All About Chef Nate Appleman
In the Chairman's test of simplicity, the chefs were challenged to represent a fellow rival on a plate using a photo of them in their culinary elements. Chefs Greenspan and Appleman were partnered together, and for his representation of Chef Greenspan, Chef Appleman cooked up an extravagant bite of both lobster and beef with shaved black truffles.
Chef Appleman explained that he wanted this dish to speak to Chef Greenspan's "brazen, bold and shameless" personality, and the judges were wowed by his shamelessly decadent offering. "It was indulgent and just right," Donatella said. In the end, this extravagant plate allowed him to cook another day, while it sent Chef Greenspan to what would be his final Showdown.
After opening his mystery can to find tuna inside, Chef Appleman featured the fish in an Italian-focused offering complete with both puttanesca and pesto sauces. The high point of his dish, however, proved to be the frozen tuna he grated atop his finished dish. Alton called the addition an example of "brilliance," and it saved him from elimination.
Before working on his mortadella, Chef Appleman jotted down ingredients he would need to pull off such ambitious dishes in only 20 minutes. Although Iron Chef Zakarian called his offering "a very well-constructed, odd dish," the panel wasn't pleased with his pink mousse. Chef Falkner thought that his dish was the weakest of the day, and exercised her advantage by sending him to the Showdown.
In Battle Anchovy against Chef Falkner, Chef Appleman infused the flavors of Spain in his offering of a potato-anchovy tortilla and tomato-rubbed bread with anchovy aioli. The judges were so impressed with his anchovy aioli that Simon told him that it was "arguably the best thing you've cooked for us in the whole competition," and he survived to cook another day.
For their first challenge in Las Vegas, the rivals were to create a blissful culinary marriage out of two disparate products, and Chef Appleman's ingredients were among the most difficult: clams and strawberries. Although the judges appreciated his acqua pazza with strawberry broth, they felt that his homemade pasta was too dense, and he faced another Showdown.
Not an ordinary Showdown, this battle forced Chef Appleman and his opponent, Chef Jehangir Mehta, to cook their Secret Ingredient, shrimp, on Japanese teppanyaki grills alone. He set off to create a composed plate of okonomiyaki — a Japanese pancake — stuffed with shrimp and peas.
The judges weren't impressed with Chef Appleman's pancake, the okonomiyaki, but they were in awe of his ginger-laced shrimp head, which Alton called "a sauce packet." This last-minute ingredient proved to be Chef Appleman's saving grace, and he ultimately was pardoned from elimination.
In the final Chairman's Challenge before Kitchen Stadium, Chef Appleman and his fellow remaining rivals, Chefs Freitag and Guarnaschelli, were tasked to cook with the judges' must-have ingredients at what would be their last supper. Chef Appleman cooked haddock for Simon Majumdar and featured it three ways in chowder: smoked, poached and crispy.
Although Simon noted that Chef Appleman's clam chowder broth was "terrific," it was the rivals' use of clams that proved to be his undoing in this final challenge before Kitchen Stadium. Chef Appleman exited the road to redemption but looked back on it proudly. "I'm extremely happy with everything that I did," he said.