Professional dance career somehow leads to a career in cooking.
3 women and one man. Lauren is the danger with a ponytail. She only likes the duck skin. David's father has been making panini since the beginning of time, Mufungo is Ondrea'a's dish. She's not making you a cute little sandwich. She's making Mufungo. Gillie is cooking for her daughter with a very weird accent--super soft and calm. Usually a bad sign.
Zoe says, that's a lot of girls. If they all get chopped, well then, we'll know it's Chopped.
Eggplant, peking duck, biscuit dough, and gooseberries are the basket items.
Scott confirms Lauren's love of the skin. I think Lauren will make it past the first round. Ondrea'a's mean enough to win. She mimics the voice of the gooseberry, "hi, I'm a gooseberry." There's a resounding agreement that Ondre'a's annoying.
I'm worried about the calm Gillie. She can't open the biscuit dough. Her weird accent confirms she was not raised in the land of Pillsbury. She also says the gooseberries will peel themselves. I'm afraid the judges prefer their foods peeled.
As I expected:first complaint, unpeeled gooseberries. Gillie thinks fruit is about surprises. Judges don't like surprises. "Develop what these flavors are," suggests judge Scott. If those were pretzels, she would have been excoriated but because they were precious fruit, she got away with leaving them
Bald judge does not agree with the lack of duck flesh in Lauren's dish. Duck skin is not always enough.
Scott does not defend her. Scott is an ass, but perhaps not as big of an ass as bald judge.
David loves his children more than food. I believe the judges will show
Ondre'a is throwing down the relative-death, her sister. AFTER the judges were mean to her.
Gillie's lack of peeling the gooseberries is called pretentious. I thought the point of Chopped was pretension--along with, of course, taste, presentation, and creativity.
And, as suspected, Gillie was chopped. She threatened more surprises. I think the judges couldn't bear any more gooseberry-like surprises.
Banana leather, cornish hens, concord grapes and gruyere. Really. I give the first round a 2 in difficulty. This too seems so easy.
David thinks Ondre'a is his competition, probably because he heard her mocking his British accent.
On the bone, off the bone--this is the real question. Lauren says that it's too much of a risk that it won't get cooked through. Ondre'a argues she's the brave one, cooking the chicken on the bone. In a pot though--boiled chicken? Not so fancy.
Shallots, bacon and concord grapes would make a great sauce, says peanut gallery member, Scott.
Ondre'a trained at the Cordon Bleu and the James Beard Foundation. Sadly, as she tries to shove a cork down a bottle of wine, no one introduced her to a wine opener. I think I'm distinctly not rooting for mocking-lady.
Oh, but now Ondre'a's in trouble. She put the cooked chicken on the same cutting board she cut the chicken on. Judges show definite signs of concern. It reminds me of the time one chef dropped a slice of meat on the floor and then put it in the pan and served it to the judges. Like that doesn't happen in restaurants all the time.
Over a million people a year get salmonella poisoning from raw chicken. Then she throws the dead sister story out again! Bald judge (he has a name, I realize), takes Ondre'a over to the kitchen! This is unheard of. I've never seen a judge stand up, let alone go in the kitchen.
They're, of course, in love with the sauce. She put the gruyere directly into the shallot, bacon, grape juice. Genius.
Now David's chicken is raw and the juices ran out onto the polenta. The judges invite him to bring over the pans sans chicken. Surreal chopped.
Lauren pats herself on the back for using the breast of the chicken. They excoriate her for the lack of banana leather flavor. Banana flavoring is always something deeply missed.
Scott agrees with me. This is unheard of Chopped behavior.
This seems totally unfair. Ted argues that David tried to cook his food, he just didn't. Ondre'a's was a thoughtless mistake. I agree with Ted but the judges all thought her sauce was so out of this world that her egregious mistake is possibly more forgiveable. Taste trumps sanitation. Indeed. So why did they make such a big deal about it before. Enjoy your dinner. Suffer your food poisoning later.
They'll probably chop Lauren because her portion size was so small. Desert round can be double-dipped spoon versus double-dipped spoon.
So, whose dish is on the Chopping Block.
Raw-chicken-cutting-board is chopped. The condolences go out for her sister. But, for the first time I've seen, dead-relative does not trump inedible food.
Cheese Crackers, Cherimoya, Jordan Almonds, and Italian Orange Liqueur.
Cherimoya is a favorite Chopped ingredient because Ted gets to say this: "Please know that Cherimoya seeds can be harmful when eaten, so keep them out of your dishes. I'm sure the judges wouldn't want any else inedible in their dishes." Snap.
Lauren thinks she's going to win because he served raw meat but I don't think she realizes how deeply the judges take too-small portion size. Skinny, dancer lady.
Jordan Almonds. They eat them in Italy! I thought it was a Mormon wedding thing! Oh Chopped, will you never stop teaching me about the world?
I don't like them either Lauren.
What are cheese crackers? Cheeze-its? I don't like cheese crackers either but my go-to desert is margarita pie like my mom made with a pretzel-crust. Think of this: Cherimoya, orange liqueur and marscapone filling with a butter-cheeze-its crust. And chopped Jordan almonds. Very my mom and Mormon at the same time.
David's candying orange rinds in the orange liqueur. Ted is highly impressed.
I'm not sure I can go on with this Chopped blogging. It makes Chopped go so fast. It's almost over. Last commercial break. During the dessert round, there is no break before the chopped reveal.
Let's hope no one is poisoned this round.
Brown butter Cherimoya with yogurt and cheese cracker crisps. This is like a soup or a salad. Mix it all up and call it a dish.
Overall, they like the cheese crumble and brown butter. A lot.
David's Zeppole looks pretty amazing. "Strong recovery from the second round" but those Jordan almonds are just on the sides.
And then Almost-Iron-Chef judge got two seeds in her dish. I imagine that's the end of the road for our would-be judge-killer.
Scott disagrees with Almost-Iron-Chef when she says Lauren has been consistent with every dish: "I disagree. She's been inconsistent with every dish. She's gotten better dish by dish by dish." Slam, I-A-C.
And, judge-poisoner is chopped. I think they'll take him back and force feed him Cherimoya seeds. And raw chicken.
And a woman wins! This is the third time this week (in a week of about 5 reruns). I might have to revise my Chopped is so sexist opinion.
Also, I'm now getting ads to take courses at Austin's Le Cordon Bleu school. I was just thinking the other day about how much I missed school.
Now, I'm off to watch the new AMC show, The Killing. The Cylon Leo is the cop's boyfriend. Perhaps I watch too much TV.