like they predetermine the winners which is really sad.

  9. Vicky says:

    Teen or adult, the judges should not judge according to their own personal taste…hear the description the cntestant is giving and taste and judge on what has been given. Who cares if the judge doesn't like spicy or what have you, judge according to what has been given to you.

  10. Emberlee says:

    Chopped WAS probably my favorite show on television. I just watched the episode "Flower Power" on Hulu.com and I will never watched chopped again. I stopped the episode after the main course round. I am appalled at how ruthless, mean, domineering the judges were. I am shocked. They grinned that spunky, excited, kind British woman's face in the dirt so-to-speak. And it was with the first and second course, I didn't watch the dessert round. I feel so horrible for that fun, energetic, kind woman. I hope she is okay and I wish there was a way to contact her. I hope her spirit isn't broken and I wish the judges were out a job. Nothing justifies how arrogant, rude, and ruthless they were. I can't believe they aired the episode. I will never watch chopped again unless there's an episode with that woman and many apologies to her.

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