On Tuesday's episode of "Chopped," Adam Greenberg admitted he'd stopped watching the show out of jealousy. After seeing chef friends Jamie Bissonnette and Christian Petroni each take home the crown, he vowed to join their "fraternity of champions."
After surviving three rounds of competition on the Food Network show, creating three courses of wacky deconstructed late-night food, Greenberg officially joined that fraternity, taking home a $10,000 prize and bragging rights.
In this popular competition concept, the chefs are given no hints or suggestions before they receive a basket of secret ingredients; they're trusted to come up with required dishes based on their creativity and skill level. "I would say you get a minute and a half to stare at your [basket] of food and think, OK, this is what you're going to do," Greenberg told The Courant earlier this month.
Greenberg, who began his career as a cook at 18 for Billy Grant at Bricco, holds a culinary degree from Johnson & Wales University and until recently served as Barcelona Wine Bar's executive chef, overseeing the expanding restaurant group's kitchens and assisting in training. He now works with the owners of the Fortina restaurants in Westchester County, N.Y. (where executive chef Petroni is also a Barcelona alum) as they prepare to open a Stamford location in June.
In the first basket, Greenberg and his three competitors received Italian sausages in buns, tomatillos, morel mushrooms and poutine (a Canadian dish of French fries topped with gravy and cheese.) Inspired by his expertise with Spanish cuisine at Barcelona, he designed a sausage and pepper bocadillo with morel and pickled cornichon relish and tomatillo salsa verde. He topped the sandwiches with the fries from the poutine, referencing a Pittsburgh tradition.
As he presented his first dish, judges Scott Conant, Amanda Freitag and Aaron Sanchez asked Greenberg what he would do with his $10,000 prize. "If I win, it's going to my wedding. We overbudgeted. It'd be a great thing to surprise Anna [his fiancee] with," he said. (The two married in July 2014.)
In round 2, with the competition down to three chefs, the basket of ingredients for the entree course featured fast-food sliders, Belgian-style stout beer, Japanese eggplant and Mexican corn. Greenberg pulled from his Spanish experience again, turning the components into fideos, a toasted noodle dish.
The dessert round brought a basket containing chocolate milk, canned whipped cream, apple pie - and a rice and cheese burrito. "The idea of a burrito in a dessert course floored me," Greenberg said. But he pulled out a chocolate milk and rice ice cream with caramelized apple pie, beating his final rival Anastacia Song.
"I can't wait to be able to tell Anna and my buddies that won the show that I can finally call myself the 'Chopped' champion," he said as he celebrated his win.