Tag Archives: Chopped

Chef Silvia Baldini of Strawberry and Sage in New Canaan Competes on Chopped

10 Mar
Chef Silvia Baldini, picture from a recent press release

Chef Silvia Baldini, picture from a recent press release

Connecticut has seen its fair share of competitors on Food Network such as Chef Plum of PlumLuvFoods winning Guy’s Grocery Games, Nicole and Jeremy of Hardcore Sweet Cupcakes, Prasad Chirnomula of Thali, and Christian Petroni and Adam Greenberg of Fortina on Chopped, but there’s a new boss in town. That bad ass chef? Silvia Baldini, the founder and chef of New Canaan’s Strawberry and Sage culinary group. She is a graduate of the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu in London and the Cornell/French Culinary Institute. And, on March 31 at 10 pm she’ll be putting all she learned and all her experience at heavily-awarded restaurants across the world to the test as she competes on Food Network’s Chopped.

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Chef Adam Greenberg of Fortina Competes on Chopped: Results (Spoiler Alert)

25 Feb
The Competitors for Chopped, Late Night Food Brawl. Local chef Adam Greenberg is pictured to the right. Photo from foodnetwork.com

The Competitors for Chopped, Late Night Food Brawl. Local chef Adam Greenberg is pictured to the right. Photo from foodnetwork.com

If you were given a plate of poutine with cold cheese all blobbed together on top of soggy fries and were then told that you needed to make a dish using that Canadian treat, Italian sausage, and tomatillos what would you make? Well, hell, we’d just eat the stuff, but the four competitors on Food Network’s Chopped last night needed to figure that one out . . . and quick. 

One of those four chefs who were competing for the $10,000 prize was Adam Greenberg, the former Executive Chef at the uber-successful Barcelona in West Hartford. Although he doesn’t work there anymore, he’s not too far away from Fairfield County now as he works at Fortina in Rye Brook, NY . . . just over the CT border. To see Chef Greenberg compete in Chopped wasn’t anything new for the Fortina boys, though, because Christian Petroni was also a competitor and laid down the law, taking home the big prize himself.

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Take a Culinary Tour Through Latin America via Aarón Sánchez’s Paloma in Harbor Point, Stamford

22 Jul

Let’s just put it out there now…we haven’t had the best of luck with celebrity chef restaurants over the past few years, with the exception of Gordon Ramsay’s Maze and Michael Psilakis’s Kefi both in NYC.  More often than not we’ve had disappointing meals like our experience at the recently closed Primary Food & Drink by Graham Elliot and at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill in Las Vegas. We’ve found that a celebrity chef putting his or her stamp on a restaurant and menu doesn’t guarantee anything.  So, you’ll have to forgive our skepticism when Aarón Sánchez made plans to open up Paloma in the Harbor Point area of Stamford (where The Beer Garden used to be). Would Chef Sanchez, from Chopped and Cooking Channel’s Heat Seekers (with partner in crime Roger Mooking), be a rare exception?

Well, you better believe we wanted to find out ASAP.  We just so happened to see an ambiguous announcement on Harbor Point’s Facebook page Saturday evening so we made a bee-line for Harbor Point to see if it was really open.  To our delight it was a soft opening and we were lucky enough to get a table.  SCORE!  So, let’s get down to biz-natch… Continue reading

Top 10 Local Kids Compete @ Future Chef’s Cook Off w/ Tastings, Activities, and Raffles

27 May
Three of the winners cooking and baking in the kitchens of DiMare, Cafe Oo La La, and Casa villa

Three of the winners cooking and baking in the kitchens of DiMare, Cafe Oo La La, and Casa Villa

When you picture cooking competitions, who do you picture cooking up a storm?  Seasoned (pun intended) vets in the kitchen, talented chef/owners who own culinary empires, food truck operators, or CIA grads ready to make names for themselves?  How about a group of kids?  Well, that’s exactly what you’ll get when you head to the Future Chef’s Cook Off on June 8, 2014 from 12 to 3 at The Italian Center in Stamford.  Tickets are $35 online or $40 at the door, $10 online or $15 at the door for ages 7-18, and free for kids 6 and under.  Tickets get you in the door, get you tastings of all the food, and get you the happiness in knowing that you’ll be helping kids with cancer via Yale-New Haven Hospital.

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Aarón Sánchez to Judge Future Chefs Cook Off Hosted by Hunter Zampa to Benefit Friend with Leukemia

19 Mar
Chef Hunter Zampa who competed on Rachael vs. Guy discusses the finer points of his killer venison chili

Hunter Zampa is the youngest Chopped Champion and competed in the show Rachael vs. Guy!

“We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?’ asked Piglet.
Even longer,’ Pooh answered.”
― A.A. MilneWinnie-the-Pooh

Friends.  They gladly give of themselves to help you, support you, and get you through the hardest moments of your life.  That’s just what Hunter Zampa of Stamford (13) is doing with a fundraiser that he’s organized.  He wanted to help his schoolmate, Eli Schwartz, who was diagnosed with Leukemia.  So, using his skills in the kitchen and bringing together a team of culinary hopefuls, he created an event called Future Chefs Cook Off, being held at The Italian Center of Stamford.  While it’s still far away (6/8/14 from 12-3), Hunter’s on the lookout for some talented future chefs, high school age or younger.  Entries are due by midnight of April 8 and the Top 10 contestants will be posted on Hunter’s FB page on April 21.

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Hunter Zampa of Stamford Wins Chopped: Teen Talent

11 Dec


The Mystery Baskets were carefully chosen before Chopped:  Teen Talent aired.  If you had looked at the ingredients before the teenage contestants viewed them, you’d probably think there wasn’t much that tied them together. But, somehow, they had to find their way through three rounds of this classic culinary competition.  And, you better believe the talented youngsters were going to fight hard with a $40,000 scholarship to The International Culinary Schools at the Arts Institutes at stake.  What, just what, would you do with these ingredients?

Appetizer basket:  broccoli rabe, cherry flavored drink, swordfish, tiger figs

Entrée basket:  filet mignon, heirloom tomatoes, jarred black truffles, toaster pastries

Dessert basket:  cotton candy grapes, cream cheese, salt bagels, strawberry mints

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Hunter Zampa from Stamford to Compete on Chopped: Teen Talent

13 Nov
Chef Hunter Zampa who competed on Rachael vs. Guy discusses the finer points of his killer venison chili

Chef Hunter Zampa who competed on Rachael vs. Guy discusses the finer points of his killer venison chili

Update:  how did Hunter Zampa do?  Find out here! 

Hunter Zampa might only be 13, but this Stamford resident has fit a lot of cooking into those years.  He recently created an excellent venison chili for the Stamford Chili Cook-off and also competed in another contest.  This one, though, was a bit bigger:  Rachael vs. Guy:  Kids Cook-off.  Hunter performed very well, cooking his way to the top three of the finale.  

Well, you can’t keep a good chef down!  He’ll be back for more, competing this time on Chopped:  Teen Talent edition.  His episode airs on 12/10 at 10 pm and will pit Hunter against three other youngsters hungry for the $40,000 scholarship.

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Casting Call: Chopped Needs Professional and Amateur Chefs

1 Aug

Food Network is looking for some Chopped champions.  People who can think quickly, creating a meal from scratch based on just a select few ingredients.  This time around on the show, though, they won’t be looking just for professional chefs to win the $10,000 dollar prize.  Chopped will be changing things up with special themed episodes just like the recent Chopped Grill Masters.  These are the possible themes for shows that you could end up cooking on:

  • Amateur Chefs
  • Teen Cooks
  • Military Chefs
  • Culinarily-Creative Moms
  • Formerly Overweight Chefs Who’ve Slimmed Down
  • Unsung Hero Chefs, Cooking for a Cause
  • Families That Cook
  • Family Feud

All you need to do is click here to get to the casting call, answer the questions, then wait for your call from Food Network.  Just like Melt Mobile did with Bobby Flay’s new show 3 Days to Open, let’s show the country what Connecticut is made of.  Also take note that there are also professional chefs wanted.

So, time for your mystery box challenge!

What would you cook with these ingredients?

Pork shoulder




Raspberry jelly

Chef Prasad Chirnomula of Thali on Food Network’s Chopped Tonight

1 May

Credit: from Oaxaca Kitchen site

Yes, you read that correctly.  Chef Prasad Chirnomula of Thali and Oaxaca Kitchen fame will be showing off his culinary chops tonight at 10 pm on Chopped, “Yuzu Never Know.”  Tune to Food Network and see Prasad’s other three challengers and to see what he’s up against!  Each episode is a contest of quick thinking, culinary technique, and just plain raw genius.  Many a chef have quaked when they open up the dreaded baskets, and with good reason.  You never know what you’ll find inside of there.

Well, we do know some details of what’s inside.  We’ll break down the three rounds and will fill in more information after the airing, including the competitors and the winners.  Good luck Chef Prasad!   May the best Indian chef who owns Thali and Oaxaca Kitchen win.  We’ve updated this post to reflect the competitors, the ingredients, and those who were chopped.


1) Prasad Chirnomula: Thali and Oaxaca Kitchen (CT)

2)  Kenneth Johnson:  Pescatore (NY)

3)  Zaina Dell’Aquila:  Condé Nast Café (NY)

4) Fanny Gerson:  La Newyorkina (NY)

Cooking Rounds

1) Appetizers:  chefs must use yuzu, cucumber, black mission figs, and sturgeon filet.

    Who’s chopped?  Chef Prasad, you’ve been chopped.  He forgot to put cucumber in his sturgeon croquette.  Although Chef Fanny’s ceviche was tough, the omission of the cucumber warranted Chef Prasad getting chopped.  In addition, they felt that the mandatory ingredients got lost in his other spices.

2) Entrees:  orange gelatin, mutton chops, baby leeks, and banana potatoes.

Who’s chopped?  Chef Fanny was chopped.  Her potatoes and the sauce on them was great, but her broiled mutton chop had raw fat on it and wasn’t “up to par.”

 3) Desserts:  Israeli couscous,  Mexican chocolate, pasilla chiles, and pineapple.

Who’s chopped?  Chef Zaina, you’re chopped.  Her “bread” pudding was too dry and, overall, the judges felt that Chef Johnson’s  dishes utilized the ingredients better.


Kenneth Johnson of Pescatore lasted ’til the end and took home the $10,000.  He plans to go to Europe and make his granddaughter even prouder.

Air Times 
10 pm, 5/1/12 on Food Network.  Other showings are 5/2 at 1 am, 5/10 at 9 pm, and 5/11 at 12 am.  Past that, you’re on your own.  Check your listings. ;)
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