This was the second episode of five in the 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 contestants for this episode were Chef Dushyant Singh, Chef Carey Bringle, Chef Nicole Davenport, and Chef Sam Choy.
The judges for this episode were Aaron Sanchez, Amanda Freitag, and Marc Murphy.
The Appetizer Round
The secret ingredients to this round were Hawaiian blue prawns, tomatillos, chili taffy, and chayotes. Tomatillos are related to the gooseberry and are tart and fresh. It is used in place of tomato in recipes and are a staple of the Mexican culinary scene. Chayote is a South American squash that can be eaten both raw and cooked.
Chef Carey Bringle decorated the plate with the raw shrimp heads. One thing you learn watching the show is to never put uneatable ingredients on your dish. If a diner accidentally eats it and gets sick it would be the chefs fault. For this reason Chef Carey Bringle was eliminated.
The Entree Round
The secret ingredients for this round were rack of boar, cactus flower buds, portabella mushrooms, and spoon fruit. Spoon fruit is a type of preserve that is served in a one bite portion. It is both sour, tart, and sweet.
Chef Dushyant Singh served under cooked boar with filo pastry. The filo was also under cooked, as it was still raw inside. He was chopped this round.
The Dessert Round
The secret ingredients of this round were prickly pear cactus, Italian wafer cookies, goat’s milk ricotta, and single malt Scotch whiskey. Cactus pears are a common ingredient in Mexican cooking. They have to be handled very carefully as the outside contains tiny spines that are invisible to the naked eye. If handled or swallowed, these hairs cause much discomfort and irritation. The flavor is similar to kiwi.
Chef Sam Choy made goat cheese pasta with a prickly pear compote on top. He left the many seeds of the cactus inside the compote and the judges took issue with it. The seeds are very hard and almost inedible.
Chef Nicole Davenport made a crumble with a whiskey pear sauce. The bottom had burnt but the flavors were great.
In the end it was decided that Chef Sam Choy was the winner! We will see him again in the finale of this special series.