Update: Here's the recap of the finals.
Local chef Ric Orlando (New World Home Cooking in Saugerties, New World Bistro Bar in Albany) was back on the Food Network show Chopped Tuesday night.
He won during his first appearance on the show -- but this time around he was up against three other champs from other episodes. The final spot in the champions' tournament -- and a shot at $50k -- was on the line.
Let's go to the play-by-play!
The basic format of this show: four chefs get a basket of mystery ingredients they must make into an appetizer in 20 minutes. At the end of the round, one of them gets chopped and the remaining chefs move on to the next round.
Rebecca Newell: exec chef at The Beehive in Boston - "I was awesome, but I already knew that"
Mario Tolentino: chef at Juliet Supperclub in NYC
Christian Petroni: from the Bronx, it's tatooed on his lip -- chef at a restaurant group in Connecticut
Ric Orlando: "I'm old school and I rock"
Basket ingredients: smoked kippers (cold smoked, need to be cooked), water chestnuts (unpeeled), leeks, lemon-lime soda
+ Ric's making fish cakes with lemon-lime soda
+ Ric says he'd like to win it for the old-school
+ Oh, no! Ric's fish cakes don't sizzle in the oil -- not hot enough, waited too long to get the pan hot -- "I'm not going to make it" -- "Come on, pan!"
+ Judges don't think he's going to make it. They're cringing.
+ Ric yells, "Come on!" Judges can't watch.
+ He waits until the last few seconds to plate the fish cakes. The last cake hits the plate at the last moment.
+ Ric voiceover: "I hope one of the other chefs made a bigger blunder."
Mario: tempura kippers with leak puree and water chestnut puree. Judges like soda tempura idea, if not execution (the batter kind of disappeared)
Rebecca: leek chestnut potato pancake with kipper sour cream. Judges say they like the idea, but execution falls short (oily pancakes).
Christian: kipper tartare. The judges are skeptical about whether it's safe to eat, because Ted mentioned the kippers had to be cooked. They say it's overwhelming as a tartare. Guarnaschelli says he closed his eyes and pretended it was something it wasn't (fresh fish).
Ric: crunchy smoked kipper cake with Vietnamese herb, apple and leek salad, with hot sweet and sour vinaigrette. -- judges note haphazard plating, note that cakes are raw in the middle, but salad and spicy dressing are delicious. Judges like the idea, just not the raw cakes (no comment from Guarnaschelli -- she was edited to look like a Ric skeptic in his first appearance).
Judges talk about strength of concepts, but lack of execution. Guarnaschelli calls Ric's dish "the Chopped Shakespearean tragedy, act 1" -- weaved together ingredients seamlessly, but it simply wasn't cooked. Despite that, Murphy notes Ric's sauce is amazing.
In voice over, Ric says he hopes flavor profiles will save him.
Result: Chris and his tartare chopped. Judges say it wasn't for using the raw kippers, but the dressing, which was too salty.
Basket ingredients: caperberries, parsley root, chocolate hazelnut spread (it looks like Nutella), elk tenderloin
+ Ric decides to make the elk with a red wine chocolate sauce, based on dish he makes at his restaurants with venison -- goes for a bunch of spices on the tenderloin -- "Spices, baby!"
+ Ric "I want to win. Take my wife to Italy."
+ Ric voiceover: says ingredients are all there, just has to execute
+ Santos notes that Ric has waited a long time to put his grill pan on the stovetop
+ Chaos in the kitchen, chefs are dashing everywhere
+ Ric has bad flashbacks about his undercooked fishcakes
+ His potatoes aren't cooking -- so he puts them in in his "old friend, Mike" -- that would be the microwave
+ Ric says he's worried about getting the right temperature on the elk for the judges -- he likes it very rare, but he's not sure if they'll be into it
+ Mario overcooks his elk
+ Rebecca confident
+ Ric uses mashed potatoes as dam between his sauce and greens
+ Race to the finish -- Ric jokes after the deadline "Why are we doing this? Oh, right, the money."
Rebecca: hazelnut-rubbed tenderloin, caperberry pan jus, parsley root risotto. Guarnaschelli says she admires attempt at risotto. Santos says he doesn't understand why she used water for the risotto (under seasoned)
Ric: spice-rubbed elk filet mignon, with parsley root mashed potatoes, fried caper parsley salad. Guarnaschelli loves execution of elk -- "cocoa-y." Murphy loves parsley root puree. Guarnaschelli does not like caperberries. Santos says every thing else on the plate is "fantastic" -- "once again you're showing us you are a very talented cook."
Mario: pan roasted elk loin, three preparations of parsley root, hazelnut bordelaise. Judges rave about presentation and puree -- but elk is overcooked. Santos says it's "dry as a brick."
Guarnaschelli: felt like championship round
Murphy says he likes the way Ric gets the flavors and goes for it.
Murphy and Santos both thought Ric had the best elk -- Guarnaschelli liked Rebecca's. Mario bricked his elk, but judges loved his parsley root.
Result: Rebecca chopped. Murphy says the risotto "backfired" -- overcooked and under seasoned.
Basket ingredients: taco shells, bosc pears, crema, red curry paste
+ Ric says he's recognizes Mario's talent, but says he's "force to be reckoned with."
+ Ric says he loves red curry paste and says it's a natural with pears
+ Mario goes for the ice cream machine, even though "I've never made ice cream."
+ Ric also thinks about ice cream with crema, but sees Mario's gone for the machine
+ Ric decides on a whimsical dessert taco -- a sort of Choco Taco.
+ Ric adds crema to carmelizing pears. Says he's very confident about the way they'll taste.
+ Calling them "Ziggy Tacos and the Pear filling from Mars" -- in honor of David Bowie.
+ Ric makes chocolate sauce with red curry pears
+ Santos says Mario is like a mad scientist -- Mario uses crema to make caramel.
+ Ric gets almonds going in a pan to coat the taco shells -- but they burn while he's in the pantry. Says the end is again becoming a "fire drill"
+ Ric says he's not excited about presentation, but "knows it will be an explosion of flavor."
Ric: "Ziggy Taco and the pear filling from Mars" -- taco with bitter chocolate, pears with red curry and maple syrup. Murphy looks perplexed about how to eat it -- Ric encourages him to pick up the taco and go for it -- "there are some real bangin' flavors on there for you." Guarnaschelli says she doesn't know how he does it -- "it's really imaginitive" -- loves chocolate with cardamon. Santos says it's "strangely good" and "much better than I expected." Guarnaschelli says the cream is a little grainy.
Mario: tortilla-crusted pear with sherbet and spicy red curry caramel. Santos praises Mario for taking ice cream risk. Guarnaschelli says she doesn't like it at all -- grainy and doesn't have enough flavor. Santos doesn't like crusted pear.
Judges say Mario tried to wow them with sophistication, but should simplify. Guarnaschelli says she never thought she'd like Ric's dessert, but it was great -- pears were "meaty." Guarnaschelli says she admires Ric's "insanely bold use of the spices in the chocolate"
Mario in voiceover: "I'm not going to lose to a Choco Taco. That's ridiculous."
Result: Mario chopped! Ric wins and advances to finale !
Guarnaschelli: Mario brought a lot of energy, but it didn't always translate on the plate.
Ric: "I feel like The Who at the Super Bowl -- and then they come out and it's like, wow, these guys rock."
He now advances to the finals of champions tournament, with $50k on the line.
New World Bistro Bar has advertised on AOA in the past
screengrab: Food Network
We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.