Our commenters weren't great fans of Scott Conant on Top Chef, but there he was again on last night's episode of Chopped, along with fellow judges Amanda Freitag and Geoffrey Zakarian. In the appetizer round, Sean Chudoba, chef/owner of Ayza ("one of the hottest new wine bars in Manhattan" — in his opinion), was chopped because he was too embarrassed to plate a disastrous banana brûlée. The judges' favorite: Taim owner Einat Amony's bananas wrapped in bacon. In the entrée round, Zakarian chided Amony for failing to wash her scallops ("These are the rubber bands that attach the scallop to the shell; I don't want to eat those"), and he deemed the collard greens they were wrapped in too chewy. Meanwhile Luis Gonzales, the executive chef at Knickerbocker Grill, didn't do much better with his tomatoes with sage ("tastes almost like soap," said Conant). Nevertheless Gonzales and Amony blew past Kyle Chadix, a queeny dietitian with a Forrest Gump drawl, to face off in the dessert round. Amony's ricotta and grits fritters were too oily for Conant, but in the end it was Gonzales who committed an unforgivable sin while baking an almond and black plum meltdown cake — "Did you taste your batter at all?" Scotty asked. "I think you may have mistaken sugar for salt." Oops! And that was all she wrote. We have to admit, the show is slowly growing on us, mostly because the food gets far more camera time during prep and presentation than on Top Chef. And now we'll think twice before ordering anything with sugar or salt in it at the Knickerbocker. We'll miss those churros at the bar!
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