Michael Symon Takes the First Round of Chopped All-Stars

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Iron Chef Cat Cora and Iron Chef Michael Symon working on their appetizers as seen on Food Networks, Chopped All Stars Tournament, Season 10 EP10-09

Photo by: David Lang ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

David Lang, 2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Yesterday on FN Dish, we broke down the first episode of Chopped All-Stars for you, including an interview with runner-up Marc Forgione.

Today, we're chatting with the first-round winner and Iron Chef extraordinaire, Michael Symon.

What was it like  competing against your fellow Iron Chefs?

MS: It's always flattering and an honor to compete against chefs that work at such a high level. It's also so much fun.

Which basket did you have the most trouble with?
MS: Dessert. I'm not a huge fan of rum.

The black bean caramel sauce — you had judges and viewers puzzled by this creation. What do the black beans do to the sauce? Is this something you'd recommend people at home try?

MS: I wouldn't say this has to be done at home. The black beans were in the basket because they're an unusual ingredient for desserts. As someone who doesn't like desserts that are too sweet, I knew the beans would cut the sweetness of the caramel and I think the result was a well-balanced dessert.

You're still undefeated (Burger Bash, too), and even though he lost, Marc Forgione wants you to bring the whole thing home for the Iron Chefs. What's your strategy going into the grand finale?

MS: My strategy is to continue to cook good food. The plating of my first course wasn't up to my personal standards, but when I only have a few minutes, I focus on preparing the tastiest food that I can make. I always hope to be judged on taste.

Tune in this Sunday at 9pm/8c when four gourmet globetrotters — Keegan Gerhard, Marcela Valladolid, Jeffrey Saad and Aarti Sequeira — take their place on the Chopping Block.

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