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Mar 20, 2011 08:04 PM

Chopped All-Stars - Episode 3 [spoilers]

Anita Lo vs. Nate Appelman vs. Beau Macmillan vs. Jacques Torres

Nate takes it over Anita.

Some random thoughts ...

Jacques brings his own chocolate -- really, Jacques? As if ...

Must admit, though, Jacques has quite the knife skills for a pastry chef.

Lots of mutual admiration amongst the contestants.

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  1. i knew they'd boot Jacques for using contraband - lucky break for Anita! i agree, his knife skills were impressive. i had a strange feeling before the show even began that Nate would win, and once Anita choked in the appetizer round and i heard about his charity, i knew it. i like him, so i was happy with the result, but i also like Anita Lo, and she was extremely classy and gracious in her defeat.

    is it just me, or does anyone else find it strange that some of these chefs aren't familiar with ingredients they find in the baskets? i really can't imagine that i have more extensive knowledge about ingredients than these highly respected, seasoned professionals, but i couldn't believe they were all stumped by the dulse last week, and that Nate didn't know what piloncillo was.

    16 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      Unless you travel and eat alot while traveling, it's not likely you'll meet some of these uncommon ethnically-driven ingredients. Being classically trained just means that you are well-versed in one area of food, not all foods.

      1. re: ipsedixit

        well, i discovered both of those ingredients right here in the good 'ol US of A ;)

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          Who says travel just means abroad? The good old US of A is quite big in and of itself ...

          I bet you there are foodstuffs in Puerto Rico, Alaska and the Virgin Islands that would stump all of us ...

      2. re: goodhealthgourmet

        i was surprised by the deer in the headlights stare piloncillo brought from both of them,, and from Anita's lack of creativity,

        1. re: girloftheworld

          I was more amused than surprised. But I may be too familiar with piloncillo, limiting my creativity. Still, dissolving it in boil water to make a strongly flavored syrup would be a good start. I usually include a cinnamon stick, but the 5 spice would probably work. How about poaching the tomatoes in that syrup?

          1. re: paulj

            Yeah, I was thinking of a riff on Arpege's caramelized tomato dessert. She could have stuffed the tomatoes with some crumbled granola bars, dried nuts and fruits and poached it with some butter, 5-spice, piloncillo syrup.

            1. re: paulj

              How about poaching the tomatoes in that syrup?
              bingo! that's where my mind went immediately - i would have turned the granola bars into a crust, and made a caramelized tomato tart topped with spiced cream, ricotta or mascarpone.

              1. re: paulj

                "How about poaching the tomatoes in that syrup?"

                Excatly where my mind went. There's a recipe in My Sweet Mexico for a tomato jam that is truly spectacular. 2 ingredients tomatoes and sugar, the sugar could easily (very easily) be replaced with piloncillo.

                Nate over-thought the dessert, Anita under-thought it.

            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

              Conversation regarding this subject as follows:
              DH: What the hell is dulse?
              Me: A seaweed, not superstrongly flavored. It's dried.
              DH: Are you sure?
              Me: Yes, I'm sure.
              DH: How come these guys don't know it?
              Me: I don't know, but I know I'm right.
              Heading straight into last night:
              DH: What's piloncillo?
              Me: Brown sugar, shaped into a cone. It's a little more than that, but I can't explain it.
              DH: Are you sure?
              Me: Yes, I'm sure. I've used it.
              DH: Ok, this time you can't be right. That's something these chefs should know.
              Me: Why? It doesn't come from any of their cultures.
              DH: They just should! If it's just sugar, they should know! Are you sure you're right?
              Me: Yes.
              DH: This is just bugging the S*** outta me.
              Me: Whatever, babe. Let's watch the show. : )

              1. re: mamachef

                they just can't let us have it, can they? i was on a first (and last!) date with a guy who just wouldn't accept the fact that i knew what galangal and ramps were when he saw them on the menu. i explained each ingredient, he didn't believe me, and proceeded to ask our ditzy cocktail waitress - who of course didn't have a clue. she went into the kitchen to ask, and came back with the news that i had been right about i told my date that crow had suddenly appeared on the menu and that's what he would be having :)

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  LOL! to both stories! I was rather taken aback that I knew what piloncillo was (although I've never used it) and Nate didn't.

                  I missed last week's episode, and by reading the thread, it looks like it was a good one. WAY better reading about the 2nd episode vs. actually watching the 1st episode of the season, that's for sure!

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    definitely try to catch a rerun of Ep 2 or see if you can find it online. it really was great.

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      Totally agree with ghg, LW. Find a way to view episode 2, because it was completely worthwhile. And I found it really interesting that the chefs in #2 seemed vastly more comfortable with their time constraints and their basket contents. They did some amazing things there.

                  2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    i would have been impressed!

                    i also probably would have ordered whatever it was that contained ramps.

                    1. re: mattstolz

                      Me too, mattstolz! Ummm, that green garlicky goodness....

                    2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      AAAAAAhahahahaha! I'm suprised he didn't go on ahead and order the crow, since you proved you knew what you were talking about.....
                      Four and twenty.....ugggh......crows
                      Baked in a pie....

                2. A slightly lackluster episode, not as much fun as last week. I also agree Anita was not particularly creative - she just used the granola bars as is.
                  Next week looks like fun, it will be the judges turn.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: smartie

                    When I saw she left the granola bars "as is" I knew she was done. I thought she could at least have crubmled them to make some kind of parfait or something.

                    1. re: smartie

                      She'd focused on the peanut spread, and ran out of time to do any thing special with the bars. But didn't one of judges complement her on how the spread softened the bars?

                      1. re: paulj

                        Yes, but if you noticed, the judge were not nearly as effusive with their comments this week as they were last. This week's mystery baskets were a good deal easier than lasts, IMO.

                        1. re: DiningDiva

                          I do agree that this week seemed to be a bit easier. But I also think the judges were more free with the praise last week because those were Food Network personalities. Either that, or much of the praise was edited out -- cuz you know that Robert Irvine HAS to be a better chef than Anito Lo or Nate Appleman.

                      2. re: smartie

                        I agree Smartie, this week's episode was a little bit of a let down after last week. They should have left Jacques Torres in for another round, illegal cocoa nibs or not. He at least had a spark of personality. But I'm pretty sure the producers wanted an Anita vs. Nate dessert round, so that's what they got. Snore city. But I am glad Nate won, he cooked some pretty interesting dishes for all 3 rounds even if they didn't work 100%

                        1. re: DiningDiva

                          I loved Jacques! He was fun, taking his charity seriously, but still light hearted.

                      3. So this set were Iron Chef competitors (some even winners). The previous set were FN hosts, though some also had ICA experience. And the 1st set were Next FN Star competitors. Any common characteristic in the 4th set. Aaron is the only name that I recall. He has been a FN cook and Chopped judge.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: paulj

                          all 4 of next week's competitors have been judges on Chopped:
                          - Aaron Sanchez
                          - Geoffrey Zakarian
                          - Amanda Freitag
                          - Maneet Chauhan

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            3 have been judges, and 3 have competed in Next IC.

                            1. re: paulj

                              Chauhan judged an episode that aired in January.

                          2. re: paulj

                            Was Jacques on Iron Chef America?

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              nope - good catch. i wonder if he was a last-minute replacement for another chef who has competed on ICA...?

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                Probably Chris Cosentino? ... former ICA contestant and Food Network host.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  could be. now THAT i would have loved to see!

                          3. I tried to watch it but they all seem like a love fest cmpared to the regular Chopped. I never see Alex Guarnaschelli giving them that dissproving stare that she usually does. Or the condensending tones when talking about the plates.
                            I think the thing that irratates me the most is that the chefs that come on are all working chefs which in some cases makes them just as good as the judges. The only difference is that the judges have been "found" for a better word. Maybe its my personality but it bothers me when people are condensending to others like on this show. Alex and Contant are the worse at that.

                            1. I'm sure it would be nice if every chef knew what everything they were likely to encounter was but I don't think it should really bother them too much. with the piloncillo, all you have to do is taste it and know that it is close enough to brown sugar that you can use it as an equivalent. Dulse might be more difficult but I doubt it.

                              I'm not sure but I assume the chefs look at something like fruit loops and think to themselves... a type of bread or starch with some sugar in it. Root beer jelly beans... oh a source of sugar and root beer flavoring. I'm sure it sounds easier than it is but I suspect chefs of this caliber can do it.