by Ricky Smith in Shows, October 6th, 2015
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!”
by Joseph Erdos in Shows, May 26th, 2015
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!”
by Joseph Erdos in Shows, March 31st, 2015
Four celebrated chefs made it into tonight’s Chopped All-Stars finale, taking on the mystery baskets for a chance to win $75,000 for charity. The appetizer round presented them with fish carcass, tasso ham, Calabrian chiles and purple potatoes. And after the episode, judges Alex Guarnaschelli, Geoffrey Zakarian and Scott Conant decided to take on those same baskets. “It’s always a blast when you all leave the judging table,” Ted tells the judges. “It’s a blast for you, because you get to point and laugh at us,” Scott replies. “I think after all this time these might be my two favorite boyfriends that I have,” Alex says playfully, situated between Geoffrey and Scott. “You guys are our original gangsters,” Ted adds.
“A lot of Americans would look at this as garbage,” Ted says, pointing to the fish carcass, which includes a fish head. “This particular fish carcass is cod and a catfish head,” says Geoffrey. “I love how you say that,” says Scott, poking fun at how Geoffrey pronounces “cod.” He points out that most people would probably want to turn the bones into a broth, but with the time constraints it may not be the right choice. “I am dying to cook this,” adds Scott as Ted gives them 20 minutes to create a dish.
by Joseph Erdos in Shows, February 24th, 2015
The chefs of Chopped
were sure surprised to see basket ingredients in disguise in tonight’s April Fools’ episode. Presented with ingredients that appeared to be peas and carrots, grilled cheese, tomato soup and milk, what they actually had were candies, pound cake, strawberry puree and buttermilk. After the episode, the judges — Amanda Freitag, Geoffrey Zakarian and Alex Guarnaschelli — face the dessert round in an all-new Chopped After Hours, cooking with the same deceiving ingredients.
“I have great news! We’re bringing in massage therapists,” says Ted. “I’ve also got vintage Champagne.” But before he goes any further, he blurts out, “None of that is true. It’s our April Fools’ episode!” The baskets were designed to fool the chefs, but the judges feel it’s their duty to bring that same spirit to their dishes. “It’s up to us to have our own version of a reaction to April Fools’,” says Alex, who’s got a few tricks up her sleeve — although Ted may have an even bigger trick up his.
by Joseph Erdos in Shows, January 20th, 2015
Late-night cravings can be pretty weird sometimes, especially when it comes to the types of foods eaten in succession, or even all at once. That was exactly the theme of tonight’s Chopped episode in which the competitors found themselves cooking with mystery baskets full of late-night combinations. And after the episode, the judges — Geoffrey Zakarian, Scott Conant and Maneet Chauhan — face the dessert round in an all-new Chopped After Hours, cooking with a rice and cheese burrito, chocolate milk, whipped cream and apple pie.
“I hate to admit this, but I love these apple pies,” confesses Scott, for what Ted Allen explains is “not the kind your grandma used to make but the kind you might get at a convenience store.” Geoffrey pokes fun at the comment, saying, “I actually got all these things at the gas station on the way here.” Ted underlines the difficulty they might have working with processed foods. But Geoffrey isn’t fazed, as he explains “that any of these foods will taste better with some alcohol.”
For the Chopped
judges, there is no such thing as too bizarre a basket. They’re willing and able to take on even the weirdest one of all. And the entree round from tonight’s Chopped episode was pretty odd, to say the least, containing goat heads, flaming shiso, blue foot mushrooms and kholodets. Judges Chris Santos, Alex Guarnaschelli and Geoffrey Zakarian were excited to get their hands on these ingredients without any aversions — except for maybe Chris, who thinks, of all the ingredients, the kholodets, a Russian jellied meat dish, looks the least appetizing.
Ted Allen wonders if they have any ideas for these unusual ingredients. “I’m quite certain based on history we’re going to come up with three wildly different ideas,” Chris tells Ted about the possibilities that the basket presents. “I think this is a great basket to showcase using ingredients we might not otherwise think are going to become anything,” says Alex. With just 30 minutes on the clock, the judges get right to cooking. “It’s so serious in here,” says Ted. “You guys do know that no one is getting chopped, right?”