Against the Tide
Season 3, Episode 12
ATT Chefs
Air date March 2, 2010
Winner Erik Weatherspool
Episode Guide
Raw Enthusiasm
Chopped Liver
The chefs find themselves swimming against the tide when they have to combine fish with chocolate in the Appetizer Round. Then for the entrée course, the remaining contestants pull from their cultural backgrounds to work with a trendy root vegetable and an old favorite fruit. And in the Dessert Round, the judges ponder two big questions: What does violet mustard taste like? And which of these two passionate finalists deserves the win?


  • Andres Barrera, Executive Chef, City Winery, New York, NY
  • Laurielle Clark, Private Chef, New York, NY
  • Michael Madigan, Chef and Restaurateur, Snails and Quails/ Farm 2 Bistro, New York, NY/ Nutley, NJ
  • Erik Weatherspool, Chef and Restaurateur, Bistro 44, Toms River, NJ




Ingredients: Habanero Chiles, Bittersweet Chocolate, Fresh Sardines

Andres went for Grilled Sardine w/ Pico de Gallo & Peruvian Potatoes. Andres's whole grilled sardine is a good direction, and it is meticulously cooked. All of the flavors are balanced just right, although the judges would like more of the chocolate.

Laurielle's dish is Pan-Fried Sardine with Chickpea Salad. The sardine and salad are nice, and the judges appreciate the combination of chickpeas and fish. The simply swiping of the chocolate on the plate is a cop-out.

Michael's dish is Sardine Provençal w/ Salad & Chocolate Vinaigrette. The judges love the chocolate vinaigrette, which is the best part of his dish. The rest of it falls down: the usage of tomatoes is desribed as insipid by Mark, and the provençal mixture lacks olives and capers.

Erik's dish is Pan-Seared Sardine w/ Arugula Salad & Chocolate Orange Habanero Vinaigrette. Erik's sardines have great flavor and are cooked perfectly, marrying well with the arugula. The vinaigrette is delicious and silky. The one complaint is that the peppers should have treated more.

The judges consider the dishes made by Andres and Erik as their two favorites. Chef Michael is the chef that they choose to say good-bye to first because of his uncompelling provençal mixture.


Ingredients: Strawberries, Celery Root, Lamb Loin Chops, Swiss Cheese

Laurielle's dish is Grilled Lamb Chop w/ Cheesy Celery Root Purée & Strawberry Gastrique. Laurielle's lamb is the best cooked of the round and has the best crust. The strawberry balsamic gastrique is lovely. The purée is just a puddle of stuff, and it doesn't have much flavor.

Erik made Cocoa-Dusted Lamb Chops w/ Apple Celeriac Purée & Strawberry Reduction. Erik's purée is velvety, feathery, and delicious, and the chops have a great sear on them. The strawberry reduction feels a bit off to the side. Erik did not trim off the tail pieces of his lamb chops.

Andres's dish is Pan-Seared Lamb Chops with Celery Root 3 Ways. The judges are impressed with the ambition and creativity of making celery root in three preparations (crispy chips, raw salad with strawberries, and sauce with the Swiss chees), which are for the most part well-executed. Andres failed to get a good sear on the lamb, which prevents him from opening up the flavors in his marinade.

Mark notes that in this round, the chefs each did something really right, and they each did something really wrong. In the end, they decide to chop Chef Andres for his failure to sear the lamb correctly.


Ingredients: Corn Tortillas, Dried Chipotle Peppers, Blueberries, Violet Mustard

Erik made Chocolate Orange Napoleon w/ Violet Mustard Sauce. The combination of the chipotle with the chocolate is good, as well as the blueberries with the mutard. The dessert could be a bit sweeter, and the tortillas are very chewy.

Laurielle's dish is Open-Face Cannoli with Violet Mustard Crème. The flavor of the dish is fantastic, and the tortillas are crispy. The tortillas are still very difficult to eat, which makes the rest of the dessert difficult to eat as well.

Looking at all three dishes, despite the style that Chef Laurielle brought forward, the judges decide that her competitor edged her out. Erik is made the Chopped Champion, which he takes as a tribute to his late father.


  • The chefs for the episode. From left to right: Erik, Michael, Laurielle, and Andres
  • Andres's Appetizer
  • Laurielle's Appetizer
  • Michael's Appetizer
  • Erik's Appetizer
  • Laurielle's Entrée
  • Erik's Entrée
  • Andres's Entrée
  • Erik's Dessert
  • Laurielle's Dessert


  • This is the first episode where the judges are not familiar with an ingredient (violet mustard).
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