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Chopped Review: “Wasted”

This week’s episode of Chopped featured a lesson in waste not, want not: all of the basket ingredients were items that “untrained” cooks might throw away, but “skilled” chefs should be able to utilize to their advantage.

The Contestants:
Parind – Chef/owner from Austin, Texas.
Dylan – Executive chef from West Hollywood, California.
Molly – Executive chef/owner from Texas.
Garrett – Chef-for-hire from Brooklyn, New York.

This Week’s Judges: Marcus Samuelson, Alex Guarnaschelli, and Geoffrey Zakarian.

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The Appetizer Round: The chefs had 20 minutes to create an appetizer recipe using pickle juice, herb stems, overripe tomatoes, and fish carcasses.

These quartet definitely was not thrown by the twist in these baskets, and they approached the “wasted” ingredients with confidence – and perhaps a bit of arrogance, in the case of the men.

Garrett served Pickled Cod Salad with layers of flavor that textures that the judges loved. Dylan used his 20 minutes to create a surprisingly rich Mediterranean Fish Broth, while Parind spent much of his time changing his mind about his fish dish, ultimately making a poorly executed Cod Ceviche.

Luckily for Parind, Molly’s error in not plating all of her fish and serving raw tomatoes was greater than his poor ceviche, and Molly was sent to the chopping block.

The Dinner Round: The contestants had 30 minutes to create an entrée containing wilted carrots, potatoes with eyes, Parmesan cheese rind and meat trimmings.

This basket was a bit more of a challenge for the chefs. Had they had more time, perhaps each of the chefs could have done more for the tough meat trimmings, but as it stood, Garret’s Chuck Steak with Beef Broth truly transformed the ingredients, but showed lack of attention to the beef.

Dylan’s dish shared a similar fate; his technique on the risotto was spot-on, especially for the amount of time that he had, but the beef was too tough. Parind, on the other hand, again spent most of his time changing his mind while talking a big game.

As Alex Guarnaschelli wisely noted, he spoke a lot about his experience, but didn’t show any regard for technique as he served the judges a disjointed Mediterranean-American Taco with more problems than redeeming qualities. Despite this, the judges surprisingly chose to chop Dylan for his mistake in cooking the beef scraps and the Arborio rice for his risotto together.

The Dessert Round: The two remaining contestants had 30 minutes to create a dessert using the ends of bread loaves, squeezed orange halves, coffee grinds, and hardened brown sugar.

Marcus felt that there was a lot of care put into Garrett’s Caramelized Apples with Coffee Bread Sauce, but it needed one more element to really pull it all together. Parind, on the other hand, had a very heavy hand with the sugar and the booze in his Crumpets with Orange Devon Cream, which really overwhelmed the judges.

In the end, Parind talked the talk but could not walk the walk; his overwhelming arrogance was perhaps what kept him from performing as well as he could in this competition, and Garrett went home with the title of Chopped champion and the $10,000 prize.

Thank you for reading – and remember to visit our updated section of Food Network recipes today!