No one really talks about Chopped, the Food Network's erstwhile JV-team Top Chef knockoff that challenges relatively unknown chefs to create edible dishes using the most oddball combination of mystery basket ingredients, all the while enduring icy death stares from the judges. It is, at times, hard to watch. Anyway, the network brought back previous winners for a series of semi-finals — calling it "Chopped Champions" — and last night was the ultimate final episode to choose the, er, Chopped Champion.
In the end, London native Madison Cowan beat out the three other finalists to walk away with the title and $50,000. After winning the competition, producers surprised Cowan with his six-year-old daughter who snuck up behind him. And then came the waterworks — a true, genuine moment — even judges Marc Murphy, Alex Guarnaschelli, and Geoffrey Zakarian cried. Awww.
The appetizer round the contestants had to combine geoduck (not "gooey duck" as the Post spells it), Buddha's Hand, black radishes, and waffle cones. The entree round had smelt, dried red currants, cheese curls (aka Cheetos), and rack of wild boar. And finally, for the dessert round: champagne, dragon fruit, tahini, and cake flour. Cowan's dessert? A dark chocolate and tahini cake with a dragon fruit and champagne compote.
More on Madison Cowan
Cowan is the owner of Avenue Inc., a New York City-based culinary production company, and he also operates what he calls "a global clandestine dining club." From his Food Network bio: "My family reads like the United Nations. I was born in South London to a Jamaican father and an African-American mother. My wife is Danish, my daughter is Japanese and I'm just a ragamuffin from Brixton." Cowan told the Post that he "plans to use his winnings to bring his family to the States" from London.
Video: Chopped Champions Dessert Presentation
Video: Chopped Champion Announced
Video: Chopped Champion Waterworks