Thursday, September 10, 2009

Chopped Champions: Round One

I totally got sidetracked yesterday, so I didn't get to write up my thoughts on the first round of Chopped Champions.

The Competitors were: James Briscione, Sandy Davis, Natalia Machado, and Michael Carrino.

MY PICK: Natalia Machado

It was interesting, as usual, but I cannot say that I agreed with the decisions of the judges. Overall winner was James Briscione. I didn't see it. Yes, he reached high and tried hard, but I just don't get why he beat out Machado in the last round.

Michael Carrino went out first after a floppy attempt at a cream based soup using crawfish. According to the judges, that soup simply did not showcase the primary protein, the crawfish, all that well. I probably would have sent Machado home in the first round simply because she put dead and sandy crawfish on the plate as a garnish. She might not have known it, but that would just be super gross. Apparently, that was forgiveable enough that she was allowed to go on to the next round.

Sandy Davis went down in round two, accused of playing it a little too safe with his quail dish. The judges felt he should have tried to reach outside of his comfort zone rather than turning out an exceptional dish he was already good at. I can't say that I completely agree considering the problems they felt were in Briscione's dish who tried much harder to turn out something 'creative'. As one of the judges mentioned, creativity doesn't mean a thing if the food is bad. Yet Sandy was let go thanks to playing it safe though his food was good. Maybe I'm just a little biased thanks to Sandy being an old Southern chef and me being from Georgia.

Down to the final round, Dessert, it is Natalia and James. Baby kiwis and saffron (the most expensive spice in the world) in a desert. I have a major issue with weird stuff in dessert, but that may be because I have never really had deserts that do not feature chocolate or ice cream or you know traditional sweet stuff. So my brain did a little bit of a 'WHAT!' at the stuff in the basket. However, I think that Natalia put in a better performance with her baby kiwi rolls.

Unfortunately, the judges didn't see her overall performance as being good enough to beat out James. Well, my first prediction is out.

Next Week: Barbara Sibley, Christopher Nguyen, Paul Viggiano, and Tyler Anderson. Stay up to date at the Chopped website.

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