Chopped All-Stars brings together famous chefs, talent from Food Network and Cooking Channel, current Chopped judges and popular celebrities to compete for a chance at winning the title of All-Stars champion and $50,000 for charity. Though these competitors seem completely unrelated, the one thing that connects them is a shared love for food. But above all they want a chance at giving back to the charities they care about. See how well you know each all-star in this quiz.
All Posts In Shows
Joe and Dena White, owners of Joe Willy’s Seafood House in Fishkill, N.Y., looked to Robert Irvine to save not only their restaurant but their family too, as the stress of their declining business had put a load of frustration and tension between them. It was up to Robert to hone in on the most-critical issues plaguing Joe Willy’s and work with his Restaurant: Impossible team to attempt to fix them in only two days and with just $10,000. He quickly learned that many of the restaurant’s problems stemmed from its poor-quality food, made by Joe, the head chef, so he focused his efforts on implementing an improved menu that Joe could execute with ease. After 48 hours of renovations, Joe Willy’s reopened to a dining room full of guests with Joe and Dena at the helm, now working harmoniously. We checked in with Dena a few months after the transformation to find out how Joe Willy’s is doing.
Since its Restaurant: Impossible experience, the restaurant has enjoyed a significant boost in business, Dena says, explaining that “sales have tripled to quadrupled at times.” Since they’re now making a profit, Dena notes that it’s “much easier to pay bills, rent and staff, and make improvements,” and says that they’ve begun to catch up on their debt.
The Chopped Kitchen has seen many talented chefs, including its own Chopped judges, compete. Tonight contenders with considerable competitive prowess took each other on in the second round of the All-Star competition. With winning titles like Food & Wine Magazine‘s 10 Best New Chefs and hands-on experience in competitive cooking shows like Next Iron Chef, four mega-chefs, Chuck Hughes, Elizabeth Falkner, Gavin Kaysen and Richard Blais took on the dreaded mystery basket ingredients.
If you missed the show and recorded it, don’t read any further — FN Dish is about to break down the episode and chat with the runner-up.
Week after week, Chopped fans tune in to watch four eager chef competitors take their places in the kitchen for a chance to outcook the chopping block and score the coveted title of Chopped Champion. Not only facing off against each other, the contestants battle baskets full of mystery ingredients like shad roe sacks, black garlic, pig ears and duck hearts — products and produce that are so unusual that some chefs have neither seen nor tasted them before in their career.
Working with such oddball selects surely invites a host of unique problems, including overcooked proteins and underdone grains, but the most-common mistake made among chefs isn’t one resulting from obscure ingredients. Instead, it’s something that trips up even home cooks as they prepare everyday meals for their families.
Speaking to a crowd at the Borgata Hotel Spa & Casino in Atlantic City, longtime Chopped judge Geoffrey Zakarian said that the most-prominent error in competitors’ dishes is seasoning. No stranger to the highs and lows in the Chopped kitchen, he’s tasted his share of meals that have proved to be near disasters simply because chefs used too little of two of the most-basic ingredients found in restaurant and home kitchens alike: salt and pepper. “Nobody puts salt and pepper in their food,” he said. “Amazing. Shocking.”
What cooking conundrums do you struggle with in the kitchen? Tell FN Dish in the comments below.
What to Watch: Laila Ali Cooks With Paula, Jeff’s Italian Sandwiches and Lance Bass Judges on Cupcake Warsby Joseph Erdos in Shows, April 12th, 2013
This weekend there is a bunch of new episodes on Food Network that are sure to give you some great entertaining ideas and glue you to your seat with exciting action.
On Saturday, watch all-new episodes from Paula, Ree and Giada. First, boxer Laila Ali joins Paula in the kitchen to make some hearty favorites. Then Ree is cooking fun finger foods for a cousin sleepover party at the lodge. Later, Giada is hosting a luncheon for a group of special ladies.
Start Sunday morning with Jeff and his Italian-inspired sandwiches. Follow it up with some competition in the evening, beginning with a “Fan Favorites” episode of Cupcake Wars judged by special guest Lance Bass. Afterward, it’s Round 2 of Chopped All-Stars, where mega-chefs battle it out in the kitchen for a chance at competing in the grand finale. And finally, on Restaurant: Impossible, Robert helps a couple save their seafood restaurant and, in turn, save their family.
Blaue Gans, German for “blue goose,” is a Wirtshaus-style restaurant in New York City serving modern Austro-German cuisine. It is one of five establishments owned by esteemed chef and published cookbook author Kurt Gutenbrunner. After promoting the restaurant’s current chef to oversee all operations, Kurt needed a new chef for Blaue Gans, so he turned to Anne Burrell and the Chef Wanted team for help. Four candidates were brought in, and after two rigorous cooking tests and two dinner services, an offer was extended to Chef Carsten Vollrath.
Originally from Germany, Chef Vollrath has been living and working in the United States for the past 10 years. He has wanted to become a chef since the age of 17, and he’s always dreamed of coming to New York City. He thinks Blaue Gans will become his new home away from home.
Earlier this week, FN Dish caught up with Alex Guarnaschelli for a Facebook chat about Season 3 of Chopped All-Stars. Alex answered questions about what it’s like to compete and what it’s like to be a judge. She also chatted about her cooking and shared a favorite recipe from her recently released debut cookbook, Old-School Comfort Food.
Some of the mystery basket ingredients that get used on Chopped are pretty unusual, to say the least. But the culinary producers who come up with them don’t just draw them out of a hat — though sometimes it does seem that way! They take their time to decide on the ingredients, making sure the basket components are just right and actually manageable. FN Dish queried the culinary producers to find out the top 16 weirdest basket ingredients they’ve had on the show. The list of ingredients ranged from goat brains to gummy eggs over easy — almost no ingredient is off-limits.
Now it’s up to you, Chopped fans, to vote on the ingredient you think is the weirdest of them all in this four-round bracket tournament, which coincides with the new season of Chopped All-Stars.
May Madness hits Food Network this spring as Iron Chefs battle it out — one-on-one — in the first-ever Iron Chef America: Tournament of Champions. With five episodes and a panel of revolving judges, the tournament features high-stakes, bracket-style battles between the best of the best in the culinary world. The tournament begins Sunday, May 5 at 10pm/9c with a face-off between the two newest Iron Chefs, Alex Guarnaschelli and Geoffrey Zakarian.