Top Moments of Chopped After Hours: Ambitious Amateurs

Chopped judges Scott Conant, Amanda Freitag and Geoffrey Zakarian take on the entree basket from the Ambitious Amateurs episode.

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Photo By: David Lang ©2013,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2013,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2013,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2013,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2013,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2013,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2013,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2013,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2013,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Chopped After Hours: Ambitious Amateurs

After a group of home cooks faced an entree round basket of tikka masala sauce, hanger steak, croquettes and Asian long beans, so, too, did judges Scott, Amanda and Geoffrey. These professionals had just 30 minutes to make the ultimate dish with the same ingredients.

Made-Over Classics

Although the Indian flavor of tikka masala is by no means a traditional element of shepherd's pie, Amanda doesn't let that stop her, as she re-creates the dish in only 30 minutes. In place of mashed potatoes, Amanda's "making a little croquette crust," Alex observes.

Grinding to a Halt

Although Scott's plan to grind the hanger steak is strong in that it will make the meat more tender in his Bolognese-inspired sauce, he's faced with a mighty obstacle when a wooden spoon gets caught in the motor. "I totally busted the grinder," Scott admitted to guest host Alex.

Broad Inspiration

Much to Alex's surprise, Geoffrey's making a Philly cheese steak sandwich, although it's only loosely inspired by the Pennsylvania classic. "What Philly cheese steak on what planet has arugula and Muenster?" Alex asks him. His version is Indian inspired, as it's spread with tikka masala sauce.

Elegant and Composed

"Amanda, hands down, looking like she made the dish with the most finesse," Alex declares of Amanda's shepherd's pie. "That steak is so tender," Scott says after tasting the finished product. "You did such a great job with that meat."

Space Constraints

Since Geoffrey was cooking at the farthest workstation and didn't have to share the table, he usurped it all for his preparation, which is against battle rules. "Bring your bread back over here, like the rest of us," Amanda told him, before ultimately complimenting his sandwich after tasting it. "The chile is so nice in there."

Pasta Strategy

"I cooked the pasta about 85 to 90 percent of the way in the water," Scott explained. "And then I strain[ed] it and continue[d] cooking the pasta actually in the sauce, so it absorbs all that beautiful flavor." The other judges compliment him on well-executed taste and texture, given the basket ingredients.

Mutual Respect

"I have to give a nod to the amateurs because this wasn't an easy one," Amanda tells the group after the battle. Before they wrap up the competition, they raise a glass to toast to their finished dishes.

Want More Chopped After Hours?

Catch up on previous After Hours Web-exclusive videos, then visit Food Network's Chopped page for more insider coverage of the show.

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