Chopped Teen Tournament, Season 2: Finale Highlights

Browse behind-the-scenes moments from the finale of Chopped Teen Tournament and find out who took home the grand prize.
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Photo By: David Lang ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Finally Making It to the Finale

Veronica, Alexina, Peter and Yazmene have made it through each of their preliminary rounds to earn a place in the Teen Tournament finale. The $25,000 prize is so close — just three courses away. But first they'll have to cook the appetizer basket of tuna in oil, sugar snap peas, fruit candy squares and gnocchi.

If It Works, Don't Fix It

"I'm going to stick to the same thing this time," Alexina says, deciding to follow her Greek heritage again, like last time. She grabs spices to flavor her take on taramosalata, made by pureeing the tuna with the gnocchi. "Alexina is just a human mission statement for wonderful diner cooking," says judge Alex Guarnaschelli.

Seeing Hidden Potential

"That could be the binder in the meatball," says Veronica, looking at the gnocchi as something other than what it is. She creates a pesto out of the sugar snap peas, adding just the lemon fruit candies. But as she tends to the pesto, her meatballs burn. "They're burnt, but I'll cut off the bottoms at the end," she says.

A Clever Disguise

"This is one of the coolest things I've done in my 16 years of life," says Yazmene, who's making a pasta sauce out of the tuna to top the gnocchi. "What does that have to do with tuna and snap peas?" Yazmene asks, doubting the fruit candy squares will work in her dish, but she adds them to her saute to melt down.

Looking for Balanced Flavors

After tasting the tuna, which he finds "dubious," Peter decides on an Asian direction. But he realizes his sauce is too sweet from the candies, so he adds lemon juice and soy sauce. "I hear a voice in my head saying, 'Add another element,'" Peter explains of his decision to add zucchini ribbons at the last minute.

The Best and the Worst on One Plate

Amanda Freitag likens Yazmene's dish to a tuna noodle casserole, but it's that texture that Alex misses. "Where's all the crazy spice we saw from you before?" host Ted Allen asks. "That's the best thing I've eaten," Alex says of Veronica's pesto, but adds that "the meatballs are the worst." Peter is chopped for his sauce being too sweet.

Losing Sight of the Challenge

"It just stares at me," says Veronica as she pulls the tile fish out of the entree basket, which also contains baby planet carrots, chanterelle mushrooms and corned beef hash. She's able to butcher some fillets, but then struggles to find a direction for her dish. "This is the first time we've seen Veronica struggle with concept," judge Chris Santos points out.

Giving In to the Pressure

"I haven't really butchered fish before," says Alexina, who's looking around to see how her competitors are handling it. "There's a lot going on in the Chopped kitchen right now," she says, but she feels she can handle the pressure. As the clock is counting down, however, Alexina realizes there aren't enough carrots for her plates.

Spicing Up the Round

"I learned my flavor still was lacking and that I should stick to my spices," says Yazmene of the judges' comments in the appetizer round. After being the first one to butcher the fish successfully, she seasons her fish, and sears the corned beef in the same skillet as the fish, then serves it with carrot puree.

Down to the Details

Amanda loves the "kitchen sink" aspect of Alexina's entree salad, but Chris didn't get any carrots on his plate. "It's not up to the standards that you've set for yourself," Chris tells Veronica of her dish. He commends Yazmene on her use of the corned beef; Alex liked "the pulsating heat" of the spices on the fish, but she points out that Alexina's pureed carrots weren't successful. Alexina's missing carrots are enough to get her chopped.

Dessert Showdown

Veronica and Yazmene advance to the dessert round, where they face cooking with coconut chips, a Shirley Temple, quail eggs and chocolate wafer cake. "I've been practicing hardcore," says Yazmene, confident she'll do well. "I need to amp up my game to beat Yazmene," says Veronica.

False Alarms

"Cake and ice cream have a special place in my heart," says Veronica, going a similar route as last time. She uses the quail eggs and the Shirley Temple in the batter. But while she goes to retrieve her ice cream, her coconut caramel mixture burns. "It wasn't crucial," she says, knowing her ice cream contains some coconut.

A Plan in Hand

"I immediately know that I'm going to make a bouchee," says Yazmene. Once her puff pastries are baked, she fills them with berries she cooked with some of the Shirley Temple. Realizing she hasn't used the chocolate wafer cookie, Yazmene attempts to melt it down in the last minute, but with no luck.

The Best Use of the Basket

"You did create something that's very festive and very fun, and I think that's how you are," Alex tells Veronica of her dessert, but Amanda points out that the "presentation is a little out of control." While Amanda likes Yazmene's pastry, Chris points out the ingredients weren't highlighted and asks, "Where is the basket?"

Watch the Highlight: Teen Tournament Season 2

A Close Race to the Finish

"This was one of those 51 to 49 kind of scorecards," Alex explains to the two teens after Yazmene is chopped. Ted announces that Veronica is the Teen Grand Champion. "I am thankful for my competitors," Veronica says. "They pushed me. They inspired me." Veronica leaves with the $25,000 prize money.

More Teen Tournament

Visit the Teen Tournament page to find out more on the competition, browse photo galleries and watch video highlights. Plus, hear from the Teen Tournament winners.

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