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Who knew? Chopped "All Stars" coming in March!

  • c

Recently, I started a thread about how it would be excellent if the tables were reversed on Chopped, and the judges had to cook.

Little did I know at that time that such a thing was actually in the works! From my local newspaper, here's the lineup:

"The competition will air at 9 p.m. Sundays starting March 6. Here’s the schedule:

March 6: Brad Sorenson, Debbie Lee, Lisa Garza, Michael Proietti

March 13: Anne Burrell, Claire Robinson, Duff Goldman, Robert Irvine

March 20: Anita Lo, Beau MacMillan, Jacques Torres, Nate Appleman

March 27: Aaron Sanchez, Amanda Freitag, Geoffrey Zakarian, Maneet Chauhan

April 3: Final showdown featuring one winner from each round."

Alex Guarnaschelli won't compete, but she'll be a judge.

I knew it was a good idea...

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    1. nice! i wish my boy Conant was competing, but it's still a great lineup. thanks for posting this. the timing for when it starts is perfect too - close to when the TC All-Star finale will be airing.

      21 Replies
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        Yeah, where's Scott Conant??

        Basket just for Conant: pearl onions, Vidalia onions, leeks, and shallots ... no use of fire or heat in this round!

          1. re: ipsedixit

            It's judges who have to taste this, not the contestant.

            1. re: paulj

              I think actually being forced to prepare raw onions would be more professionally traumatic than actually having to taste them.

              I wonder what's worse for a vegetarian ... eating meat, or cooking it for others to eat.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                That may be depend on the reasons for being vegetarian. if for health or taste, it is probably harder to taste than to prepare. If for moral reasons, both would violate their principals.

                There's a segment on The Splendid Table this week with the author of a book about animals we love, animals we hate, and animals we eat. He notes that 'moral' vegetarians cheat less.

                1. re: paulj

                  well i can't speak for anyone else, but during my 21 years as a vegetarian i absolutely couldn't fathom eating meat. the concept of "cheating" is bizarre to me - you're either a vegetarian or you're not. however, i did cook meat on certain occasions for other people. i wasn't happy about it, but i did it.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    You must be one of those true vegetarians who has never 'fallen off the wagon'! But apparently (according to the author I cited) there are people who claim to be vegetarian, but in unguarded moments (as in phone surveys) will admit to eating non-vegetarian items. But what struck me as most interesting was the connection between reasons for being vegetarian and the degree to which it is practiced.

                    But Scott's dislike of raw onions probably has more to do with their taste than any compunction about serving onions raw. Now his dislike of cheese with seafood may be closer to a moral issue - or at least a strongly held cultural taboo.

                    1. re: paulj

                      But Scott's dislike of raw onions probably has more to do with their taste than any compunction about serving onions raw. Now his dislike of cheese with seafood may be closer to a moral issue - or at least a strongly held cultural taboo.
                      im sure you're right...but i think in this case, dislike may be a more challenging obstacle for him to overcome. i could swear there was a recent challenge pairing fish with cheese in which he acknowledged that one or two of the dishes was good...but he's never liked anything with raw onions!

                      oh, and yes, i *was* one of those vegetarians who stayed with my butt planted firmly on the wagon seat from the first day to the last...but i jumped off with both feet several years ago, for a couple of reasons.

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        I've never really understood vegetarians that "cheat".

                        If you're doing it for ethical (or personal) reasons, then just have some conviction if you really believe in your own ethos.

                        If you're doing it for health reasons, then I just have to say that there are ways to eat healthy by incorporating meats (even "bad" meats like bacon), and those ways are probably healthier than being a strict vegetarians, esp. if you go through life feeling deprived.

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          right, but my point is that if you're going to incorporate meat into your diet, you're not a vegetarian! i get the sense that some people claim to be vegetarians even though they occasionally eat meat because they think it makes them appear to be more virtuous somehow....which IMO is just silly.

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            Yes, it's always been a puzzle to me when customers or clients would say "I'm a vegetarian, I only eat fish" Huh?!?!??? Either you are or you aren't. Eating fish puts you into the "aren't" category.

                            1. re: DiningDiva

                              Because pescatarian sounds like a Zodiac sign?

                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                my one explanation as someone who for 10 years didn't eat red meat - and used to just say simply that, but got a lot of bizarre looks in the midwest 15 years ago - sometimes it's easier to say you're a vegetarian even when you know you're not. people pestered me with tons of questions about why i didn't eat red meat - truth was it gave me terrible GI symptoms that i just didn't want to discuss with everyone. when i got pregnant with my second child (never even wanted it with my first) i got anemic, craved burgers and steak and have been able to eat it ever since. but when i said i was a vegetarian people said nothing, even if i said i sometimes ate fish. or even chicken. weird, i know. :)

                        2. re: paulj

                          -now his dislike of cheese with seafood-

                          i really think this is one he needs to get over. immediately writing off any dish that combines cheese and seafood eliminates some really good dishes that i have eaten. including several italian ones! it really makes me angry when he does that. try it first, THEN if you dont like it talk about the cheese and fish. but dont assume you wont like it just because there happen to be cheese an fish on the same plate.

                          1. re: mattstolz

                            agreed. glad to know i'm not the only one. i thought maybe i was crazy but i'd have sworn that wasn't true everywhere i'd been.

                            1. re: AMFM

                              parmesan crusted fish is one of my favorite things to order! its delicious!

                2. re: ipsedixit

                  Plus lots and lots of white pepper, for his only seasoning choice. Have a nice round, Scott! : )

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      "Yeah, where's Scott Conant?"
                      I know huh? And his gorgeous teeth and equally lovely face. Dang...........oh well.
                      I know which episodes I'll make sure to tape just by reading the lineup, thanks to OP

                      1. re: iL Divo

                        oh i *hope* he'll show up as a judge at some point! he's definitely not competing, and the current list of judges doesn't include him, but a girl can dream...

                        then again, it wouldn't surprise me if he's not at all involved this time around. he's been busy opening restaurants :)

                      2. re: ipsedixit

                        and red onions, we all know how he hates red onions raw or otherwise, and doesn't he hate black pepper too? silly man........... :)))

                    2. a very interesting lineup! cant wait for this to start! should be good!

                      1. if torres does not make it to dessert, anita lo is going to take 1st place

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: tldmatrix

                          JT has alwasy been a favorite of mine since first seeing him on TV a hundred years ago.
                          I am not sure though how he does with food instead of dessert.
                          Guess we'll have to wait and see.
                          But he can make me dessert anytime he wants, I'd love to have his food.
                          Bought custard powder just so I could make his hot chocolate from one of his shows.
                          OOOOOOOO soooooooooo good!

                        2. I'm absolutely fascinated to see how Claire Robinson does. I would think that Anne Burrell would be the class of that group?

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: jackbauer

                            me too actually. the basket alone is sometimes more ingredients than ive ever seen her put into a single dish!

                            and really? burrel? not irvine??


                            1. re: mattstolz

                              Thanks a lot, you just broke my sarcasm detector.

                            2. re: jackbauer

                              I saw Secrets of a Restaurant Cook on Fri afternoon. Anne was making a raw asparagus salad. It looked good to me until she tasted, put the spoon back into the bowl, and tasted again. Gross.

                              1. re: Robinez

                                well, if she's the only one in the kitchen and the only one who's gonna eat it - it's really not that gross.

                                1. re: AMFM

                                  I agree. If I am cooking for myself, then sharing it with me, it isn't an issue. On the other hand, if I was showing someone how to cook a dish, certainly on tv, I would follow basic hygiene..

                                  She just seems like a sloppy cook overall in my opinion.

                                  TC, Robin

                                2. re: Robinez

                                  Really....I recall a recent of "Worst Cooks" a contestant did the exact same thing and she crushed him and would not eat his food.

                                  1. re: Bob156

                                    Yeah, I saw the same thing--she reamed the guy for putting the tasting spoon back into the bowl, and then she refused to taste his final product. However, I've seen her do the same thing multiple times on her show. She also seems to use an inordinate amount of salt (and little/no pepper), so will be interesting to see how she fares. Love this show and am amazed how creative chefs are with so little time and bizarre ingredients (gummy worms, anyone?)

                              2. I truly hope they hit these guys (and especially the Zakarian/Sanchez/Freitag group) with the most bizarre and difficult baskets ever...

                                1. I noticed that in the last episode, the judging focused more on expression, being true to one's self or heritage, and less on technical skill. The winner was still the one with greatest skill, but that was almost a point against him. I wonder if they changed this judging emphasis in anticipation of these new contestants, ones who are less likely to make technical errors (running out of time, uncooking items, etc).

                                  1. i just noticed something that i missed the first time i scanned the names...did anyone else catch the fact that *Lisa Garza* - the controversial Dallas Diva we all loved to hate on TNFNS Season 4 - is competing against Debbie "I'm Korean so i cook with garlic" Lee from Season 5?! ha! this should be fun :)

                                    ETA: looks like all 4 competitors on March 6 are past TNFNS contestants. go Brad!

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      -Debbie "im korean so i cook with garli"-


                                      thats THAT debbie??

                                      how is she included in the same list as anito lo and jaques torres??

                                      nevermind. i just realized that its setup as

                                      NFNS contestants that i hated
                                      Food network hosts that i find annoying (except claire... sooo attractive)
                                      Actual chefs
                                      and Chopped Judges

                                      1. re: mattstolz

                                        Wow, I didn't even notice that, great call about the setup. And I completely agree about Claire, that little southern belle, smokey-voiced minx. OK, I need a timeout.

                                        1. re: jackbauer

                                          Claire is one of the few FN hosts that I've bothered to make their recipes. And they were good! Love Claire, but my money is still on Anne mopping that thing up.

                                          1. re: jackbauer

                                            and I need a cold shower.

                                            thanks alot.

                                            1. re: mattstolz

                                              I was watching QVC one njght and found this. I bought five. Grr my link is gone.


                                              Nevermind, there it is.

                                        2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                          That was the first thing I noticed!!! Lisa Garza...now THAT should be interesting. Interesting that they're bringing her back, I wonder if we might be seeing her in a series coming up on say, perhaps, the Cooking Channel. Kelsey Nixon got a show and Lisa is W-A-Y more entertaining than Kelsey can even thing about being. I was actually kinda rooting for her by the end of that season

                                        3. Oooo I want to watch on March 13th! I don't think I've ever seen Duff cook (or bake) anything. My money is on Anne for that round.

                                          5 Replies
                                            1. re: coney with everything

                                              Duff may be a dark horse if he remembers anything he learned in culinary school. My money is still on Anne tho.

                                              1. re: Firegoat

                                                Don't forget - Duff was actually a competitor on Iron Chef America a year or so ago. Lost, he did.

                                                1. re: cmvan

                                                  Ah. I didn't see that one. Alas. (time to visit youtube)... but I know he has the skills (or had them at one time) and honestly, I like all 3 of the other competitors in that line up (yes, i know.)
                                                  Anne - I think has the most useful show going out there
                                                  Richard - Can't help it. despite his past he's a likable guy and i'd like to see what he can actually do himself.
                                                  Claire - love her savory rosemary parmesan shortbread. I don't normally cook off TV, but if I do and it works, I'll tend to love you a long time

                                            2. re: Firegoat

                                              Duff makes a mean styrofoam mold. Sheesh, I don't think the guy could bake a cake!

                                            3. Interesting. THIS I might actually watch. :-)

                                              1. ooh this is great can't wait. I hope the baskets are totally bizarre.

                                                  1. i'm not so sure about Anne Burrell being a shoo-in for the win...particularly if one of the ingredients in her basket is black pepper ;)

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                      omg. surely they wouldn't give her a basket of kryptonite!

                                                      1. re: Firegoat

                                                        LOL! That would seriously be funny!

                                                    2. ok so what baskets would be fun? I think we viewers should choose.

                                                      my choices?
                                                      appetizer round - strawberry vitamin water, English custard powder, and squid
                                                      entree round - chicken gizzards, nettles, ouzo, canned butter beans, quick cook lasagne strips
                                                      dessert round- anchovies, apricots, matzoh

                                                      let's hope they have barely any bread for them to use, one pint of cream in the fridge and the olive oil is hidden in an obscure spot, plus one working blender.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: smartie

                                                        I think the baskets need to at least equal the horrid series of very challenging ones they had a few weeks ago with goat brains and fish heads. I've forgotten the dessert basket, but I think that series of baskets was the toughest one I've seen on this show.

                                                        It won't so much be the basket ingredients so much as the time allotment.

                                                        1. re: DiningDiva

                                                          I've forgotten the dessert basket
                                                          durian, peanut brittle, Marsala & won ton skins.

                                                          i have to agree with you - that was the most challenging collection of ingredients i can recall in a single episode.

                                                      2. Somehow I see Amanda Freitag pulling this one off....

                                                        1. i would have loved to see Alton Brown on this.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: mattstolz

                                                            The only time I recall seeing him cook-on-the-fly was toward the end of a Feast on Asphalt series - with one arm in a sling.

                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                              thats why i think itd be so interesting to see! i think i have seen every episode of good eats and iron chef, yet ive never seen him just cook on the fly

                                                          2. They're now running promos for the shows. Looks like Conant might be a judge. And, unless the editing was misleading, it looks like Conant chastises Zakarian for bones in his fish. If so, just goes to show you, even the "big guys" can miss on such things when the clock's running out...

                                                            8 Replies
                                                            1. re: cmvan

                                                              I do not want to hear about Conant and Guarnashelli "judging". Put these two haters in front of 3 of the chefs they've abused over the years. Preferably a couple who ask Conant what was he thinking avoiding the red onions and who has the cheddar for my scallops. I actually saw an episode of a show, can't remember which one, with Alex cooking for competition. Raw turkey seems to come to mind.

                                                              1. re: Bob156

                                                                I actually saw an episode of a show, can't remember which one, with Alex cooking for competition. Raw turkey seems to come to mind.
                                                                Iron Chef America - Battle Farmers' Market vs Cat Cora. it was guinea hen, not turkey.

                                                                1. re: Bob156

                                                                  Actually, I thought Alex was pretty pleasant to all the competitors on the episode that aired last night (catfish and marshmellows). Particularly given how insufferable the guy was that won.

                                                                  1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                    nothing annoys me more than when the really cocky competitor wins. besides the cheese with seafood thing. ITS OK SOMETIMES CONANT!!

                                                                    1. re: mattstolz

                                                                      Usually if someone is overly cocky they don't win, or the judges really make it clear they know the persons a jerk. Unfortunately, last night they didn't have much choice. The baskets weren't that hard and the guy really did do some interesting stuff. Oh well, god and the universe will catch up with him somewhere down the line. Karma comes around...

                                                                2. So looking forward to this one! Wonder if Anne Burrell will be dinged for not only omitting pepper, but also over-salting everything. Hope they give 'em gummi worms, Velvetta and canned fruit cocktail!

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: pine time

                                                                    Paula Deen would sooooo own that basket ;-)... too bad she isn't participating.

                                                                    1. re: sablemerle

                                                                      nah, if it was a Paula basket there would be butter and mayo...that one sounds more like Sandra Lee.

                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                        You are right. Add a bottle of vodka and you'd have the perfect Sandra Lee basket.

                                                                    1. re: chicgail

                                                                      "Judges for this special series include Chopped favorites Alex Guarnaschelli, Marcus Samuelsson, Marc Murphy and Chris Santos."


                                                                    2. Maybe it's time to start a fresh thread, as I started this one well in advance of the show actually starting. Then "Spoiler" could be added to the title.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: cmvan

                                                                        Good idea. I just suggested the same to the mods to split out the discussion from smartie's post on down into a new thread...

                                                                      2. Do you know if this is being shown in Canada? I cannot seem to find it on our satellite channels.