Chopped Tournament of Stars: Round 4 Highlights

Browse behind-the-scenes moments from the Actors episode of the 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.

Actors

In the fourth round of the Chopped Tournament of Stars, four actors from stage and screen enter the Chopped kitchen to prove they can really cook. Michael Imperioli, Lucas Grabeel, Tasha Smith and Peter Scolari are competing for a spot in the finale for a chance to earn the title of champion and leave with $50,000 for charity.

Appetizer Round

The ingredients consist of squid, dinosaur kale, popcorn on the cob and candy blood.

Italian Inspiration

Peter decides to use his heritage and cook an Italian-style dish of garlic and onion squid with candy blood reduction and braised kale. "I always felt it was my birthright to be able to cook some Italian food," he says. The judges ultimately like his presentation, including the "alarmingly pink" squid, as Amanda calls it. But Maneet finds the corn underseasoned.

No Second Takes

"I cook because cooking is immensely creative," says Lucas. He wants to make grilled kale and use the popcorn as the breading for the squid. What makes Lucas most nervous is that there are no second takes in this competition. "I don't know when I have ever cooked something in 20 minutes," he says. "It's maddening." Alex calls his presentation stunning, but Maneet and Amanda find the flavors flat.

Digging Into His Craft

"Cooking is like meditation for me," says Michael, who, before acting, started out cooking in restaurants, where he gained an admiration for chefs. He decided to make cornmeal-crusted squid with a raw kale salad and blood-candied popcorn. "On the set of The Sopranos I've worked with tons of fake blood but never as part of a meal," he says. The judges love his use of the candy blood, but ding him for his imprecise cuts.

Cooking for the Cause

Tasha made "blood orange" squid with a warm kale salad. "This is the most-stressful experience I've ever had," she says, because it's for charity. "As actors we've learned to master pressure, but Chopped throws all that out the window." Her biggest misstep is burning the popcorn, which the judges can't get over. Her dish ends up on the Chopping Block. "Dang, I was hoping the kid got chopped," she says.

Entree Round

The ingredients consist of steamed spiny lobster, pink variegated lemons, amaro and French breakfast radishes.

Sunday Pasta and a Salad

Growing up in an Italian-American family, says Michael, "on Sundays we'd always have pasta." So his immediate reaction is to make a pasta dish, deciding to cut up the lobster meat and simmer it in a sauce with the amaro. But he feels the radishes don't belong, so he makes a separate side salad. The judges have mixed feelings about that decision: "I want the salad more than the pasta," says Alex.

Acting It Off

Peter mistakenly decided the lobster needed more cooking and also ended up burning his radishes. When it comes time to plate, he says, "In typical actor fashion all that is left ... is to make it look like something better than it is," referring to the meager presentation. The judges love his flavors but find his dish lacking substance: "I want more fat, more butter, more sauce," says Amanda.

From Melody to Disharmony

Lucas sees the ingredients and decides "it's going to be good on a pizza." He knows it's a risk, but it's one he's willing to take and he's dipping into his musical background: "I have to take these ingredients and play them in such a way that they marry together in a melody." Unfortunately his pizza doesn't cook in time. The judges commend him for his boldness, but the undercooked dough sends his dish to the Chopping Block.

Dessert Round

The ingredients consist of star cookies, strawberries, mascarpone and Buddha's Hand.

Buddha's Helping Hand

"As a practicing Buddhist, I kind of took it as a good sign," says Michael about the Buddha's Hand. He turns the citrus fruit into a slaw to pair with strawberry-mascarpone ice cream. He ends up using his hands to prepare most of the dish, even shoving the ice cream mixture into the machine with his hands. Still, he's able to compose clean plates despite the mess. Unfortunately the judges find the ice cream overchurned.

When Life Hands You Lemons

"If your Buddha had a hand like this, you'd seek some other form of enlightenment," jokes Peter. He wanted to turn it into ice cream, but Michael got to the machine first. So instead, he made a creamy broth with sauteed strawberries, which he spoons into bowls. As he finishes plating with a garnish of the citrus fruit, he says, "The Buddha's giving me the finger." The judges really like his dish, but find it to be disproportionate.

Round 4 Champion

In the end, the judges decide that Peter's overcooked lobster just wasn't up to par, which means Michael is the winner. "It was really a lot of fun and exciting," Michael tells the judges. He's glad for the experience and can't wait to come back for the last round: "I'm happy to be one step closer" to potentially winning $50,000 for The Pureland Project.

Go Inside the Chopped Tournament of Stars

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

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