- The Final Four of Chopped All-Stars: Anne Burrell, Nate Appleman, Michael Proietti and Aarón Sanchez.
In this corner: Chef Michael Proietti, a fan favorite from season 5 of The Next Food Network Star, competing on behalf of the Jed Foundation;
Next: Chef Nate Appleman, James Beard Award Winner, Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chef cover boy, Iron Chef America challenger and competitor on The Next Iron Chef, cooking for the Kawasaki Disease Foundation;
And then: Chef Anne Burrell, star of Secrets of a Restaurant Chef, co-host of Worst Cooks in America, and longtime right hand for Mario Batali on Iron Chef America, competing to help the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation;
And, finally, the Chairman of Chiles, the Tortilla King: Latin-cuisine impresario Chef Aarón Sanchez, beloved Chopped judge, veteran of Iron Chef America and The Next Iron Chef, co-star of Chefs vs. City, playing for the Greater New Orleans Foundation.
The day had finally come. We started with 16 chefs competing for $50,000 to be awarded to a charity of their choice and in the end, it all came down to dessert. I don’t think we’ve ever seen competitions this close or food this outstanding. This competition has been rigorous for the contestants but almost equally challenging for the judges. Every deliberation in this All-Stars series has been tough. These contestants have been consistently dishing up truly killer food under nearly impossible conditions.
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- The third round of Chopped All-Stars featured four culinary heavy-hitters.
Now this is stone-cold talent: For the third episode of Chopped All-Stars, three of our four celebrity chefs have competed in the culinary Super Bowl that is Iron Chef America: Chefs Beau MacMillan, Anita Lo and Nate Appleman. And one of them, Chef MacMillan, in a battle I was lucky enough to judge, actually won there, an incredibly difficult feat. The remaining competitor, lovable Frenchman Jacques Torres, is one of the most famous and successful chocolatiers in the world—a force to be reckoned with in any dessert competition. But could he get there?
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- On Chopped All-Stars this Sunday, Nate Appleman faces off against three other well-regarded chefs. Read on to find out who he considered his biggest threat.
This Sunday’s episode of Chopped All-Stars features four celebrity chefs with serious culinary chops. Anita Lo is a longtime fixture on the New York City restaurant scene, Beau MacMillan helms an applauded restaurant in Phoenix, pastry chef Jacques Torres is often credited with creating the best chocolate chip cookie on the planet and Nate Appleman has run successful restaurants on both coasts and has a James Beard Award (for Rising Star Chef) under his belt.
In anticipation of his Chopped appearance, Nate sat down to chat with us about competing for his son, how this experience compared to his run on Season Two of The Next Iron Chef, and what motivated him to recently make the move from an upscale restaurant kitchen to…Chipotle? That’s right — visit New York’s Chelsea location and you just might score a burrito made by a celebrity chef.
Did competing on Chopped bring back memories of your experience on The Next Iron Chef, Season Two?
It did, it brought back a lot of memories, just the competition aspect of the whole thing. By doing The Next Iron Chef, I realized how much I missed competition like that; I mean like when you’re a kid and you compete in games or whatever it is. It brought back that desire to want to compete. It was just really fun to do.
Was Chopped very different from NIC?
The timing of everything is very different, not only that Chopped is just one day but the timing of the battle, it’s 20 and 30 minute rounds versus…I think the shortest Next Iron Chef challenge was 45 minutes. It’s also different because on The Next Iron Chef I felt like I was really competing for myself. This time I was competing for everybody out there who went through the same thing I went through with my son. I did it to raise money for his disease through the Kawasaki Disease Foundation. I felt like I was doing it for everyone besides me.
Was Chopped harder than you expected?
It is at least twice as hard as The Next Iron Chef. It truly, truly is. Here, they open the basket and go. It was mind-blowing. I was trying to peek in the basket to see what was in there; it is a real surprise. I’ve always been a fan of Iron Chef, so watching that and Chopped, I’d think, what would I do with that as quickly as possible? That ended up being something that helped me; I was used to thinking that way, in a very quick manner. Then again, actually putting that to the test is very different from sitting on your couch watching.
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