Barcelona Wine Bar's Adam Greenberg Is 'Chopped' Grand Champion

CT native @tapaschef of @barcelonawineba wins @FoodNetwork "Chopped Champions"

Tardivo, cardoons and a dessert requiring caramelized onions were no match  for longtime Barcelona Wine Bar chef Adam Greenberg. The 36-year-old West Hartford native won the finale of Food Network's "Chopped Champions" Tuesday, which came with a big prize: $50,000.

Greenberg, presently the executive chef at Barcelona's Washington, D.C., restaurant on 14th Street, won his first "Chopped" battle in February 2015. He returned for this year's five-week "Chopped Champions" series, a pre-taped tournament which brought back 16 winners from previous seasons, with four chefs competing on each episode. Four winners from those matchups made it to the finale.

Greenberg advanced through the first round with a blood clam ceviche, using required tardivo (a type of radicchio) and a sauce made from Mangalitsa pork burgers. In round two, he thought quickly when given leg of lamb and immediately grabbed the meat grinder, turning the lamb into a ragu with blue cheese sauce, cardoons and cognac. 

In the final round, Greenberg faced chef Andre Fowles for the dessert competition, using chocoflan, satsuma oranges, smoked almonds and the mandatory caramelized onions. Dessert had been a stumbling block during his previous appearance. "I need to redeem myself from the last competition," he said.

He was pleased with his finale creation, a white chocolate, raspberry and mandarin ice cream sundae with smoked almond onion bourbon caramel. 

The chef choked up as the judges asked about his inspiration. "I play for my wife [Anna,] I play for every chef I ever worked for," he said. "This is emotional because this is 18 years of hard work. And, she's been there for me. She drives me to be better." 

When the judges announced him as the grand finale winner, they had another surprise - Anna, waiting backstage to congratulate him in person. The two embraced and cried, and judges Amanda Freitag and Angie Mar dabbed at their eyes as well. 

"Being a "Chopped" grand champion right now is a very humbling experience," he said. "I get to walk away into the sunset undefeated."

Greenberg and his supporters celebrated the win Tuesday night at his restaurant in Washington. "Wow, truly surreal, I can't believe the emotions that ran through me as I watched," he said in a text message early Wednesday. "I thought about every chef, every holiday I missed with family, the sacrifices, the dedication. It's amazing to be in this position right now...I really am humbled and can't believe this just happened."

This post has been updated with recent quotes from Greenberg.

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