Chopped!: Scott Conant is so angry!
Wed Mar 18 2009
Raiding the fridge on Chopped!.
Last night's episode of string cheese, jicama and gingersnaps featured some of the harshest criticism (save Gordo's filthy tirades) that we've seen on any reality cooking show. A cantankerous Scott Conant was containing some serious anger on Chopped!. He was joined at the judge's table by Amanda Freitag and Geoffrey Zakarian. As for the contestants, there was Jonathan Jernigan of Catering by Jonathan; giant of a man Darius Peacock, executive chef of Exceptional Taste Catering; and executive chefs and business partners King Phojanakong of Kuma Inn and Phet Schwader, exec chef at Talay (which he runs with Phojanakong).
The appetizer round found the chefs working with chicken wings, soba noodles, celery and string cheese. All of the chefs were in a rush to cook the chicken in time, but only Schwader and Peacock were able to serve completed dishes. Schwader's chicken miso broth with soba and pickled onions was praised for its competent use of the ingredients, and Peacock received compliments for stuffing his chicken wings with cheese and celery. Conant was so aggravated by Phojanakong and Jernigan's decision to serve the celery and string cheese whole that he suggested chopping them both until Zakarian chimed in. And so, Zakarian delivered Jernigan a nasty chop: "Your dish failed on all three levels: creativity, presentation and taste. We all thought it was just awful and you are chopped"—burn!
For entres, the chefs were given striped bass, pimento peppers, jicama, mango and Brie. Even the judges were confounded by the prospective combo of cheese and fish, but Schwader and Peacock delivered once again, with Peacock using his Brie in a very clever savory bread pudding, and Schwader earning points for a flavorful red-pepper-and-onion puree complementing his fish. As for Phojanakong, Freitag felt he didn't take advantage of the second chance they gave him, and Conant had this to say: "I'm gonna try and control my anger toward the food that I had today. None of your cooking components actually came together at all. You can't move forward." Anything you need to work out with your therapist there, Scotty?
Desserts had to be made with gingersnaps, crme frache, instant coffee and carrots. Peacock put forth a carrot genoise with raspberry syrup and ginger coffee cream, and Schwader was reprimanded for a gummy and too-thick crpe. In the end, the judges felt that Peacock "just brought a level of passion, love and soul to his plates" that Schwader was missing, and so he was chopped.—Zachary Feldman
Next week: More chefs tackle jumbo shrimp, pepperoni, and cereal!
Related: See all Chopped! posts.