Tag: Amanda Freitag

Chefs Unite for SHARE’s Second Helping of Life

by in Events, Food Network Chef, September 25th, 2013

SHAREIn the midst of the scary and often isolating world that is cancer diagnoses and treatments, SHARE, a nonprofit organization based in New York City, aims to shed light and foster a compassionate community with the help of volunteers who staff phone lines and offer individualized support for women battling breast and ovarian cancers. The friendly, reassuring voices answering calls from patients, families and friends are often those of survivors themselves, which makes them keenly experienced in navigating the uncertainty that lies ahead. Each year, female chefs from around the city gather to raise money to further SHARE’s mission of care at A Second Helping of Life, a walk-around tasting event showcasing their deliciously inspired eats and drinks.

Corn FlanThis year marks the tenth anniversary of A Second Helping of Life, and to celebrate this milestone, Chopped judge and Next Iron Chef: Redemption runner-up Amanda Freitag spearheaded the event as the executive chef. “I’m just supporting this amazing organization like I do every year … I just find it to be one of the best organizations for women who are going through this,” Amanda told FN Dish on Monday night at Manhattan’s Pier Sixty. When she wasn’t chatting with guests or graciously posing with fans for photos, Amanda worked alongside her culinary team to plate individual corn flans, creamy yet light bites served alongside a watercress salad with crumbled ricotta salata. “I wanted to capture the little bits of summer that we had left in the corn,” she explained of the inspiration behind her dish.

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VOTE: Star vs. Chopped Cocktail Showdown

by in Recipes, Shows, June 2nd, 2013

Fruity Cooler ShowdownWe challenged two prestigious groups — Chopped judges and Food Network Star winners — to a summer recipe showdown. All season long, we’ll present head-to-head matchups of mouthwatering summer recipes from each team — from refreshing cocktails to fresh farmers’-market salads to the juiciest backyard burgers. By voting each week here on FN Dish or on our Fan Feed, you’ll determine the winning recipes.

At the end of the summer, the team that tallies up the most wins will celebrate with an all-star Labor Day party menu. Who will prevail as Summer Showdown champion — Star or Chopped?

This week, we’re toasting the start of June with a pair of refreshing, fruity cocktails. Whose will you shake up for your next summer party? Cast your votes below!

Vote now

11 Things You Didn’t Know About Amanda Freitag

by in Shows, March 30th, 2013

Amanda FreitagYou’ve seen them judge the competition, battle for the title of All-Stars champion and compete in a friendly game with colleagues on After Hours, but there’s a lot you don’t know about the judges of Chopped. Here’s your chance to get to know the nine people behind the Chopping Block.

Amanda Freitag is a regular judge on Chopped. She recently competed in The Next Iron Chef: Redemption, coming in second place. Amanda has been cooking professionally for more than 20 years and has worked under a long list of chefs including Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Alain Passard, Diane Forley and Tom Valenti, to name a few, and it is with great excitement that Amanda is now working toward opening a restaurant of her own. But there are a few things you might not know about Amanda — for example, she loves comfort foods like burgers and pasta but hates certain foods that other chefs would consider favorite delicacies, like sea urchin and monkfish liver. Find out more about Amanda in her Q&A below.

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The Many Faces of Chopped Judges

by in Shows, January 18th, 2013

Chopped JudgesWhether they’re smiling, cringing, panicked about diminishing time on the clock or just stumped by a use of ingredient or technique, all nine of the Chopped judges have very telling faces.

Browse through a gallery of some of the best Chopped judge face-moments captured throughout the seasons.

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Chopped Judges Dish Out Comfort Food at New York City Wine & Food Festival

by in Events, Food Network Chef, October 12th, 2012

Amanda FreitagOn a cool, crisp Thursday night in New York City, there was no better place to be than tucked inside Chef Marc Murphy’s swanky Midtown Manhattan restaurant, Landmarc, surrounded by the entire judges’ panel of Food Network’s Chopped. Yesterday together with Chef Murphy, Chefs Ted Allen, Amanda Freitag, Geoffrey Zakarian, Aarón Sanchez, Alex Guarnaschelli, Maneet Chauhan, Scott Conant, Marcus Samuelsson and Chris Santos kicked off the first night of the New York City Wine & Food Festival with a late-night party to celebrate the show with more than 100 hungry guests.

Each chef cooked up a signature creation, and while their plates ranged from savory snacks and beefy main dishes to sweet dessert treats, they were all reinvented, dressed-up versions of classic comfort food, like pasta, sliders, ice cream sandwiches and more.

Chef Freitag, pictured above, was dishing out an oversized batch of Truffled Orzo With Broccolini and Parmigianino Reggiano. This creamy, cheesy risotto-like pasta was pure comfort in a bowl.

More photos after the jump

Chopped Up: Ted’s All-Star Recap, Round Four

by in Shows, March 27th, 2011

In the last round before the finale, four veterans experienced the other side of the chopping block.

The cast and producers of Chopped get this all the time from fans, on Facebook, on the street, at festivals: Yeah, sure, those judges of yours can pick apart a dish all day long—but could they handle the pressure on the HOT side of the chopping block? For four of our judges, this episode finally put that question to rest for good.

From our newest regular critic, Maneet Chauhan, to veterans Amanda Freitag, Geoffrey Zakarian and Aarón Sanchez, the energy and enthusiasm was incredible—and so were the nerves! In the judges’ lounge before the battle, Geoffrey acted cool as a cucumber (as always), but I didn’t believe him. Aarón was hopping up and down with nervous energy and even more bluster than usual—a different person than the sensitive, hilarious judge you see seated at the Block. Amanda confessed to some butterflies, too, but as a formidable competitor who came in third on The Next Iron Chef, we knew she would be vicious at the stove. Maneet, also a NIC veteran, seemed the least ruffled to me.

For me, this battle was the most anticipated of the whole series. But for the judges, it was the most dreaded. It is not easy to criticize the work of your friends, colleagues and peers, face-to-face, on national television, let alone to chop three out of the four, and Alex Guarnaschelli, in particular, was not looking forward to it. But everybody came in knowing that this was for charity and for fun, and that only one Chopped judge was going to come out on top. So we started the clock and got down to business.

Of course, our judge/competitors had a huge advantage over the average Chopped contestant — they’re all top-flight New York City chefs with years of experience, they know the palates of their colleagues, they know the kitchen inside and out, and not only are they not afraid of cameras, they know how to seduce them.

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Behind the All-Star Chopping Block With Geoffrey Zakarian

by in Shows, March 25th, 2011
Chef Geoffrey Zakarian faces off against three of his fellow Chopped judges this Sunday night.

There’s just one spot left in the Chopped All-Stars finale battle on April 3, and four esteemed chefs are determined to lock it down. In the previous three All-Star battles, some chefs didn’t quite know what they were getting into when they stepped onto the Chopped set. In Round Four, however, these chefs are intimately familiar with the intensity of the show — but they’re usually seated on the judges’ panel.

Geoffrey Zakarian, Aaron Sanchez, Amanda Freitag and Maneet Chauhan are accustomed to doing the chopping, not being on the chopping block, but all four were excited to turn the tables and compete for their favorite charities. We chatted with Chef Geoffrey about the experience of being a Chopped competitor, the camaraderie among his fellow judges, and where he’ll be watching the battle unfold this Sunday night.

Did you hesitate at all before signing on to compete on Chopped All-Stars, since you know just how tough it is?
I didn’t hesitate a bit. It was terrific, although it’s very difficult. I’ve done Iron Chef and this I believe is more difficult. Everything is wilderness. I mean, 20 minutes? It’s borderline impossible when you really come to grips with what you’re trying to do. It was as hard as I thought it would be. I was ready to do it, but when you get there in the morning it’s very nerve-wracking.

Did the experience change the way you judge at all?
We always knew it was hard, but this just really emphasized how hard it actually is. The reality is whether you get bad ingredients or good ingredients, it’s hard. It’s almost harder when you get good ingredients! When you’ve got rack of lamb, sometimes all the plates turn out the same. With some wild stuff, you get a small chance of putting together some very interesting combinations.

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