by Ricky Smith in Shows, November 26th, 2015
by Ricky Smith in Shows, November 24th, 2015
Having a glass or two of wine in the Chopped
kitchen isn’t a rare occurrence, but during this round it’s almost a necessity. That’s because judges Amanda Freitag, Marc Murphy and Alex Guarnaschelli are taking on the appetizer basket from the Pub Food episode of chopped. On the all-new episode of Chopped After Hours
, they’re required to use house-cured bacon, deviled eggs, fish cheeks and housemade pickles in a completely original appetizer.
Amanda is not shy about admitting her love for the basket: “I look at the whole thing and I think, ‘Thank you.’ You have acid, you have fat, you have bacon, you have eggs and you have fish cheeks!” She starts off using the brine from the pickles, which she and Ted Allen both agree is underutilized at home and should be saved more often. “Amanda and I are starting an organization called Pickles without Borders,” Ted says. Alex is using the pickle brine in a vinaigrette to go alongside a frito misto — a platter of fried foods that she does not think she has enough time to finish. When Ted disagrees, Alex replies, “I appreciate the vote of confidence, my friend, but, you know, we’re only human, Ted.”
by Joseph Erdos in Shows, November 23rd, 2015
The dessert basket in the Cooking with Bass episode of Chopped
may seem like a great start to dessert, but judges Amanda Freitag, Maneet Chauhan and Marc Murphy aren’t too enthusiastic. On a new Chopped After Hours
, they must cook a final course using zucchini, chocolate-covered raisins, peanut brittle and vanilla liqueur. “What’s the first initial problem with all of this?” Ted Allen asks. “Too sweet!” the judges reply unanimously.
They all realize the zucchini is going to be their saving grace when it comes to toning down the sweetness. Marc points out that you can make a zucchini cake just as easily as you can make a carrot cake, to which Maneet replies, “You can — ’cause that’s exactly what I’m going to do!” They all get off to a quick start, with Marc whisking up a batter for zucchini fritters. Amanda doesn’t want to give away her dish, so she just shouts, “I’m making a cake — that’s all you need to know!”
by Ricky Smith in Shows, November 10th, 2015
There’s no question that every competitor wants to make it to the final round on Chopped
for a chance to win the $10,000. But reaching the dessert round can also be intimidating to those with little pastry experience. Tonight, for the first time, all the rounds featured dessert baskets, and luckily the competitors were all pastry chefs. And the judges were anxious to try one of the baskets for themselves.
In a new episode of After Hours, judges Maneet Chauhan, Geoffrey Zakarian and Alex Guarnaschelli took on cooking with Mississippi mud pie, maraschino cherries, Brie and potato crisps. “I mean, I don’t know about you, but this is a go-to meal for me at home,” Alex jokes with Ted Allen about the ingredients. Ted tells the judges that they will have to feature chocolate in their desserts, which the cohorts agree won’t be difficult at all.
by Ricky Smith in Shows, October 6th, 2015
While it’s almost always difficult to make a cohesive meal from one of the Chopped
mystery baskets, the judges were thankful that this week’s ingredients were all usual suspects for a dessert. After a group of talented military vets left the kitchen, judges Alex Guarnaschelli, Geoffrey Zakarian and Marc Murphy attempted to make a third course out of lemonade, ballpark peanuts, marshmallow cereal treats and peaches on an all-new Chopped After Hours
Alex mentioned that she was glad they left the peanuts in the shell for an extra layer of flavor, but Marc immediately disagreed. “I like the peanuts with the shell, too, but not on Chopped,” he said before pointing out how much time they take to shuck. He ended up attempting to make a sort of brittle out of them, which became the source of a fun game of hide-and-seek between Marc and the others. “Somebody evil has hid Marc’s, hopefully, peanut brittle from him, and now I’m going to join that game and I’m putting it on a high shelf in the pantry,” Ted said.
by Joseph Erdos in Shows, September 3rd, 2015
Things are always a little scary in the Chopped
kitchen, but judges Chris Santos, Alex Guarnaschelli and Geoffrey Zakarian had the challenge of making it even more terrifying this week. After a special Halloween episode, they took on the spooky dessert basket filled with Day of the Dead cookies, a boo-nilla shake, chocolate-covered bugs and a watermelon brain for an all-new Chopped After Hours
Alex quickly noticed that the basket ingredients would need some work, pointing out that the icing on the cookies was just powdered sugar, food coloring and water. “Deceptively brilliant in color and extremely light on flavor,” she said. All three judges opted for the watermelon as their main flavor-enhancer, using it in three frozen variations. Geoffrey also added slices right to his plate as Ted worried it’s too simple. “It’s going to stay that way,” Geoffrey said. “What I’m doing is so out there, it’s beyond me, even.”
by Ricky Smith in Shows, August 18th, 2015
Some people go to the carnival for the rides, others go for the wide selection of foods. And if you’re at the right kind of carnival, the food is an adventure in and of itself. On tonight’s episode of Chopped
, the competitors were struck with utilizing baskets filled with carnival-themed foods, many of them fried. After the episode, judges Maneet Chauhan and Scott Conant, and host Ted Allen, headed to the kitchen to try out the entree basket of hot beef sundae, fried spiced ham, fried cheese ravioli and fresh asparagus.
“I’d much rather be on a Ferris wheel,” says Maneet as host Geoffrey Zakarian reveals the products. “I’m throwing this entire basket into the food processor and I’m making, like, a milkshake,” Ted tells his colleagues. Scott, not sure of what he’s going to make, likes the idea. But really the task at hand is figuring out how much or how little to use of the precooked ingredients.
by Ricky Smith in Shows, July 7th, 2015
Trying to upstage a group of rock stars isn’t easy, but when the stage is the Chopped
kitchen, judges Chris Santos, Alex Guarnaschelli and Aarón Sanchez definitely have an advantage. After an episode dedicated to rock stars, they took on the wacky dessert basket filled with spiced German liqueur, lemon rolls, rock candy and ginger for an all-new Chopped After Hours
Aarón immediately starts melting the brightly colored candy down into some of the liqueur. Ted Allen asks, “That’s not going to be blue, is it?” Aarón isn’t sure, but he says he needs to cut the sweetness a bit by tempering the candy with some cream. Alex is also trying to change the flavor of the liqueur to make a sauce. “I’m actually trying to spice it because I think the spices and the heat from the ginger might just kind of freshen it up a little,” she says.
by Ricky Smith in Shows, June 16th, 2015
Things got fishy tonight on an all-new Chopped when Ted Allen announced that the entree basket would contain something known as trash fish, or porgy — a type of fish that used to be a cast-off. That along with olive tapenade, blood oranges and vermicelli (rice) noodles made up the required ingredients, which proved challenging. Amanda Freitag, Marc Murphy and Geoffrey Zakarian took on the basket during a new installment of Chopped After Hours.
Amanda’s plan gets off to a rough start as she tries to deep-fry the rice noodles and realizes they’re not getting crisp. She makes some adjustments to speed up the process. “I cranked this, too, because I know my other chef competitors, they would like to use the fryer as well,” she says. “Look how considerate I am!” Geoffrey is convinced otherwise, asking where she put his pink peppercorns, which are actually on the ledge above his stove.
by Ricky Smith in Shows, June 2nd, 2015
There was no escaping smoky flavors on tonight’s episode of Chopped, as each basket contained barbecue-themed ingredients. That was no problem for judges Amanda Freitag, Marc Murphy and Maneet Chauhan as they dug into the entree basket after the competitors left the set. On an all-new Chopped After Hours, they took on some classic ‘cue ingredients: North Carolina BBQ sauce, avocado, rainbow chard and spareribs.
“The other barbecue sauce, you’re kind of stuck going down one road,” Marc says. “Here you can go maybe more on the Asian side or probably maybe Indian direction.” Everyone else agrees that they are happy about the choice of sauce. Maneet ends up going in a completely different direction, trying her hand at making a Brazilian stew called feijoada. It includes rice, which she decides to make in the microwave. Ted thinks it’s a great time-saver, saying “I don’t know why more people don’t do that!”
Things got spicy on tonight’s episode of Chopped
, with all of the baskets packing some heat — including dessert. While most would be hesitant to make something sweet from a basket full of fiery foods, the Chopped judges — Alex Guarnaschelli, Marc Murphy and Maneet Chauhan — handled it flawlessly, using some very out-of-the-box combinations after the episode ended. On an all-new Chopped After Hours
, they try their hand at the dessert round with chile pepper honey, devil’s food tres leches cake, pink lemons and canary melon.
“You’ve got to make sure you taste your ingredients before you cook with them,” Marc says as he coughs from the heat of the chile pepper honey. When Ted points out that he can assure Marc the canary melon is not hot and will offer some relief, Marc doubts his assurance, saying, “Well, maybe — you know — in the Chopped basket they might have infused the hot in here somehow. They might have put, like, a syringe in here!”