All the competitors for this episode of Chopped 2012 season 12 episode 1 were barbecue masters. The theme for this episode was all about grilling. There is a major different between barbecuing and grilling and it was a challenge for all the contestants to cook differently. The contestants were Sean Brasel, Melissa Cookston, Richard Park, and Jay Lippin.
The judges for this episode were Chris Santos, Elizabeth Karmel, and Marc Murphy.
The secret ingredients for this round were sweet tea vodka, Asian steamed buns, baby romanesco cauliflower, and extra-firm tofu. The tofu was a surprise as these chefs all work with a lot of meat. Melissa Cookston said that if she ever brought tofu to a barbecue cook-off that she would be laughed out of the park. Sean Brasel smoked his tofu on a special personal stovetop smoker. Judge Elizabeth Karmel said that when cooking, always look for a kiss of smoke. Sean Brasel gave her a big sloppy kiss of smoke.
The first person eliminated was not surprising. Sean Brasel was sent home for his overwhelming use of smoke.
The secret ingredients for this round were wagyü rib-eye steaks, baby corn, watermelon, and coleslaw dressing. Wagyü beef is also known as Kobe, however it cannot be called Kobe outside of Japan. It is a breed of cattle known for its luscious fatty and tender meat. Most people do not know where baby corn comes from, but it actually is the young stalks of normal corn. Being so underdeveloped, the entire ear can be eaten.
Melissa Cookston had problems with her grill and accidentally served her meat raw. As this is a grilling episode, raw meat was unforgivable and she was sent home.
The secret ingredients for this round were stout beer, empanada wrappers, peaches, and marshmallow spread. Empanada wrappers are very similar to wonton or gyoza wrappers.
Jay Lippin made a stout ice cream with grilled peaches. The ice cream never set and he had to serve the judges a gloopy melty mess. The judges loved his dessert and called it a soup.
Richard Park made a grilled biscuit with peaches and cream. It was a play on the Southern delicious dish of biscuits and gravy. His stout sauce was bitter, as it did not have time to properly cook.
In the end it was Jay Lippin who won. Do you think he deserved to win?