Local Chef “Chops” the CompetitionJuly 28, 2010
Sorry for the absence in posting of late…technical difficulties have been marring the MHK’s mobility, but things are getting back on track. And we have happy news today, of particular interest to the Upstate New York audience. The Food Network’s competitive cooking show “Chopped” pits four chefs against one another – they are required to cook three courses utlizing “secret” ingredients; before each course they open a basket of goodies and must use each item somehow in their dish. After each course, one chef gets “chopped,” so that there are two competing head-to-head for the dessert course. Last night a locally well-known chef not only appeared on the show, but mopped the floor with his so-called competition.
Ric Orlando is the Executive Chef and owner of New World Home Cooking Cafe in Saugerties (near Woodstock), and is the Executive Chef of the New World Bistro in Albany. Both restaurants are fantastic – Orlando is keen on using “clean food” and is a big advocate of the “slow food” movement. He creates inspired, delicious food that draws on an eclectic mix of ingredients and styles. So it wasn’t surprising at how well he did on “Chopped.” Here’s a brief rundown of what he presented to the judges last night:
Appetizer course ingredients: rainbow trout, Napa cabbage, smoked paprika, white chocolate chips. For this, Ric made pan-seared trout, sweet and sour cabbage and a chipotle chocolate sauce. The judges liked it, but criticized his use of 24 ingredients in the dish.
Entree course ingredients: quail, escarole, chocolate covered raisins and a whole coconut. One of Ric’s signature dishes is Jamaican jerk chicken, so he comfortably turned these items into jerk quail, coconut peas and rice and smothered greens. The judges were blown away, even Alex Guarnaschelli, who is normally as hard-ass as they come for judging. She said she was speechless and that Ric was quite impressive. Judge Mark Murphy said it was one of the best things he’d ever eaten on the show.
Dessert course ingredients: papaya, rice crackers, sake and jura erguel cheese. Ric created a toasted papaya tart with papaya curd. The judges were not thrilled, saying the presentation was messy and was odd in flavor. But two of them loved the taste, and it was more than enough for him to win the whole show.
So congrats to our local culinary hero Ric Orlando! Starting tomorrow, his dishes will be one-month specials at both of his restaurants. The episode will re-air on August 13th at 8PM. Enjoy!