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Chopped Review: Wurst Case Scenario

This week on Chopped, the contestants were presented with ingredients such as currywurst, popcorn balls, and steel cut oats. While the winning chef got by on cool confidence, panic and anxiety got the better of some of the other chefs this week.

The Contestants:
Geter, Sous chef from Santa Monica, CA.
Michele, Catering chef from New Jersey
Des, Executive chef from New York City
Anup, Chef de cuisine from New York City

This Week’s Judges: Scott Conant, Maneet Chauhan, and Geoffrey Zakarian.

Chopped People

The Appetizer Round: The chefs had 20 minutes to create an appetizer using shrimp, yucca, sweet relish, and currywurst.

As Geoffrey Zakarian said, these chefs must have woken up on the right side of the bed because they were all on fire during this round. All of them managed to present dishes that actually looked like something worth tasting, instead of something that was randomly pulled together in 20 minutes.

The judges were impressed with the presentation of Geter’s Currywurst Yucca Fricassee, though they felt he used a touch too much sriracha in the dish (whether his mother would have agreed is the real question). Des used smoky bacon and the bright relish to pull together his Currywurst Shrimp Ragout, while Anup wowed the judges with some interesting cooking techniques in his Indian-Spiced Currywurst. No one had a more interesting cooking technique than Michele, however:

Slice open your finger with a vegetable peeler, and then proceed to bleed all over Scott Conant’s plate. While her shrimp po boy certainly looked delicious, the judges are not vampires and rightly did not want to eat potentially blood-filled food. I am fairly certain sending her to the chopping block is a decision of which even Geter’s mother would have approved.

The Dinner Round: The contestants had 30 minutes to create an entrée containing Chilean sea bass, dried Wakame seaweed, popcorn balls, and avocados.

Geter served the judges perfectly roasted, well-balanced Popcorn Ball Wakame Dusted Sea Bass, though he mistakenly overcooked the belly of the fish. Des’s Soy Glazed Sea Bass was overly sweet and, ironically enough, needed the sriracha that was overbearing in his appetizer dish. Anup, while definitely setting himself apart as the most aloof contestant of the evening, also set himself apart as the most sophisticated cook by wisely choosing to poach his sea bass in olive oil. 

It was Geter’s error of overcooking his fish belly, however, that stood out to the judges and saw him to the door, leaving Des and Aloof Anup to fight it out in the dessert round.

The Dessert Round: The two remaining contestants had 30 minutes to create a dessert recipe using steel cut oats, feta cheese, watermelon syrup, and huckleberries.

Neither of the chefs really wowed the judges with their desserts (a common theme in recent episodes); Anup showed a crack in his cool demeanor and failed to cook his oatmeal completely, while Des’s cake was too dense for the judges’ delicate palates. They were impressed with Anup’s feta ice cream – which could have easily become too salty – and Des’s use of the oatmeal.

In the end, Anup’s cool confidence really worked in his favor, with his techniques throughout the competition impressing the judges enough to win him the $10,000 prize. From one overly-anxious chef bleeding on a plate to a calm, cool, and collected chef winning, it is pretty clear which personality does the best in the stressful Chopped kitchen.

Thanks for reading – and remember to visit our section of Food Network recipes!