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‘Chopped’ welcomes 'Teen Talent' on Food Network

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Last night's episode of "Chopped" offered four teenage chefs an opportunity to compete for the $40,000 scholarship to culinary school and the very elusive title of a champion in this episode titled “Teen Talent.”
The judges for this episode are: Marcus Samuelsson, Alex Guarnaschelli and special guest judge, Chef Joseph Brown of International Culinary Schools at the Art Institutes. The host, as always is Ted Allen.

The junior chefs for this challenge were: 13-year-old Hunter Zampa, 15-year-old Roxy Belfiore, 16-year-old Matthew Wheelock from Brooklyn, N.Y. and 14-year-old Simona Alomary from Piscataway, N.J.

The first round appetizer mystery box contained: Swordfish Steaks, Broccoli Rabe, Tiger Figs and Cherry Flavored Drink. Matthew made Asian marinated swordfish using mirin, soy sauce and Asian hot sauce. Hunter made pan-seared swordfish with pickled tiger figs using fish sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil. Roxy made seared swordfish with cherry reduction using chicken stock and onion. Simona made spiced seared swordfish steak using cumin, paprika and panko. Roxy was eliminated in this round because her reduction was too thin, and the figs were not prominent enough in the dish.

The entree round contained: Toaster Pastries, Filet Mignon, Truffles and Heirloom Tomatoes. Hunter made pan-seared filet mignon with fried heirloom tomato salad using cognac, panko and cumin. Simona made toaster pastry crusted-filet mignon using cumin, yogurt and frisee. Matthew made pan-seared spiced filet mignon using chili powder, paprika and cinnamon. The teen chef who was "Chopped" in this round was Matthew because his toaster pastry was not integrated properly, but although he was eliminated, Chef Zakarian offered him an internship in his restaurant.

The dessert round included: Strawberry Mints, Salt Bagels, Cream Cheese and Cotton Candy Grapes. Simona made molten amaretto brownies with cream cheese frosting using almonds, chocolate and vanilla extract. Hunter made cream cheese ice cream with grape mint compote using cream, eggs and sugar.

The winner of the $40,000 scholarship and "Chopped" champion was Hunter, but the judges and Chef Joseph Brown were so impressed with the four contestants, that they awarded to Roxy and Matthew each $5,000 scholarships. For Simona, as runner-up, she received a $20,000 scholarship, and each won a $1,000 gift certificate to the Food Network online store.

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