HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >


Chopped All-Stars - Episode 2 [spoilers]

Claire Robinson - 5 Ingredient Fix
Duff - Ace of Cakes
Robert Irvine - Worst Cooks in America, Dinner Impossible, etc.
Anne Burrell - How to Cook Like a Restaurant Chef, Worst Cooks in America, Mario's whipping girl on ICA, etc.

Anne takes the Challenge, with Robert coming in a close second.

Amazing how the judges kept gushing at the dishes and skills demonstrated.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. How bad did Duff suck? My guess would be mightily.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Bob156

      not so much, they liked his flavors. everyone knows him as a cake guy but he's a trained savory chef with experience cooking on the line - i know he used to work for Todd English.

      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        dont i remember from duffs bio...he walked off his job as "line chef" at the french laundry cuz he couldnt handle it?

    2. yes..it seemed to be more of love fest this time...even alex didnt hardly say anything negative...
      so i guess if u actually are on the food network..it means u are more skilled than any of the other chefs who have been on the show so far....
      and robert made the classic mistake with the dessert.....making something else that wasnt from the basket better than what was in the basket...

      1 Reply
      1. re: srsone

        well remember also that three of these four chefs have competed on iron chef as well (anne and robert more than once), so theyre a little more used to the show format

      2. i was pretty impressed to see Claire give such a strong performance, though it was pretty obvious Anne & Robert would be the last 2 standing.

        i've gotta say, i found it to be the most enjoyable episode of Chopped i've ever watched...and i'm pretty sure i've seen them all. there was a terrific mix of fun, skill, camaraderie and competition, and it was certainly nice to see the judges respond so positively to the food. unfortunately i think we've now all been spoiled, and when it returns to the regular competition it may not be quite as enjoyable for the viewers or the judges!

        6 Replies
        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          I was surprised that Claire didn't get chopped in the first round, as opposed to Duff. Pretty sure it was a close call on the judges' part.

          I think some of the Chopped Champions episodes were pretty good. I'm a pretty big fan of Madison.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            the Champions episodes were good, and Madison is my all-time favorite competitor, but i still though tonight's was even more fun to watch.

            i think we should all petition FN to offer Madison his own show:

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              It could be called "Cooking with Madison's Daughter" ... she was adorable on the finale.

              It would be just like when Jacque Pepin had his daughter on his cooking show.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                It would be just like when Jacque Pepin had his daughter on his cooking show.
                but perhaps with Madison's daughter it actually *would* be cute - she is precious. i always found Jacques' show to be very awkward when Claudine was on...though not as awkward as when Rick Bayless' daughter joins him.

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  OH...those episodes of JP with Claudine made me CRINGE...poor girl...she is just WRONG

          2. re: goodhealthgourmet

            ghg, I am so with you. That episode had a different feeling than any other episode I've seen. Everyone seemed to truly be enjoying themselves, and I loved seeing the difference in concepts, cooking and plating between these All-stars and the usual Chopped contestants. For some reason I thought Irvine would win, maybe because his whole usual agenda revolves around just such types of competition, but I thought it was kinda funny when Anne beat him yet again! (And I do like the competitive camaraderie between Irvine and Burrell.)

          3. Judge Marcus doesn't pull punches! Makes Alex look like Paula Abdul on AI! Or maybe she's payng the "nice one" for this show.

            1. Hmmm.. Did I hear Elton John's Can You Feel the Love Tonight playing throughout this episode? The judges were condescendingly nice or edited to look that way.

              In the final round, Robert used the Root Beer jelly bean only as a garnish, and the judges said they couldn't taste the fennel. Alex and Marc would have ripped any "regular" competitor who failed to incorporate two of the basket's ingredients for copping out or being lazy. Instead, Robert was politely chopped for lack of fennel essence.

              Also, Robert's "pots de creme" looked like it was just a simple ganache ... cream and chocolate... maybe it was more, didn't appear that way.

              I think Anne Burrell is a hoot. Her mind seems to work as fast as her mouth. Nice to see her win.

              4 Replies
              1. re: TrishUntrapped

                Actually, Robert said that the jelly beans were in the dish, he threw the two on top for a bit of whimsy.

                It's hard to know whether they were just easier on these guys or whether the chefs were just better. But it's not hard to imagine that Irvine and Burrell are simply better than the average (or best) chefs they normally have on Chopped.

                And quite honestly, their food looked better than the usual fare on the show.

                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                  Also, Robert's "pots de creme" looked like it was just a simple ganache ... cream and chocolate... maybe it was more, didn't appear that way.
                  we can't possibly see the prep details of every dish/element. given that chocolate wasn't even one of the basket ingredients, i doubt the judges would have raved about it so much if it wasn't truly excellent..and even if it was little more than a basic ganache, who cares? tasty is tasty, and people *can* screw up even the simplest things, particularly under pressure, so good for him for executing all those techniques on one plate in 30 minutes.

                  1. re: TrishUntrapped

                    And who was it that had a long fennel frond on the plate, clearly for garnish and nothing more? Chopped contestants in the "regular" show always get chastised for putting things on the plate that aren't meant to be eaten.

                    1. re: TrishUntrapped

                      I really think the Food Network finally listened to people saying how silly and over the top some of these judges are. Guarneshelli has had a complete make over. Come on, being nice to Duff Goldman and the 5 ingredient Lady? Their food was horrible. At least Marcus Samuelson was able to nicely say that the food sucked. There has been a conscious effort on the Food Network's part to nice up these judges so they wouldn't have growl at Food Network people. Pretty cynical.

                    2. the fact that the very first thing claire did was render off some bacon only reaffirmed my love for her.

                      even if she cant cook anything else. if she looks like that, has that little accent, and can cook some good crispy bacon, im sold.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: mattstolz

                        You took the words out of my mouth. She was even smokier than the bacon!

                        1. re: mattstolz

                          even if she cant cook anything else. if she looks like that, has that little accent, and can cook some good crispy bacon, im sold.


                          She wouldn't even need to be able to "cook some good crispy bacon" and I'd mortgage the house for her.

                          Johnny Iuzzini (nee of Top Chef Just Desserts) is one lucky pastry chef. http://newyork.grubstreet.com/2010/11...

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              That's why I said Johnny is "lucky". He definitely is "cooking up' ... so to speak.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                How did I miss that she divorced Bailey!

                        2. i wonder if robert and anne had another side bet going.....

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: srsone

                            Right? I had the same thought. I like them both on this show - sometimes he's a bit too arrogant for my taste.

                          2. I was really impressed with the differences in skill level between the good cooks and chefs that are normally on Chopped and the, apparently, great chefs that were on this episode.

                            I suspect the difference between Irvine and Burrell was recent time in the kitchen. I would imagine that Robert Irvine spends a lot of time managing restaurants, starring in shows and whatever those guys have to do. I think Anne Burrell stills spends a great deal of time in the kitchen cooking under pressure. No matter how good you are in your field, you start losing that spontaneous, gut feeling type performance that you attain doing it every day. She was also a regular sous chef on Iron Chef and got a great deal of high pressure cooking there.

                            I had emailed food network months ago suggesting a format like this where we got to see some of the more known food network chefs and the judges participate. Frankly, I had my doubts that they could outperform the other participants but it seems I was wrong....again.

                            1. Wow! What a difference a week makes. Now this is what I was expecting but...even more so I am again scratching my head over last weeks episode. I don't get it. Was it just filler? If so, why make that your opener and not this one. Once again they leave me asking, what were they thinking?

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: LiveRock

                                set the bar low, and everything that follows is a pleasant surprise ;)

                                but honestly, i don't think the producers expected last week's showing to be so lame.

                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  Maybe they delusionally expected us to care about rejects from the NFNS?

                                  1. re: LurkerDan

                                    well, i always liked Brad...but yeah, they'd be delusional to think i cared about the other 3.

                                    seriously though, there are a few possibilities. maybe they figured it would draw in TNFNS fans who don't normally watch Chopped. or that the same viewers watch both shows and it would appeal to them to see those familiar faces. or maybe they just couldn't get any other big name/recognizable chefs to participate :)

                                2. re: LiveRock

                                  I think they're upping the skill level week by week. This week blew last week out of the water. I suspect next week may up the ante a little bit more and the final week even more than that. If you look at their line-ups they all get stronger as each week passes.

                                  I thought last night was about as tight as it could get, almost a virtual tie. I'm probably the only one, but I kind of think RI got robbed. I think that technically he produced the more difficult meal. I thought Anne's appetizer was a brillant idea, I thought his venison was amazing for that time frame and I would prefer to eat his dessert over hers.

                                  It was definitely an exciting episode to watch, one of the best in the series.

                                    1. re: smartie

                                      Me too...Anne FTW! I think she will have an advantage over even the superchefs like Anita Lo because of her FN experiences.

                                      But Jacques Torres getting to the dessert round would be awesome.

                                  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. The level of cooking was so far beyond the usual on this show. It was clear that the last two were destined to be the last two right from the beginning.

                                    I do think the "fruit loops" were kind of silly (and I noticed that no one commented on how well they incorporated them into the course!)

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: DGresh

                                      Yeah once they ditched Duff and the five ingredient lady. Boy all that was, was a commercial for a couple of bad food shows.

                                    2. I did think this episode was pretty entertaining.

                                      One funny comment was my man saying that Claire appeared to be cooking a "55 ingredient fix", almost missed that one.

                                      Do have to call the BS though with how impressed they were and how they never have seen any other contestants perform at such a high level. That being said, Anne really did seem to knock it out of the park, no? Also, they did not float them any cupcake level ingredients either which was nice.

                                      Anne vs the Food Network Star that won the first round doesn't seem like much a fair matchup, she should wipe the floor with him.

                                      1. Does anyone know what charity Chef Robert was competing for? I missed it somehow.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: sommrluv

                                          i *think* it was SOS, but i'm not positive...

                                          it was definitely an AIDS-related charity.

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            It was something Ministry...works with children in South Africa