Tag: Chopped After Hours

The Challenge of Prepared Products — Chopped After Hours

by in Shows, June 16th, 2013


In the last After Hours episode, Chopped judges tried their hands at ingredients that collectively proved to be some of the most common ever featured on the show, and their experience with them was a challenge in and of itself. Similarly, on tonight’s all-new battle, judges Alex Guarnaschelli, Aarón Sánchez and Marcus Samuelsson faced a basket with one particularly demanding ingredient: lobster bisque. In the same way that the last group of judges had to transform the familiar, Alex, Aarón and Marcus had to redefine something that was already a finished dish.

“I think that’s the hardest [ingredient] right there,” guest judge Amanda Freitag said of the bisque, “’cause someone made it already. And maybe they made it too creamy, too thick.” Her peers understood what she meant by that, and they each went to great lengths to transform the bisque into something else, instead of simply warming it and serving it as-is. Aarón and Alex treated the bisque as the base of their sauces, guajillo and marinara, respectively, while Marcus used the bisque as the building block of another bisque. He added yogurt and white wine to the basket ingredient in an effort to increase its “sourness,” and cooked it with squid, potatoes and daikon radish. What resulted was a “completely complex” offering, according to Aarón .

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11 Things You Didn’t Know About Maneet Chauhan

by in Shows, June 12th, 2013

Maneet ChauhanYou’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.

Maneet Chauhan is a regular judge on Chopped. Viewers may also remember her as a contestant on Season 3 of The Next Iron Chef. After 8 years leading Vermilion restaurant, Maneet started Indie Culinaire, an avant-garde culinary and hospitality company that services events around the country. Her cookbook, Flavors of My World, was recently released. What you may not know about Maneet is that she hates cooking with pineapple. Find out more about Maneet in her Q&A.

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11 Things You Didn’t Know About Geoffrey Zakarian

by in Shows, June 5th, 2013

Geoffrey ZakarianYou’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.

Geoffrey Zakarian is the chef of The Lambs Club and The National, both in New York City. His former New York City restaurants, Town and Country, both received three stars from The New York Times. Besides his judging duties on Chopped, you’ll also find Geoffrey on Iron Chef America. He won the title of Iron Chef in the third season of The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs. One thing you might not have known about Geoffrey is that if he hadn’t become a chef, he might have been a concert pianist.

Read Geoffrey’s Q&A

11 Things You Didn’t Know About Aarón Sánchez

by in Shows, May 29th, 2013

Aaron SanchezYou’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.

In addition to his judging duties on Chopped, Aarón Sánchez is the co-host of Food Network’s Heat Seekers with Roger Mooking. But when he’s not appearing on TV, Aarón is the chef/owner of Kansas City’s Mestizo and the culinary visionary behind Crossroads at House of Blues nationwide and Tacombi Taqueria in New York City. Aarón is also the author of two cookbooks, including Simple Food, Big Flavor. But what you might not have known about Aarón is that if he hadn’t become a chef, he might have been a mariachi singer. Find out more interesting facts about Aarón in his Q&A.

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11 Things You Didn’t Know About Chris Santos

by in Shows, May 22nd, 2013

Chris SantosYou’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.

Chris Santos is the chef behind the communal-concept restaurants Beauty & Essex and The Stanton Social, both on the Lower East Side in New York City. He previously served as the executive chef of the famed Time Cafe and the award-winning Latin restaurant Suba. Chris has also worked as a food stylist and consultant on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and the movie Hitch. When he’s not judging on Chopped or cooking in his restaurants, you’ll find Chris hunting down the city’s best new burger, which is his guilty pleasure!

Read Chris’ Q&A

11 Things You Didn’t Know About Marcus Samuelsson

by in Shows, May 15th, 2013

Marcus SamuelssonYou’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.

Marcus Samuelsson is the acclaimed chef behind Red Rooster Harlem, Ginny’s Supper Club, and American Table Cafe and Bar by Marcus Samuelsson. Marcus is the youngest person to ever receive a three-star review from The New York Times. He was also tasked with planning and executing the Obama Administration’s first State dinner. Marcus has won multiple James Beard Foundation Awards, including Best Chef: New York City and most recently in the category of Writing and Literature for his recent memoir, Yes, Chef. But what you may not know about Marcus is that if he didn’t become a chef, he might have become a professional soccer player. Find out more about Marcus in his Q&A below.

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Transforming the Familiar — Chopped After Hours

by in Shows, May 7th, 2013

The Chopped judges have seen their share of odd, uncommon ingredients come out of the mystery baskets — haggis, goat brains and shad roe sack, to name a few. But sometimes what trips up the competitors more than any strange products is a selection of ordinary ingredients, like eggs, flour tortillas and apples. If the competitors are judged on their abilities to use the basket ingredients, they’ll have to think beyond omelets, tacos and fruit salads, for example, if they want to avoid the Chopping Block.

On tonight’s all-new episode of Chopped, judges Alex Guarnaschelli, Maneet Chauhan and Marc Murphy welcomed four moms to the kitchen with baskets of familiar ingredients that home cooks would likely use. In the entree round, that meant a spread of mustard greens, pork butt, red quinoa and carrot baby food — products that, while perhaps difficult for these nonprofessional cooks, should have been a cinch to prepare for the chef-judges, who later tried their hands at this very basket.

Alex admitted that, with the exception of the baby food, “It’s like a nice, innocent little basket.” But that didn’t stop her and the rest of the panel from facing some of the same challenges the moms did, like how to make a tough piece of pork tender and how to quickly cook quinoa with limited time. During their friendly face-off, Marc resorted to using a meat grinder to break down the pork and make it into meatballs. Maneet incorporated the meat into a casserole-style dish, and Alex took advantage of almost every second of the competition to fully cook her quinoa.

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How Much of a Basket Ingredient Is Enough? — Chopped After Hours

by in Shows, April 30th, 2013

“Use a little or a lot; I heard Ted say it before,” Marc Murphy told substitute host Alex Guarnaschelli during tonight’s premiere episode of Chopped After Hours. He and his competitors, fellow judges Aarón Sánchez and Chris Santos, opted to use only one portion of what was unquestionably the out-of-place ingredient in tonight’s mystery basket: coconut-chocolate bars. With just 30 minutes to cook an entree with the candy, plus pink beans, sofrito and striped bass, the guys didn’t have time to incorporate the bar as a whole, so they picked out of it elements that would be successful in their dishes. For Marc, who in a risky maneuver set off to make a cassoulet, and Chris, who prepared a Thai-style soup, it was the coconut center that was the chosen fraction; Aarón picked out the almonds to feature in his Louisiana-inspired plate of fish and grits.

What do you think of the judges using only a select portion of a mystery basket ingredient? Although doing so may indeed be battling within the rules, should they have worked harder to utilize the candy bar as a whole, or does its unusualness make up for the fact that it wasn’t incorporated fully? If a contestant had done that during competition, would the judges have been as accepting of his or her dish?

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So, What Did You Make? — Chopped After Hours Caption It

by in Shows, April 28th, 2013

Chris Santos, Aaron Sanchez and Marc MurphyWhen it comes to critiquing Chopped competitors’ unusual dishes, the judges aren’t shy about sharing their reactions to the meal; they’re quick to offer opportunities for improvement and suggestions for better offerings. If battles suddenly were to be flipped, however, and the judges faced off with the same mystery baskets as the contestants, would they be able to succeed where others have been chopped?

Last month FN Dish broke the news that for the first time, the judges will be taking over the kitchen in online-only After Hours battles, and on Tuesday, April 30, members of the panel will go head-to-head-to-head with the same ingredients that will be featured on that night’s show. After watching the competition unfold, it will be up to them to take what they’ve learned from the chefs — both successes and missteps — and try their hands at creating plates within the same set of rules and time constraints.

Take a look at the sneak-peek photo above from Tuesday’s judges’ battle. As Chris is concentrating on plating his dish, Aarón and Marc drop by for an early look at what he’s made. Are they there to distract Chris in the final few minutes of cooking, or do you think they’re asking to taste what he’s made? Will the judges prove to competitors everywhere that cooking against the Chopped clock isn’t so difficult after all, or will they struggle like seasons’ worth of competitors have before them?

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Chopped Judges Take Over the Kitchen in After-Hours Competitions

by in Shows, April 2nd, 2013

Chefs Aaron Sanchez, Marc Murphy and Chris SantosNo strangers to the uncommon, unusual ingredients that make their way into mystery baskets, Chopped judges have tasted myriad plates of eccentric eats after more than 14 seasons of competition, but they rarely are able to cook with those ingredients for themselves. That is, until now.

In Chopped After Hours, an all-new series on FoodNetwork.com, the panel is taking over the kitchen. For the first time, the judges are trying their hands at identical combinations of ingredients that have sent home chef competitors. They’ll cook against the clock in the same amount of time as traditional contestants, but among these friends and colleagues there will be as much eating, drinking and playful joking happening at each station as there is high-quality food preparation. None of the judges will settle for creating anything less than masterful meals, but they know well how to balance work and play — and will surely make time for a cocktail or two and even subject their fellow judges to a few hilariously timed interruptions.

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