The first episode of Chopped All Stars was with four famous Iron Chefs. First is Marc Forgione who is famous for cooking contemporary American food.”. Second was Jose Garces, who cooks with modern Latin flavors. Third was Cat Cora, who is the famous female southern Iron Chef. Last was Michael Symon who cooks with big, bold American flavors with a hint of Mediterranean. They were competing for the opportunity to win $50,000 over five episodes to be given to their charity of choice.
The judges for such a high caliber of chefs were Arron Sanches, Geoffrey Zakarian, and Scott Conant. The judging would take place in three rounds: appetizer, main course, and dessert. Points would be awarded for presentation, taste, and creativity. Each round had a new secret basket, where four random ingredients would need to be put together to create a new dish.
The appetizer round had crawfish, lemon cucumber, purple wax beans, and precooked beef tendon as the ingredients. The beef tendon was a strange one but it has a texture and flavor similar to pork belly.
Jose Garces was out this round for preparing vinaigrette with ground whole crawfish. The judges found the grit from the shells almost made the dish inedible.
The main course round had the secret ingredients of octopus, dandelion greens, aged Gouda, and sour trahana. The sour trahana is a traditional Greek ingredient made with grain and cheese. It is very similar to a pasta or polenta.
Marc Forgione and Michael Symon created a very similar dish of a tomato-based sauce with the octopus. Cat Cora was eliminated for having the toughest octopus of the group.
The dessert round had the secret ingredients of plums, coconut rum, black beans, and quesco fresco. Quesco fresco is a common cheese in Mexico that can be compared to feta. Michael made doughnuts with black bean caramel sauce. Marc Forgione made a cream soup, which meant that each round he created a type of soup or stew.
The decision was hard for the judges, and they had to go back onto each rounds offering. In the end, Michael Symon was the winner and he will go to the finale where he will have a chance to win money for his charity of choice.