Chopped Competition – Inaugural Cook-off

Several weeks ago, after several drinks and a little trash talk, our neighbors decided we needed to do a Chopped competition. Since Chris and I weren’t in on the original conversation, we were immediately nominated as judges (read: taste testers).  With little debate, it was decided this was a boys versus girls competition.

For those of you unfamiliar, here’s how it works. Each team is presented a basket of ingredients. The ingredients are typically a protein, starch, veggie, and fruit. Each team’s basket is identical. The teams have to create an entree using all ingredients provided, but have creative liberty with whatever is in the pantry/refrigerator.

Chris and I took our role as judges very seriously.  We had a long list of ingredients that we narrowed down to 5 (the major categories and a mystery ingredient):

The ingredients were:

  • Protein: Lamb chops
  • Fruit: Canned sliced pineapple
  • Veggie: Acorn squash
  • Starch: Corn Flakes
  • Mystery ingredient: Cocoa powder
The girls checking out their loot
After the baskets were opened, we put an hour on the clock and they were off…
Strategizing

The boys immediately headed for the smoker

Slicing and dicing… but are they doing it right??

We had to share one kitchen. Luckily it’s a big one with two ovens and five gas burners.
The last five minutes were amazing. Chris and I sat back with our glasses of wine and watched them sweat. There was concern over “doneness” of the girls’ meat and the boys were hung up on presentation and details. We literally counted down the last seconds and everyone’s hands went up in the air. 
With our judges score cards handy, we were ready to get to tasting.
The girls’ dish: A coffee/cocoa rubbed lamb chop on a bed of corn flakes/pumpkin seeds, with a side of roasted acorn squash, pumpkin seeds, and goat cheese. All served with a side of cheese bread.

The boys served a grilled lamb chop with balsamic/mole sauce topped with a grilled pineapple, and serve with tempura pineapple and squash (tempura batter included corn flakes).

The feedback we provided to the girls’ was very positive. They did a great job on the lamb (though they fretted it wasn’t cooked enough, it possibly could have been cooked less). The acorn squash was fantastic and there was a continuous taste of fall in the whole dish. The cheese bread was good, but unnecessary.

The boys’ presentation was lovely. They even served a starter salad with ginger vinegarette (and some sake).  The lamb could not have been cooked more perfectly, but where they excelled on details (presentation, starter salad, etc), they lost in their sides. The tempura was too heavily battered. 

With that, we gave a barely higher score to the girls to be the inaugural winners of the Frisco Chopped Competition. Chris and I made them a certificate to proudly be hung! Next competition is already in the works! 

One Comment Add yours

  1. Sara Watson says:

    LOVE this idea…. and I spot some Becker wine. awesome 🙂

    Like

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