Chopped Review: Mochi Obliged

Stephie Swope | Stephie Cooks

A new episode of Chopped brought with it a new basket of unusual ingredients. Who won the latest challenge?

This week on Chopped, the chefs faced unusual basket ingredients such as cilantro chutney, ivy gourd, and mochi. While some of the contestants knew immediately what to do with these ingredients, it was those who were not necessarily familiar with them that came out on top.

The Contestants:
Cathy, Executive chef from Orange County, California
Jason, Chef and owner from Santa Ana, California
Regina, Sous chef from Pasadena, California
Cole, Chef de cuisine from Los Angeles, California

This Week’s Judges: Scott Conant, Amanda Freitag, and Maneet Chauhan.

Ted Allen at Work

The Appetizer Round: The chefs had 20 minutes to create an appetizer recipe using escargot, cilantro chutney, biscuit dough, and merguez.

While Cole and Jason served the judges very similar dishes, the judges felt that Cole simultaneously embraced and transformed the basket ingredients in his Sauteed Lamb Sausage with Biscuit Croutons, while they felt that Jason failed to really transform the ingredients for his Pan-Roasted Marguez with Escargot.

Cathy’s Escargot Empanadas were a good idea, though poorly executed because they were undercooked. Regina, however, served the judges Sauteed Merguez that was improperly executed and did little to impress, sending her home before the dinner round.

This was not surprising, given the almost debilitating nerves that she demonstrated during this first round; a second round in the Chopped kitchen might have just put her over the edge entirely.

The Dinner Round: The contestants had 30 minutes to create an entrée containing dorado, cherry wheat beer, country-style pate, and ivy gourd.

Jason and Cole again took similar directions with their fish dishes in this round, while Cathy went a somewhat different direction with her dish. Jason’s Pan-Roasted Dorado was again fighting it out with Cole’s Pan-Seared Pate and Dorado, neither of which made proper use of the ivy gourds.

While Cathy’s Mediterranean-style Dorado made good use of the ivy gourd, it was overwhelmed with too much pate and too many olives. These mistakes sent her to the chopping block, leaving the nearly identical chefs to battle it out in the dessert round – and hopefully create two unique dishes instead of two slightly different versions of the same dish.

The Dessert Round: The two finalists had 30 minutes to create a dessert using dehydrated chocolate covered strawberries, hemp milk, ataulfo mangos, and mochi.

Jason wowed the judges with the flavors in his Mango Dessert Soup and his use of the mochi, though they felt that his dish lacked any real sense of unity. Cole also impressed the judges with the flavors in his Hemp Milk and Mango Sorbet with Chocolate Covered Strawberry Curd, but the judges felt that the portion was a bit too small – a good sign, if you ask me, since that means they wanted to eat more of it.

This desire for more of Cole’s dessert must have been the thing that put him over the edge, as they awarded him the $10,000 prize and the title of Chopped Champion.

To be honest, his admission at the beginning of the show that he did not want to trash talk, but rather let his food speak for him, clued me in that he was a definite contender to win. It is not unusual that the chefs who walk the walk instead of just talking the talk take home the prize.

NOTE: Be sure to visit our ever evolving section of Food Network recipes.
 

Tags: , ,
Stephie swope

About Stephie

Stephie is all about encouraging the art of cooking in her friends and family through her blog, Stephie Cooks. We love that she's also encouraging classic favorites as our Copycat Recipe expert, taking back of the box favorites and updating them for the way we eat today.

Around the Web

Avatar

I watched this episode on DirecTV online and it stopped right before they announced the winner -- glad I found your article!

Avatar

After the episode ended, I went back to the beginning, sure that I had mixed up which of the young chefs had said "I don't trash talk" - and was surprised it was Cole. Because he did trash talk: with his 'properly executed' pickles comment, deriding Jason's restaurant as not creative just because their menu changes every day, his derogatory comments on mango soup (and his 'poop' comment about Jason's dessert), and his continued insistence that he was the best chef. I ended up rooting against him just because of his attitude. Anytime a chef on the show spends more time talking about their opponents' dishes than their own, it's a turnoff for me. The food looked amazing, though - they both are obviously great chefs.

x Close Ad