A Nori Story
Season 3, Episode 4
ANS Chefs
Air date November 3, 2009
Winner PJ Calapa
Episode Guide
Judge Knows Best
Sticking To It
Out of the gate one chef decides to take a familiar route with beef but is challenged by an unfamiliar mystery ingredient. Will it work? Then in the Entrée Round the chefs must break a fundamental rule by combining fish and cheese. And following the first elimination, the chopped chef has angry words for the judges. Then when the two finalists go with a similar approach to dessert, the judges ponder which pumpernickel and curry creation will prevail.


  • Adele DiBiasi, Chef and Restaurateur, Bona Vita Osteria, Summit, NJ
  • PJ Calapa, Sous chef, Nobu Fifty Seven, New York, NY
  • Michael Bicocchi, Executive Chef, Flex Mussels, New York, NY
  • Malik Fall, Chef and Restaurateur, Boucarou Lounge, New York, NY




Ingredients: Beef Tenderloin, Nori, Maple Syrup

Adele's appetizer is Nori Wrapped Espresso Filet with Ricotta Maple Syrup. Her addition of espresso gives the beef a nice smokiness. The nori is barely even on the filet, and the sauce has a gluey consistency.

PJ's appetizer is Beef Tartare with Nori Aioli. PJ's aioli is the most successful and creative use of the nori, although Geoffrey finds it overwhelming. The beef was diced after being pounded, which doesn't work.

Michael did Carpaccio Style Beef with Maple Glaze. The flavor profile set forth is great. The meat is poorly sliced, Alex receiving two pieces of carpaccio that weren't completely detached.

Malik made Scallion Skewered Tenderloin w/ Sauce Verte and Maple Soy Glaze. The judges love his skewering of the beef with scallions, which connects it to the scallion in the sauce verte. The sauce verte is delicious. The judges find his pepper and onion sauté doesn't really belong on the plate. Malik insists they are needed.

The judges decide that Chef Adele is the first chef who must go, the reasons being the beef was too heavy, the ricotta wasn't the right place to hide the maple syrup, and the nori escaped her altogether.


Ingredients: Broccoli Rabe, Crystallized Ginger, Five Year Aged Gouda, Mahi-Mahi

PJ did Pan-Seared Mahi-Mahi w/ Gouda White Bean Purée & Ginger Vinaigrette. PJ's dish has a delicate balance of flavors and perfectly cooked fish. The portion is appetizer sized, and the judges don't taste the gouda in the purée. PJ is the least creative.

Michael made Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Gouda Salad. Michael steps it up from the last round, with well-cooked fish, impressive knife skills with the ginger, and great flavors with the gouda. However, his fish is very flat in flavor, and like PJ his portion is too small.

Malik's entrée is Gouda & Potato Crusted Mahi-Mahi w/ Pepper Vinaigrette. Malik is the most creative and ambitious of the round, and is the only chef to serve a proper sized portion of fish. This time, his usage of red pepper works. The ginger is far too spicy and inedible, Josh feels that the dish could been served better in a bowl, and the fish is under-seasoned. Once again, Malik is unreceptive to feedback.

The judges chop Chef Malik for his inedible ginger and lack of sophistication in his flavors. They advise him to be humble to help improve himself as a chef. Malik rages out of offense, and leaves the studio soon after.


Ingredients: Cherries, Pumpernickel Bread, Curry Powder, Yuzu Juice

Michael came up with Curried French Toast w/ Cherry & Yuzu Compote. The presentation is delightful, and the flavor combinations are interesting. The dish is not sweet enough, Josh comparing it to a brunch item, although he does enjoy it.

PJ made Curry Pain Perdu with a Cherry Yuzu Soup. The crust on the toast is great, and the soup is very refreshing. The soup doesn't look very appealing, and Geoffrey doesn't find the dish very creative, nor does he like the yogurt in the soup.

The competition comes down to be close. In the end, the verdict is that Chef Michael is chopped for his mistake with his carpaccio in the first round. PJ is made Chopped Champion and the $10,000 to help propose to his girlfriend.


  • The chefs for the episode. From left to right: Malik, Michael, PJ, and Adele
  • Adele's Appetizer
  • PJ's Appetizer
  • Michael's Appetizer
  • Malik's Appetizer
  • PJ's Entrée
  • Michael's Entrée
  • Malik's Entrée
  • Michael's Dessert
  • PJ's Dessert


Chopped Season 3
<< Season 2Season 4 >>
#01 When Chefs Collide#08 Sweet Redemption
#02 Oh My Goshy, Umeboshi#09 Winging It
#03 Judge Knows Best#10 In A Pinch
#04 A Nori Story#11 Raw Enthusiasm
#05 Sticking To It#12 Against the Tide
#06 Season's Choppings#13 Chopped Liver
#07 Flower Power