by Joseph Erdos in Shows, January 24th, 2017
by Joseph Erdos in Shows, December 17th, 2015
Dealing with regular basket ingredients is a feat in itself on Chopped
, but working with themed baskets, like in the recent noodles episode, is pretty tough, especially when fresh pasta dough is an ingredient. The question is: Do you make pasta with it, or do you do something else? And will that something else be perceived as a cop-out decision? That’s exactly what went down when the judges took a stab at it.
In this episode of Chopped After Hours, Marcus Samuelsson, Amanda Freitag and Scott Conant cook with the entree basket ingredients. With sausage and meatballs, chayote squash, tomato sorbet and pasta dough, they make a variety of dishes, although only two of the judges use the pasta in its intended way. The running joke of the episode is that Scott made the pasta himself. “I was up this morning very early making pasta dough with my hands,” says Scott, beckoning the others to look at his overworked fingers, which leads to a conversation about Scott’s chest hair. But let’s get back to the cooking. “Thirty minutes to determine,” says Ted Allen, “who’s the best chef in the room?” The chefs happily take up the challenge, but Scott has to have the last words: “I’m already halfway there with my pasta.”
by Joseph Erdos in Shows, December 15th, 2015
On this episode of Chopped After Hours
, judges Maneet Chauhan, Chris Santos and Amanda Freitag get in the kitchen to cook the entree basket from the Battle of the Grandpas episode. They are faced with utilizing London broil, rutabaga, broccoli rabe and peanut butter taffy bites, and the big question Ted poses is what the judges would do with the beef, since it’s such a tough cut. “Hard sear, lots of resting,” Amanda offers, and Chris says, “Typically you’d attack it with some kind of fat.” The two judges decide to do just that, but Maneet takes the meat in an entirely different direction.
by Joseph Erdos in Shows, December 10th, 2015
Tonight after the Family Affair episode of Chopped
, judges Geoffrey Zakarian, Marc Murphy and Maneet Chauhan go into the kitchen to try out the appetizer basket in a new episode of Chopped After Hours
. With just 20 minutes they have to cook with a pork roll, pizza dough, baby eggplant and Chinese spaghetti sauce. “Whatever that is,” says Ted Allen about the jarred ingredient, which Marc promptly dares him to swig. But Ted refuses; instead he asks the judges, “Why don’t you guys do your best to mask this flavor?” But the dares don’t stop there, as we’ll see in the episode.
by Ricky Smith in Shows, December 8th, 2015
Tonight the ladies of Chopped
, or the “Charlie’s Angels of Chopped,” as Alex Guarnaschelli put it, judged a special mother-in-law and daughter-in-law episode of the show. And on After Hours
the ladies are busting into the kitchen to take on one of the baskets from the episode. Judges Amanda Freitag, Maneet Chauhan and Alex take on cooking with lasagna, onion blossom chips, arugula and a wine purse. “This was one of the more catastrophic appetizer baskets that we’ve seen,” says Alex as the ladies chat about the basket’s difficulties. But there’s no doubt the three will succeed, despite it being a 20-minute appetizer round.
by Ricky Smith in Shows, December 1st, 2015
Everyone has leftover holiday food in the fridge after all the celebrations are over, and that’s exactly what was in the mystery basket from the Holiday Cooking episode of Chopped
. On an all-new Chopped After Hours
, judges Scott Conant, Aarón Sánchez and Geoffrey Zakarian were tasked with creating an entree with beef tenderloin, gingersnap cocktail, potato latkes and tzimmes.
by Ricky Smith in Shows, November 26th, 2015
Normally, well-respected chefs would cringe at the thought of boxed macaroni and cheese, but the appetizer basket from the special Mac and Cheese episode of Chopped is a different story. “If someone doesn’t use that little bag of powder in here, total cop-out — you’re chopped,” Alex Guarnaschelli says. In this new installment of Chopped After Hours, Alex — along with her fellow judges Maneet Chauhan and Aarón Sánchez — must make an appetizer using boxed mac and cheese, Canadian bacon, Swiss chard and monkfish.
Alex begins studding her monkfish with the bacon for flavor and plans on making a macaroni and cheese sauce for the dish. “I’m going full-on blasphemy and anarchy,” she says of her dish. Aarón and Maneet are going a little more traditional, however. Aarón is making escabeche (a Spanish fish dish made with vinegar) while Maneet has envisioned the fish with a korma sauce (a traditional Indian nut-based sauce). When Maneet and Aarón realize they’re both using saffron for their sauces, Aarón responds, “You’ve been saffroned.”
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.
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.