cswchoppedI had interviewed for the first Chopped Grill Masters, which was about 2 years ago.  Recorded out West, Ernest Servantes won that tournament!  Imagine my surprise when I was contacted to interview for the 2015 Chopped Grill Masters!  It was sort of inferred after the first interview, that I was “too old” to appear.  First thing I told the interviewer that my age problem was even worse this time.  I was honored to be chosen as one of 16 competitors for this year’s Chopped Grill Masters.  Show number 2 was Matty Melehes, a professional chef, MB Galyean, an expedition chef, Stan Hays, County Line Smokers and Operation BBQ Relief cofounder and Candy Sue Weaver, BBQr’s Delight.  I think we were the best group.  We were a bit different than the “normal” Chopped competitors — we really liked and supported each other!

As time goes by, I intend to keep in touch with my fellow Chopped alumni.  I know that each of us are far from done with our culinary adventures!

choppedjudgingThe way Chopped works — 4 cooks have a box of mystery ingredients.  You open the box and you have 20 minutes to make cooking magic happen and make an appetizer on the grill.  There were three antique pickup trucks with pantry items that cooks can use to augment the items in the box.  Every item in the box must be in the final presentation.  20 minutes is an unbelievably short time span in these circumstances!  After judging, the 4 cooks are brought in front of the judging to discuss their offering.

Photo shows me, Stan Hays, MB Galyean and Matty Melehes at the end of the appetizer round.  I was Chopped!  I so deserved it.  First rule — you must complete your dish!

Time got away from me and presentation was a major failure.

Next round is entrée — Stan, MB and Matty had to work with a rack of elk, collard greens and other odd ingredients.  They had 30 minutes.  That’s not very long either.  The cooks had a Weber gas grill and a ranch kettle at their stations.  A Weber Smoky Mountain cooker was also available to all.  Stan took advantage of the WSM to get a bit of smoke on the elk.  Matty’s elk was way, way undercooked.  He was the 2nd cook out of the game.

So MB and Stan face off for dessert.  This basket of mystery ingredients was likely the toughest to put together.  There were chocolate cupcakes, acorn squash and some unusual spice mix to concoct a grilled confection in 30 minutes.

Stan won!