Chefs Battle in 2nd Annual Chopped Competition at Roger Williams

By Stephanie Keith, Marketing Manager/Controller

The 2nd Annual Chopped judges and the winning team, left to right: Executive Chef Brian Dagnall, Cook Angel Gaynor, Executive Chef Jim Lachance, Executive Chef Robert Lavoie, Lead Cook Meredith Rose

Thanks to the popularity of last year’s Chopped Competition, the challenge made a repeat performance at Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI. Just like in the popular Food Network show, Bon Appétit’s Chopped contestants show off their creativity and cooking skills under the pressure of a ticking clock. The competition is made up of three segments – appetizer, entrée, and dessert. After each session, two teams are “chopped” from the competition.

This year, Bon Appétit cooks from seven New England universities participated: Roger Williams University; Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT; Saint Joseph’s College in Standish, ME; Saint Joseph College in West Hartford, CT; Lesley University in Cambridge, MA; and Emmanuel College and MIT, both in Boston.

Teams of two competed to unseat last year’s Chopped Champions from Wesleyan University. As the teams gathered in the kitchen, the stopwatch was set for 30 minutes, the ingredients for the appetizer course were revealed, and the clock was started.

In the appetizer baskets were quahogs, Thai chili peppers, foie gras, and blood oranges. The 30-minutes flew by lightning fast, requiring the chef teams to deliver their plated dishes to Bon Appétit chef-judges Robert Lavoie (Executive Chef; Roger Williams), Jim Lachance (Executive Chef – Next House; MIT), and Brian Dagnall ( Executive Chef; Wesleyan) just as the timer sounded.

After tasting the dishes, the judges decided together which two of the seven teams were to be chopped. The remaining five teams made their way back to the kitchen to find out what the next basket held in store for them. A strange mixture of squab, radicchio, granola bars, and mango made for some nervous chefs. Chop! And there were three teams left for the dessert portion of the competition. The dessert basket was truly a challenge, containing rice crackers, celery root, chocolate chevre, and gummy bears!

As minds raced, knives chopped, and pots boiled, the final buzzer rang in the kitchen. The remaining three teams placed their desserts on the rack and made their way to the judges. While all the participating cooks displayed creative cooking techniques, artful plating, and great teamwork, in the end, only one team could win the 2nd annual Chopped competition.

The proud winners were Prep Cook Angel Gaynor and Lead Cook Meredith Rose from host school Roger Williams!

In addition to the glory, each received a beautiful Shun knife. Congratulations to all of the teams who participated!