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Ric Orlando Chops Again

September 23, 2010

As a sequel of sorts to a previous post, local chef and restaurateur Ric Orlando was back on the Food Network’s “Chopped” program on Tuesday night, but this time as a part of “Chopped Champions,” a tournament for previous winners of this season’s “Chopped.”  Once again Ric faced off against three other chefs, each vying for the final spot in the “Chopped Champions” finale, where the winner receives $50,000.  While Ric did not look quite as impressive as in his first appearance, he still managed to create unique dishes that were good enough to win.

The appetizer round featured the following ingredients:  smoked kippers (cold smoked, need to be cooked), water chestnuts (unpeeled), leeks, and lemon-lime soda.  Ric put together a smoked kipper cake with a Vietnamese herb, apple and leek salad with a spicy sweet and sour dressing.  The judges all loved the salad, and they agreed that had the cake not been raw in the middle, they would have loved that as well.  Ric was very disappointed his cake did not get cooked, but the contestant who elected to not cook the kippers at all (he made a kipper tartar) got “chopped” and Ric made it through to the entrée round.

That round featured the following ingredients:  caper berries, parsley root, chocolate hazelnut spread, and elk tenderloin.  Ric created a spice-rubbed elk filet in a chocolate hazelnut sauce with parsley root mashed potatoes and a fried caper parsley salad.  The judges were split – they all thought Ric’s elk was amazing, but one of them disliked the potatoes and another didn’t care for the fried caper berries.  But another contestant made a horrible risotto which got them axed – er, I mean, chopped – so Ric made it to the final dessert round.

The mystery ingredients for this round were:  taco shells, bosc pears, crema (a more liquefied Mexican version of sour cream), and red curry paste.  Ric dubbed his dish “Ziggy Taco and the pear filling from Mars” (he’s a rock n’ roll guy, if you were wondering).  He filled the taco shells with bitter chocolate and pears cooked in the red curry paste with maple syrup.  The judges were a bit unsure how to eat it, but once they did, they absolutely loved it.  Ric was able to balance sweet and spicy with precision.  They said the spices in the chocolate matched perfectly with the sweet and spicy pears.  Ric’s competitor fell well short, allowing Ric to advance into the grand finale.  Congrats to Chef Orlando!

This episode will re-air on the Food Network this Friday at 8PM and Saturday at 3PM, if you want to see Ric in action.  The grand finale episode will air Tuesday 9/28 at 10PM, so tune in and root Ric on to victory!  Enjoy.

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