New Canaan chef wins on ‘Chopped’

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It was an April Fool’s edition of “Chopped” and little was as it seemed. Basket ingredients in this episode of the popular Food Network cooking competition included an onion that looked like a caramel apple, mashed potatoes that looked like ice cream, and meatloaf that you would swear was a birthday cake.

Ha ha. Pretty funny.

But the joke was on the competition and New Canaan chef Silvia Baldini had the last laugh winning the coveted title of “Chopped” champion and taking home the $10,000 dollar top prize.

Baldini made it through the appetizer round with her creation, “Sweet and Sour Noodles w/Caramel Sausage.”
Judge Marc Murphy said, “You somehow came up with something that is pretty good here.”

In the entree round, things looked bleak for Baldini. Judges comments on her “British Meat Pie with Boiled Spaghetti Squash” included “It needed so much more seasoning,” and “It needs salt.” And when judges start talking salt, well . . .
But one of her competitors used what one judge called “a crazy amount of fondant,” a supersweet combination of sugar and water that is used as a base for icings and candies. So Baldini was spared the chopping block.

The New Canaan chef sealed her victory in the dessert round with her “Poached Cannoli w/Macerated Strawberry. (One judge called it ” one of the most delicious desserts I’ve ever had in this kitchen.)

When her opponents dessert was revealed as the losing dish, it was official.

“And that means you, chef Silvia Baldini, are the ‘Chopped’ champion,” said host Ted Allen.

“I can not believe,” said Baldini, “that I won ‘Chopped.”

Jim Wolfe