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Chopped Grill Masters Part 4 (Did Aaaron Sanchez actually say that?)

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"Plantain is actually a root vegetable"

I imagine he meant to have a "like" in there.

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  1. I didn't catch that, but I'm sure he had its culinary uses in mind, rather than its manner of growing.

    Did you catch the ICA episode - with plantains?

    3 Replies
    1. re: paulj

      Plantain lobster rolls!

      1. re: ipsedixit

        The idea of making biscuits with some plantain puree is intriguing. I'll have to rewatch the show to see what form of puree Alex used ('verde' boiled, or 'maduro').

        1. re: paulj

          I just made a batch of platano biscuits, inspired by this ICA episode. I used a straightforward buttermilk biscuit dough, mixing in mashed platano at the time I added the liquid. I had a ripe platano, the kind I like to slice and fry. So I diced it, and fried it briefly before mashing.

          The biscuits were a bit more dense and moist than they would be without the platano, but with a bit of sweetnesss. The platano taste was not obvious. I suspect I would have gotten similar results with sweet potato puree, or a low moisture squash/pumpkin.

    2. I almost did a spit take when I heard that. Reinforces Aaron's position as the dumbest guy on TV. Well, after Tyler.

      But the old ladies at FN just love him.

      1. Count me as on the "aghast he said that" bus as well.

        Seriously, dude, they are not root vegetables but I understand they are cooked in similar ways.

        1. While it's kind of amusing to hear these cowboys act like a plaintain, tofu, or fennel is the weirdest thing ever, it's also kind of sad. I'd like to see in the finale that they make them do a vegetarian entree.

          2 Replies
          1. re: DGresh

            Yeah, that tofu reaction was totally over-the-top. Feel free to join the 1990s.

            1. re: DGresh

              I'm constantly amazed at people who are supposed to be professional cooks who say they've "never seen" a fairly common ingredient from the basket. The cowboy Kent was the most egregious example, with three, but it's not uncommon.

              Nonetheless, I'm glad he won as he seems to be pretty formidable and I'm looking forward to see what he can do in the final.

            2. Funny how Aaron Sanchez states that if he samples the under-done plaintain "seriously dude, I'm gonna hurl", yet he was cohost on a show called Heat Seekers where every week he ate ghost chiles slathered in habenero sauce, causing his face to swell like a sweaty Mr. Creosote from Monty Python. Ghost chile salsa - fine, bring it on. But a bite of raw plaintain - I want my mamma!

              1. If Aaaaaarôn meant to say it is "like" a root vegetable, it certainly didn't sound like it. To my ears, he sounded so certain that plantains were root vegetables, I had to look it up to see if there was some varietal I was unfamiliar with that was tuberous. And I've cooked professionally, I've seen plantains growing in Peru and in Vietnam, I have even made faux French fries with them in my own kitchen, but when an expert on Latin cuisine such as Aaron Sanchez spits out a comment like that, it makes me question what I know. I'm not mad at Aaron, I say stupid things constantly, but how did not a soul on Food Network spot this? Is Chopped really rushed through production that quickly? Because when an acclaimed chef such as Aaron Sanchez states that plantains are a root vegetable, I think most take it as canon. So than you have hundreds, if not thousands of little Aarons out there telling people plantains are root vegetables, either sounding stupid or spreading stupid. I'm sure one of these people said it at work, probably to their boss, and this boss, feeling that a person not knowing the proper classification of plantains was too inept to keep employed at their company, had no choice but to fire this person, and as months passed by with no employer hiring him, probably because he told them plantains were root vegetables at the interview, he burned through his savings and his house was foreclosed. He and his family were most likely forced to live on the street, starving. He probably rummaged through the dirt for plantains, but only found potatoes and carrots, and as his wife left him and took the kids, he was driven to suicide, really the only viable option at that point. So thanks a lot Food Network, you have ruined yet another family.

                8 Replies
                1. re: discosuperfly13

                  talk about making a mountain out a mole hill ...

                  1. re: paulj

                    Agree, while no real fan of his... really?...a lot of armchair QBing going on. Oh my god he called a plantain a root vegetable I'm going to assume what he actually meant and rant about how he sucks.

                    1. re: chris2269

                      Its'' less about the accuracy of his statement, and more about a condescending attitude.

                      Like when a poster polices the internet and mocks someone's poor grammar, and in so doing, uses poor grammar themselves. Don't bring an issue to public attention, then not expect that same spotlight to shine on one's own foibles, Aaron...

                      1. re: silence9

                        Makes sense but he is a judge on a reality show and though there are some who do it better (Tom Collichio IMO) whats he supposed to do? Though you are probably right if a contestant had made the same statement to the judges they probably would have been all over him/her.

                  2. re: discosuperfly13

                    OMG.

                    Aaron misspoke (or some of us misheard).

                    Of course he knows its not a root veg.

                    This thread is turning into the sort of moronic discussion about an athlete's words that you get on sports radio.

                    1. re: discosuperfly13

                      Am I the only one who assumed discosuperfly13 was joking with this response? That it was his/her way of saying, "Hey folks, this really isn't a big deal?"

                      1. re: debbiel

                        I agree with you.

                        1. re: debbiel

                          Agreed, debbiel. I thought it was hilarious.

                      2. http://blog.zap2it.com/frominsidetheb...
                        interview with Aaron about this series.

                        Does this subject line actually misspell Chef Sanchez name???

                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=198hOf...
                        Aaron video on using green plantains

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: paulj

                          http://latinfood.about.com/od/latinca...

                          1. re: Sara41277

                            That article has:
                            "See More About: viandas, caribbean roots and tubers, ground provisions"

                            Chef Aaron could well have been thinking 'viandas', and on the fly translated it as 'root vegetables'. As I suspected, there is a distinct cultural category that includes plátanos with various tropical root vegetables.

                            http://foodalogue.com/2010/03/i-ate-%...
                            http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4064/4...
                            Caption for this photo is:
                            Viandas (Boiled Root Vegetables): platanos, malanga, batata

                            http://www.examiner.com/article/viand...
                            "There are many different types of viandas, also referred to as starchy vegetables, that have varied taste, color and texture. There is yuca or casaba, batata or white or yellow sweet potato (not the orange yam), yame, malanga and yautia to name a few. Throw in guineitos (green bananas), platanos (plantains), potatoes and chayote and you have a cornucopia of tubers and starchy vegetables to keep any vegetable lover busy for weeks."

                            1. re: paulj

                              that makes a lot of sense. Thanks!

                        2. I'm
                          Watching the episode now and came here to find the episode recap as soon as he said that. Geez.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: debbiel

                            I didn't notice the part about "root vegetable", but I seem to remember him saying "it's nothing like a banana". I disagreed with that....but he didn't hear me....

                            1. re: Shrinkrap

                              I caught that, too, and it bugged me as well. I think the whole statement was something to the effect of: You treated the plantain like a banana, but it's nothing like a banana. It's a root vegetable.

                              1. re: debbiel

                                Botanically it is a banana, not a root vegetable. But cooks, especially Hispanic and Caribbean ones who use it all the time, treat it as they would root vegetables.

                                How do you used plantains? How did the Chopped contestant use it?

                                It is quite appropriate for a Chopped judge to comment on the misuse of a ingredient.

                                1. re: paulj

                                  I actually can no longer remember how the contestant used the plantain. I'm not sure that folks here are disagreeing that plantains are often used similarly as root vegetables. Just that they were surprised that (a) he misspoke and (b) Food Network producers didn't clean up the error before airing the episode.

                                  I have had plantains in a variety of dishes, primarily savory but occasionally I've had a sweet dessert made with quite ripe plantains. I've also had savory dishes made with green cavendish bananas, which I believe some folks use as a less than ideal substitute when they are unable to get their hands on plantains.

                                  I agree it is quite appropriate for a judge on a food show to comment on the misuse of an ingredient. I was, however, surprised that the judge misstated. Again, I don't think it's the end of the world. I'm not going to boycot Sanchez restaurants because of it. It was just a, "wow...did he say that? that's not right" moment.

                                  1. re: debbiel

                                    In another post I tried to make the case that this 'misspoke' has language/cultural roots, that he was thinking 'viandas'.

                                    On the use of green cavendish, I have a small Ecuadorian cookbook that uses 'guineo verde' in a couple of savory recipes.

                                    Daisy Cooks, 'Viandas' chapter
                                    "Vianda is a difficult word to translate. It encompasses a wide assortment of starchy fruits, root vegetables, and tubers that serve as staples in the diet of Spanish-speaking Caribbean and Latin American countries."

                                    This chapter includes Maduros, Platanos verdes, and guineitos verdes (also breadfuit).

                                  2. re: paulj

                                    I LOVE a fried ripe plantain, but husband likes the green ones. I also like mufungo. Husband, not so much He always calls It PLANT-en. HUGE emphasis on PLANT. My mom's family is from Nevis. His is from Jamaica. BFF growing up liked "foo foo" (fufu? ). Apparently any "ground provision" can work for that. I think her mom was from S. America, but we were all just "black" back then.

                                    http://latinfood.about.com/od/saladsd...

                                    BTW, chayote, which the inlaws call "cho cho",seems more like a summer sqash than a root vegetable.

                                    We should talk about cassava.

                            2. Simon Majumdar, on plantains, prompted by their use on a recent Iron Chef America

                              http://blog.foodnetwork.com/fn-dish/2...

                              1. http://www.foodnetwork.com/videos/cho...
                                is the episode video; the judging of the 'cowboy banana split' is at -5 minutes. Amanda starts with 'the plantain wasn't cooked'.
                                at -7:30 both Aaron and RIck talk about how to use the green plantains.