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Chopped Recap: Close Call

This week on Chopped, two obnoxiously competitive brothers went head to head in an appetizer round that included gefilte fish and kimchi.

Thankfully, only one of the brothers made it through to the rest of the competition, making the rest of the show much more bearable.

The Contestants:
Sean, Executive chef
Emilie, Personal chef
Mike, Caterer/Internet chef
Josh, Caterer/Internet chef (and Mike’s brother)

This Week’s Judges: Aaron Sanchez, Maneet Chauhan, and Geoffrey Zakarian.

from Chopped

The Appetizer Round

The chefs had 20 minutes to create an appetizer using kimchi, gefilte fish, applesauce, and lavash.

Sean started the competition out with a beautifully presented Gefilte Fish Cake and Kimchi Salad, though the judges had mixed reviews regarding his fish recipe. Emilie really wowed the judges with the flavors and creative use of basket ingredients in her Lavash Toast with Kimchi Butter and Fish Mousse, although her poor choice of salad greens could have gotten her sent home.

The brothers, of course, spent most of the time insisting that the other’s dish was inferior; in reality, however, the judges praised Mike’s boldness with the heat in his “taco” while they had a hard time finding the cohesion in Josh’s dish. In the end, the judges said that they decided to send Josh home for his poor meal planning, though I suspect that they were already sick of having both brothers in the same kitchen.

The Dinner Round

The contestants had 30 minutes to create an entrée containing brook trout, creamed corn, kale chips, and bacon flavored vodka.

Maneet declared Emilie to be the comeback kid in this round; the cook on her trout was perfect and she was able to achieve a creamy risotto in a miraculously small amount of time. Mike also received good reviews on his dish – until the judges got to his Pepper and Strawberry Salad.

Not surprisingly, the judges did not seem to be fans of combining raw peppers and strawberries and calling it a salad recipe. Sean, on the other hand, was successful with each of the elements on his plate, but the judges felt that the plate was missing something to make it “pop”. Yet it was Mike’s heinous excuse for a salad that got him sent to the chopping block, leaving Emilie and Sean to battle it out in the dessert round.

The Dessert Round

The two remaining contestants had 30 minutes to create a dessert using opal basil, orange blossom water, dried apricots, and marshmallow snack cakes.

In this round, both chefs wanted to show off their ability to create an ice cream recipe out of almost anything. 

Unfortunately, Emilie’s Orange Blossom Apricot Ice Cream was over-churned and very rich, while Sean’s Maple Bacon Ice Cream was overpowered by orange blossom water.

At the end of the day, however, the other elements of Sean’s dessert helped to give him the boost he needed to win the competition and take home the $10,000 prize.