Tune Your Timing
Ask Chef Marc Murphy where he grew up and he'll fire off a list of cosmopolitan destinations — Milan, Paris, Villefranche, Washington, D.C., Rome and Genoa — "and that's before I turned 12," he’ll explain. This dizzying list of hometowns served as an excellent education in French and Italian cuisine, though as a teenager this was not his first passion. When the reality hit that he didn't have the funds to become a professional racecar driver, Marc followed his brother to the Institute of Culinary Education. After graduation he apprenticed at restaurants in France and Italy before returning to New York, where he landed a job as a line cook at Terrance Brennan's Prix Fixe. He stayed there for almost two years, working his way through every station in the kitchen and forging a professional bond with Brennan’s Sous Chefs Joseph Fortunato and David Pasternak. Eager to return to Europe, Marc flew to Paris and landed a position at the one-star Le Miraville, where he stayed for one-and-a-half years. Afterward, he staged at the famed Louis XV in Monte Carlo, where Executive Chef Alain Ducasse was so impressed with Marc's skills that he personally made arrangements for him to work with Sylvain Portay at Le Cirque once he returned to the States. Marc still considers Portay to be his greatest teacher. "Sylvain was above all concerned with coaxing out the most-vibrant, interesting flavors any ingredient had to offer, yet he insisted on minimal manipulation," he recalls. Following Le Cirque, Fortunato tapped him to work as a sous chef at Layla, Drew Nieporent's Middle Eastern fantasy in Tribeca, where he met consultant Georges Masraff. When Masraff joined forces to open Cellar in the Sky at Windows on the World, he recruited Marc to serve as executive chef. After receiving critical acclaim, including a two-star review from The New York Times, Marc headed uptown to serve as executive chef of La Fourchette, where NYT critic Ruth Reichl awarded him another glowing two-star review, citing his "open desire to transform food [so that] in his hands, even a simple green salad ... looks like a ruffled hat in a painting by Renoir." In March 2004 Marc opened his first solo enterprise with Landmarc [Tribeca], which won rave reviews both for its eclectic French and Italian menu as well as its highly untraditional wine list. Following its success, Marc opened Ditch Plains in the West Village in 2006 serving casual, beach-style cuisine such as lobster rolls, fish tacos and the infamous ditch dog, as well as other comfort food favorites. In 2007 Marc was given the opportunity to open another Landmarc restaurant in the prestigious Time Warner Center, where he brought his bistro-style cuisine midtown. In October 2013 Marc opened Kingside at the Viceroy New York hotel on New York's iconic West 57th Street, serving his interpretation of New American cuisine. Marc's restaurants now fall under the Benchmarc Restaurants by Marc Murphy name, where he acts as executive chef and owner. In addition to the restaurants, Marc also heads up the company's catering division, Benchmarc Events by Marc Murphy, where his signature style of accessible contemporary cuisine transcends the boundaries of what is offered in his restaurant locations. Today Marc's involvement in the industry moves beyond the restaurants as well, with a regular role as a judge on Food Network's top-rated hit Chopped as well as appearances on other hit series such as Guy's Grocery Games, Beat Bobby Flay and Worst Cooks in America. Marc also appears on The Rachael Ray Show and The Today Show, among others. He is the president of the Manhattan chapter of the New York State Restaurant Association, a board member of City Harvest, Culintro and Passport NYC at the 92nd Street Y Culinary Camp, as well as a member of the Food + Finance High School's Industry Advisory Board, a member of the Leadership Council for Share our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign and the national spokesperson for Share Our Strength's Dine Out For No Kid Hungry. In 2012 Marc joined the U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Culinary Partnership, where he takes part in public diplomacy programs that engage foreign audiences abroad as well as those visiting the United States. Marc's debut cookbook, Season with Authority: Confident Home Cooking, was released by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in April 2015.
Maneet Chauhan grew up cooking in India and, after studying hotel administration, she now appears as a frequent judge on Chopped. Find out more on Food Network.
You may have seen every episode of Chopped, but can you beat the chopping block if presented with the opportunity? Test your factual knowledge to see how well you'd do under pressure.
Test your knowledge of barbecue styles and grilling technique to find out whether you'd be a champion or get chopped.
Amanda Freitag is the chef and owner of Empire Diner in New York and appears regularly as a judge on Chopped. Find out more about her on Food Network.
Dean McDermott, actor, television personality and Gourmet Dad, opened his home to America during the six seasons of the hit show Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood, along with wife Tori Spelling. Born and raised in Toronto, Dean is the winner of Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off, Season 2 and recently returned to his hometown to host the highly anticipated Food Network Canada series Chopped Canada. A self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie, the father of five is an avid adventurer and a mixed martial arts enthusiast. He also races motorcycles and is a phenomenal cook and a master DIYer. He appears regularly on a variety of daytime talk and entertainment shows, is a regular contributor to Parenting.com and is concentrating on growing his Gourmet Dad brand as he continues his culinary arts studies at the Art Institute of California's Culinary School. Dean shares his experiences and knowledge on his website, DeanMcDermott.com. From family and relationships to projects and hobbies, the site serves as a pit stop for dudes and dads of any age who want to talk shop about man-of-the-house stuff. Dean recently finished production on Tori & Dean: Cabin Fever, a series that follows Tori and Dean and their kids while they renovate an Ontario lakeside cottage into their dream vacation home. As a modern-day renaissance father, Dean keeps family, food and fun his primary focus. Dean is currently working on his first cookbook, which will be released in 2014. Find Dean on Twitter, @Deanracer, and Facebook, DeanMcDermott007.
Chris Santos got his first job at age 13, washing dishes at a small restaurant in his hometown and is now a judge on Chopped. Find out more on Food Network.