Back in May, in the 37th (!) season of Chopped, Evan Hennessey won the whole shebang and got ten grand for his trouble. Now, he’s back on Chopped Champions and right back at his old ways of winning Chopped Challenges. Hennessy cleverly used the mystery ingredients from each of the three baskets to carve his way to a chance at $50,000 in the finale.
Evan Hennessey Advances to Final
In the appetizer challenge, the prior champions had to use smelt, carrots and turmeric tea. Hennessey, a native of New England, had no trouble making an appetizer from the ingredients. According to Hennessey, his breadth of knowledge on the history of ingredients and the culinary culture of New England helped him in the challenge.
His appetizer was a turmeric tempura battered smelt with blistered carrots that the judges loved. They said it not only looked great but had awesome textures and flavors to boot. Hennessey advanced to the entrée round!
The Entrée Round saw the seasoned New Englander tackle an incredibly odd basket: blueberry pie filling, salty licorice, green tomatoes and venison. Thankfully for Hennessey, venison is another New England favorite. His dish for this basket was blueberry glazed venison loin with pickled green tomatoes with a yogurt sauce.
As you might expect, this particular dish pays homage to New England’s history of Nordic cuisine. Blueberries are an easy inclusion in New England regional cuisine, and Hennessey knocked this particular dish out of the park.
In the final round, Hennessey was thrown for a loop with the inclusion of the cotton candy “burrito” in the basket. “That was a crazy ingredient. I thought about melting down the cotton candy but that wouldn’t have worked. I couldn’t make it into something else,” the chef stated in an interview.
His dish was a mango and milk jam mousse with cotton candy and macadamia nut crumble. That creative and risky dish payed off in a big way, as the judges loved it, and Hennessey advances to the final. On November 6th, he’ll compete with the other Champion Finalists for a shot at $50,000!