After Hours battles task Chopped judges with the same rules and restraints as the competitors — identical basket ingredients, limited time on the clock and the stipulation that they must use every mandatory product in some way — which means that when they take to the kitchen, they’re bringing with them the experience of judging hundreds of rounds of competition. They often remark on the show that a contestant’s dish lacks seasoning, is overcooked or is too simple, but when it’s their turn to cook, will they be able to succeed where others have failed, and will they deliver on the frequent requests they make of the competitors?
On tonight’s all-new episode of Chopped After Hours, Amanda proved that she can indeed walk the walk, if you will, in the kitchen, when she decided to bake a cake for her dessert. “I’ve always wanted everyone to bake,” she told Ted, “so I find it only fair for me to bake.” Her dish, like Aarón’s and Marcus’ dishes, had to feature chicken-themed ingredients, including chicken suckers, farm-fresh eggs, fruitcake and chicken feet, but she didn’t let the oddity of these products stop her from the mission. After a quick 30 minutes, she ultimately proved that it’s possible to bake — and bake well — in the Chopped , as her fruitcake with a sweet marshmallow mousse “melts in your mouth, ” according to Aarón. “I want to put my money where my mouth is. I am always begging the chefs to bake … so I baked,” she told her peers when presenting the dessert.
While Aarón’s dessert of choice, crepes, was something for which he often chastised chefs, he explained that the difference in his plate would be its superior taste. “The problem is that they haven’t made good crepes,” he noted of the competitors. His finished Farm Egg Crepa with Spiced Fruit Compote indeed delivered, so much so that Ted told him, “My favorite.”
Want to see the entire episode of Chopped After Hours and find out what Marcus cooked? Click the play button on the video above to watch the judges face off, and browse behind-the-scenes photos to see inside the kitchen. Then start a conversation with fellow fans: Do you think the judges’ dishes would have been met with praise had they been judged? Whose dish was the most creative, and who best utilized the basket ingredients?