Chopped Ultimate Champions: Celebrities — Part 4 in Review

Browse highlights from the Celebrities round of the Chopped Ultimate Champions tournament.
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Photo By: David Lang ©2014,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2014,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2014,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2014,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2014,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2014,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2014,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2014,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2014,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2014,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2014,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2014,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2014,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2014,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2014,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2014,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2014,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang

Photo By: David Lang ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

The Third Round of Amateurs

Returning celebrity Chopped champions comedian Gillian Vigman, singer Carnie Wilson, boxer Laila Ali and soccer player Brandi Chastain are battling for a spot in the Ultimate Champions finale, where they'll have a chance to win $50,000 for the charity they represent and a brand-new car.

Appetizer Basket

The dishes must include salmon fillets, avocados, sweet tea and cricket flour. No one's excited to be using cricket flour, but Aarón points out, "In Mexico there's a huge tradition of eating insects." Ted adds, "In a lot of the world's countries, they're a super-important source of protein."

Two Times the Opportunity

"I want to show the judges that I'm competing outside of the box," says Brandi, so she decides to make salmon tacos two ways: one grilled with a sweet tea salsa, and the other fried in cricket flour. "Winning is a part of my nature," she says. "I'll do anything possible to make it happen."

Plan of Attack

"Cricket flour, it tastes a little bit like dirt," says Gillian, doctoring it with panko and brown sugar to use as a crust on her baked fish. She plans on serving it atop an Asian-inspired salad with sweet tea vinaigrette. "I'm against three very strong, very talented women," she says of her competitors, whom she's vying to beat.

Composed and Ready

"One of my strong points in the boxing ring was my composure," Laila says, and she's bringing that to the competition. She uses the cricket flour and sweet tea in her salmon cakes, serving them with avocado mayonnaise. "I'm taking a little bit of a risk," she says of using three basket ingredients in her patties.

Frenzied Focus

"If I combine this with a little brown sugar and cayenne pepper, it might be good," says Carnie about utilizing the cricket flour for crusting the salmon. She makes an avocado salsa and a tomato sauce, plating the two components at the last minute. "This is just beyond scary," she says, rushing to finish.

Early Goodbye

The judges agree with Maneet: Laila “completely transformed” the salmon. They find Carnie's salmon had the best flavor, and Brandi's tacos were "ambitious," says Marc. But Gillian's salmon was undercooked, and her salad was "inundated with sesame oil," says Aarón, so she is chopped.

Entree Basket

The dishes must include pork loin, chocolate body paint, cucumber and black bean soup.

Inspiration from Childhood

"My dad loved to make pork chops with applesauce, so that's what I'm gonna do," Brandi says. She combines red wine and the chocolate body paint for a reduction sauce and turns the black bean soup into a puree. In a rush to finish, she burns her hand and forgets to plate the reduction sauce.

A Carnie-vorous Concept

"To even go against these two athletes, I mean that's just intense," says Carnie, but she's determined to try her best to beat them. Upon seeing the black bean soup, she decides to make a pork-and-bean soup. "Carnie might be making chili con Carnie," jokes Aarón. "It's a Carnie Asada," Carnie retorts in an accent.

Mexican Focus

"If there's a title to be had out there, I want it," says Laila, visualizing the finish line. Although she's never cooked pork, she decides to make enchiladas. On the side she's serving black beans along with a cucumber crema "to keep with this Mexican theme," she says.

All About the Pork

"Laila and Carnie, they're both doing diced pork," points out Aarón. "Pork does overcook quickly," says Marc. "I don't want it to be dried out." Luckily Laila's and Carnie's dishes don't turn out that way, but Marc does call out Laila for her "haphazard" presentation and Carnie for her soup lacking enough beans.

Picking Apart the Plate

"As far as transforming a can of bean soup, you really did an amazing job," says Marc to Brandi. But Maneet points out that her sauce "would have been the one thing to pull all of this together." Despite Ted saying that a missing ingredient is "not an automatic disqualification," the judges chop Brandi.

Dessert Basket

The dishes must include Key lime juice, cream cheese, banana paste and ladyfingers.

Down-to-the-Wire Decision

Hoping to impress the judges with her dessert, Laila makes a batter out of the ladyfingers and banana paste, but the mini cakes are not baking in time. "I do not like using the microwave," she says of her decision to transfer them, "but I also don't like losing competitions, so I had to make a choice," she says.

Whirlwind in the Kitchen

"I really want to get to the finale with that professional chef," says Carnie, "and if there's any round where I can do this, it's the dessert round." She pulverizes the ladyfingers and turns them into a batter for fritters with the banana paste, but throughout the round she's chaotic and disorganized.

Differing Opinions

Maneet finds Carnie's fritter "perfect," but Marc thinks the components don't tie well together. "A dessert is like a good kiss goodnight," says Aarón. "It shouldn't be too complicated." Carnie interjects, "Well, this is a kiss with a little tongue." In the end the judges decide to chop Carnie.

Back in the Ring

Laila earns the third amateur spot in the grand finale, where she'll compete against the pro chef winner and the winners of the two other amateur rounds for a chance to win $50,000 and a brand-new car. "You have no idea how proud of myself I am," says Laila. "I am in it to win it."

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