An all-New Orleans group of chefs takes over "Chopped" tonight on TV. The Food Network hit hosted by Ted Allen, which airs at 9 p.m. New Orleans time, will feature chefs Richard Bond, Justin Kennedy, Cody Monfra and Linda Green. Three more New Orleans chefs are scheduled to appear before the end of August.
Chef Richard Bond runs the Mardi Gras School of Cooking and Catering in Algiers. Justin Kennedy is the manager and chef behind Parkway Bakery and Tavern, and the nephew of owner Jay Nix.
Chef Cody Monfra works at the Palace Cafe, and Linda Green is well known locally as the Ya-Ka-Mein lady, known for popularizing the second-line staple soup, serving it and the pork chop sandwich at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Presented by Shell.
"Chopped" is based on the mystery-basket concept, in which chefs are given a box of surprise ingredients and challenged to make a dish including all of them in very short amounts of time. "Chopped" goes for three rounds, appetizer, entree and dessert, with a competitor eliminated in each round. The three judges are nationally known chefs. The winner gets $10,000. The show has been a big hit for the Food Network.
Another Jazz Fest food vendor, "Fireman Mike" Gowland, who is currently working at Manning's in addition to his firefighter gig, is scheduled to appear on July 3. Chefs Matt Murphy of The Irish House and Byron Peck, the chef/owner of Elizabeth's in the Bywater, are also scheduled to compete.
Here's the network's blurb for tonight: "Pride of New Orleans"
(Premiering Tuesday, June 26) Four chefs from the Big Easy take on the big challenge of excelling in the Chopped Kitchen. In the first basket, half of the ingredients are very familiar, while the other mystery items just might throw the competitors off their game. In the entrée round, the chefs make some very original choices with chai tea powder, and a judge makes a very surprising discovery on one of the plates. When both finalists take similar approaches to the dessert course, whose dish will the judges prefer?
The producers of the show came to New Orleans last fall to cast contestants. In February, chef Diana Chauvin of La Thai Uptown, and David Bridges, chef at the Upperline, were booted out of the competition when they told local media they would be in the show. Participants sign waivers not to share information before the program.