On January 18, the Food Network debuted a new episode of their successful reality competition series, “Chopped” where professional chefs from restaurants and kitchens around the country compete to win $10,000. Starting with 4 contestants, the chefs are given a different “mystery basket” full of ingredients in each round, which all must be used in order to prepare either an appetizer, an entree, or a dessert, depending on where they are in the competition.
Laura Henry-Zoubir, the culinary director of a restaurant group in boston the includes the Regal Beagle in Brookline, and Church, in the Fenway neighborhood, was one of the contestants, who eventually went on to win the $10,000.
The talented chef shows her skills in all three rounds, dealing with some rather difficult ingredients. In the appetizer round, the four contestants opened their baskets to find speck (a type of smoked ham), toybox squash, marrow bones, and fontina cheese. Henry-Zoubir made an appetizer dish of bone marrow with a sprinkling of speck and fontina cheese, with roasted squash on the side.
After moving on to the main entree round, Henry-Zoubir and the found yuzu marmalade, dungeness crab, chicory, and dried blueberries in their “mystery baskets.” Despite only having 30 minutes, Henry-Zoubir used her ingenuity to make a dungeness crab risotto, with a dried blueberry yuzu brown butter, and a sauteed chicory salad.
For the final round, Henry-Zoubir and the other last remaining contestant opened their “mystery baskets” to find pineapple, sunflower seeds, red curry paste, and neopolitan ice cream with which to prepare their desserts. Henry-Zoubir took a risk and won despite not using all 3 flavors in the neopolitan ice cream (she used just the vanilla) with her pineapple clafoutis, sunflower and red curry paste bark.
After the judges informed her that she was bringing a victory back to Boston as well as a $10,000 check because she “beat a lot of cities today,” Henry-Zoubir told the judges “Boston is number 1 for me.” She then shared that she would use her winnings to go visit her husband’s homeland and family in Morocco.
The night of the original airing, Church held a viewing party, where guests were invited to pay a $15 entry fee at the door, which was donated in part to Kids Can Cook. Kids Can Cook provides inner-city middle schoolers with an innovative and educational out-of-school experience designed to teach important life skills through cooking. The evening’s festivities included $5 drink specials, mini portions of her “mystery basket” dishes, and DJ Paul Foley spinning tunes during commercial breaks.