This was the first episode of five in the special grilling challenge for Chopped: Grill Masters. The first four battles will determine the final head to head challenge, where the winner will walk away with $50,000. The challenges take place at the Old Tucson Studios in Tucson, Arizona.
The contestants for this episode were Chef Ray Lampe, Chef Tommy Duncan, Chef Jennifer Duncan, and Chef Galen Zamarra.
The judges for this episode were Aaron Sanchez, Amanda Freitag, and Marc Murphy.
The Appetizer Round
The secret ingredients for this round were yak steaks, mesquite syrup, Tuscan kale, and peanut butter cookies. Yak is an exotic ingredient but it is delicious. It has a beef flavor but it is very lean and juicy.
Chef Jennifer Duncan made grilled yak steak with candied bacon. She overcooked the yak and because it is so lean, it was very chewy and dry. She was eliminated for this failure.
The Entree Round
The secret ingredients for this round were Californian halibut, sauerkraut, frozen french fries, and Mexican Chorizo. Chorizo is a fatty Latin sausage spiced heavily with paprika.
Chef Tommy Duncan made a grilled halibut with smoked sauerkraut and french fries. His fries came out under cooked but the fish was great. In the end he was chopped for not bringing the dish together.
The Dessert Round
The secret ingredients for this round were oil cured black olives, piloncillo, chocolate graham cracker crust pies, and peaches. Piloncillo is a hard sugar cane block of refined sugar.
Chef Ray Lampe made a grilled quesadilla with a peach and olive sauce. He went for the savory route but still had a lot of sweetness in the dish. The judges thought that some citrus would really help bring the dish together.
Chef Galen Zamarra made a grilled tart with orange mint caramel sauce. The tart itself was soggy but he made a beautiful dish.
In the end it was decided that Chef Ray Lampe was the winner! We will see him in the finale episode along with 3 other Chopped Grill Masters winners.