Last night’s episode of “Chopped” was titled “Chinese New Year.” Four more chefs were given the opportunity to compete for the $10,000 and title of a champion. The judges for this episode are: Amanda Freitag, Scott Conant and Brooklyn-born Chef Chris Cheung, who is acclaimed for his modern approach to Chinese cooking, with the host, as always Ted Allen. The chefs for this competition must make Chinese New Year inspired dishes in every round.
The chefs competing in this showdown are: Vanarin Kuch, pastry chef at Andaz 5th Avenue in NYC, Martin Weaver, and chef de cuisine at Kuu Restaurant in Houston, Texas, Kathy Fang, chef/owner of Fang Restaurant in San Francisco, California, and Justin Herrera, sous chef at Navy Restaurant in NYC.
The 20-minute Appetizer round the mystery box contained: Peking Duck, Leeks, Chinese New Year Rice Pudding and Chinese Sausage. Kathy made Rice Pudding Congee using chicken stock, soy sauce and lemon. Martin made Chinese Stir-Fry with Crispy Duck using frisẻe, ginger and onions. Vanarin made Leek Pancake with Seared Duck using fish sauce, vinegar and flour. Justin made Sweet & Sour Duck with Bitter Slaw using sesame oil, soy sauce and honey. The chef eliminated in this round was Justin whose anxiety got the better of him and left off the fried rice he made.
The 30-minute Entree round contained: Chicken Feet, Turnip Cakes, Dragon Fruit and Whole Red Snapper. Vanarin made Chicken Feet Dashi with Sautéed Red Snapper using chicken stock, star anise and guajillo peppers. Kathy made Braised Snapper with Chicken Feet Reduction using fish sauce, chili paste, mirin and corn starch. Martin made Red Chili Chicken Foot with Soy Fish Broth using honey, red chili, ginger and soy sauce. The chef “Chopped” was Vanarin, who garnished his plate with an inedible chicken foot.
The 30-minute Dessert round included: Giant Fortune Cookies, Good-Luck Candy, Ginger Beer and Winter Melon. Martin made Pound Cake with Lucky Candy Caramel using eggs, flour and butter. Kathy made Good Luck Candy Rice Pudding using Arborio rice, coconut milk and butter. The winner of the $10,000, and the “Chopped” champion was Kathy Fang, who hopes to get a huge pat on the back from her father.