Chopped Tournament of Stars: Round 1 Highlights

Browse behind-the-scenes moments from the Sports Stars episode of Chopped Tournament of Stars.

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.

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.

Sports Stars

In this first round of Chopped Tournament of Stars, basketball player Charles Oakley, soccer player Brandi Chastain, track and field athlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and diver Greg Louganis head into the Chopped kitchen. At stake is a spot in the finale, in which the winner receives a $50,000 donation to the charity of his or her choice.

Appetizer Round

The ingredients consist of organic green juice, alligator, hen-of-the-woods mushrooms and mini rainbow marshmallows.

Fast and Frenzied

"Being on Chopped ... it's like doing a dive blindfolded," says Greg, who can't seem to find a normal pace. He decides to go an Asian route and make an alligator teriyaki. He uses the green juice in the sauce along with soy. Unfortunately Geoffrey finds the salt level high, but otherwise appreciates Greg's approach.

Creative Confidence

"No bad luck against the other athletes, but I think I'm the best cook here," says Charles. He's breaded the alligator and prepared them in a Buffalo wing style. "You looked pretty confident," Ted points out. Charles admits to having cooked for many other players. The judges like everything about the dish except for the presentation.

Cooking Outside Her Comfort Zone

"I love pressure. I wake up and eat it for breakfast," claims Brandi. She finds the Chopped kitchen not at all like the field, but she pushes on and ends up making an alligator salad with green juice and marshmallow dressing. Marc commends her for deep-frying the alligator, saying, "It's almost like croutons for my salad."

Putting Her Best Foot Forward

"In the cooking department," Jackie admits, "I need a lot of work." But she gives it her best shot, plating her dish of sauteed alligator with green bell peppers and mushrooms. But Marc isn't able to find the marshmallows or the green juice in the dish.

Making the Most Out of the Ingredients

The judges deliberate on the dishes. Geoffrey found Brandi's dish "the most complete" but also a "little flat." Alex liked "the rustic quality" of Jackie's dish. Geoffrey thought Greg put too much salt and sesame in his, which "overwhelmed the alligator." Of Charles' dish, Alex thought the "sauce was really unappealing." In the end, Jackie is chopped for not representing all of her four ingredients evenly.

Entree Round

The ingredients consist of turkey tenderloin, double-yolked eggs, finger limes and pattypan squash.

Finding His Voice

Greg asks, "What are finger limes?" Ted replies, "When in doubt, taste!" Thinking he wouldn't make it this far, Greg begins Round 2 with a newly gained confidence. He decides to make turkey Alfredo with roasted squash and potatoes. Once he's done he realizes his plate is a carb overload, which the judges also point out.

Testing the Limits

Brandi makes mashed potatoes to serve with the turkey, which she cooks sous vide. "You're in the Chopped kitchen, when else are you going to get to do this?" she asks. Brandi worries her turkey didn't cook through, but luckily the judges find it perfect. Alex loves the mashed potatoes, but she dings Brandi for it not being a basket ingredient. 

Getting the Job Done

Initially Charles wanted to grill the turkey, but he had to use a skillet because all of the grill pans were taken. "My style on the basketball court is to get it done," he says. "And in the Chopped kitchen it's basically the same thing." At the last minute he steals a hot pan from Brandi's stove to cook his eggs over easy. The judges think it's a smart tactic, but they find his dish lacks salt, which sends him to the Chopping Block.

Dessert Round

The ingredients consist of chocolate liquid breakfast drink, pink wafer cookies, crystallized ginger and red Bosc pears.

A Tribute to Her Son

"When I look at these ingredients," says Brandi, "I know I'm going to make cake." She draws strength for the final round by thinking of her charity for girls and of her son, Jaden, who's a big fan of the show. The one ingredient the judges worry about is the breakfast drink. Brandi uses the siphon to turn it into whipped cream, but Marc wishes she had "added some other flavors" to hide its odd taste.

A Dessert Inspired by Mom

Going into Round 3, Greg feels he's got his mom looking over him. He thinks back to when they used to make homemade ice cream, which inspires his decision to make it in the professional machine. He serves it with caramelized pears and a wafer crust. The judges love Greg's dessert. Marc's only issue is a heavy-handedness with almond extract. "My hand was shaking," admits Greg.

Round 1 Champion

In the end, the judges find Greg's overall course lacked in certain aspects, which means Brandi is the winner. Brandi admits that "the mental agility that is needed" in the Chopped kitchen was much more than she anticipated. "I didn't know I was going to feel like this," she says. "It has been a wave that I did not expect." She wins the round and a chance to compete for $50,000 in the finale for her charity, BAWSI.

Go Inside the Chopped Tournament of Stars

Visit Chopped headquarters for more behind-the-scenes content, including video highlights and exit interviews with the celebrities.

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