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When it comes to chefs working with mystery basket ingredients, the Chopped judges look for creativity and, above all, an expert incorporation of all the ingredients into one harmonious dish. And sometimes it takes a bit of playing with one’s food to achieve that, or in this case playing with fire. Facing the same dessert basket as the contestants from Chopped: Firefighter Chefs, the judges accomplished exactly that. Alex, Scott and Amanda took up spots in the Chopped Kitchen for an After Hours competition where they cooked with wafer sheets, lemon soda, vanilla pudding cups and a blowtorch.
On the show, the final two competitors were able to make great strides with the ingredients, but neither of them truly created a unified dish. The one whose dish was found to be the most disjointed was ultimately chopped. Alex, Scott and Amanda looked at the ingredients as an opportunity to create unique desserts and the blowtorch as an enhancer of flavor. Alex went the extra mile in using it to char a savory ingredient for her dessert, which impressed her fellow judges the most.
Alex used the wafer sheets to create a Napoleon, drizzling the sheets with white chocolate and layering them with lemon soda sorbet and charred yellow bell pepper, which Scott and Amanda found amazing. Scott made a chocolate basil mousse with lemon sorbet, mascarpone, caramelized sugar and wafer layers. Alex loved the chocolate and basil pairing. Amanda did something very unique with the wafer sheets, forming them into bowls to be filled with lemon curd and topped with toasted meringue. The play on textures excited Scott. In the end after all the dishes had been tasted, Scott underlined what each one of them accomplished: “I don’t see the basket ingredients in any of these dishes. Talk about transformation.”
Click the play button on the video above to watch the entire After Hours episode and to see the dishes Alex, Scott and Amanda created. Then browse behind-the-scenes images for an insider’s look at the cooking.
Start a conversation with fellow fans and tell FN Dish in the comments below how you would have approached this basket: What would you make out of wafer sheets, lemon soda, vanilla pudding cups and a blowtorch?
Catch up on past Chopped After Hours episodes by watching all the Web-exclusive battles online.