In A Pinch
Season 3, Episode 10
IaP Chefs
Air date January 26, 2010
Winner Pnina Peled
Episode Guide
Winging It
Raw Enthusiasm
When the chefs make some unusual choices in composing soft-shell crab appetizers, the judges give them a chance to defend their dishes or graciously accept criticism. And, digging into the entree plates, the judges are perplexed that two chefs had completely opposite problems with a challenging piece of meat. Then peppermint stick in the dessert basket has the chefs stuck.


  • Pnina Peled, Chef de cuisine, The New York Helmsley Hotel, New York, NY
  • Lonnie Dyner, Executive Chef, Le Petit Marché, New York, NY
  • Susan Crocker, Catering Chef, Holberts Catering and Backyard Bistro, Montgomery, NY
  • Damien Brassel, Executive Chef, Knife + Fork, New York, NY




Ingredients: Red Cherry Peppers, Mortadella, Soft-Shell Crabs

Pnina made Cornmeal Crusted Crab with Stuffed Peppers. The crab is cooked perfectly, and the judges like the homey quality of the stuffed peppers. The cornmeal is gritty, and Scott especially is annoyed with the Parmesan cheese in the peppers.

Lonnie made Soft-Shell Crab "B.L.P." with Apple Slaw. The flavors go well together, and the herb mayo makes his dish work. The sandwich is a little hard to eat, and there are too many raw red onions in the slaw.

Susan prepared Soft-Shell Crab with Arugula Mortadella Salad.  The judges love her crispy mortadella and its combination with the cherry peppers, which goes well with the arugula. The crab doesn't come together with the salad, and the bread with the cheese on top looks like plastic.

Damien did Pan-Fried Crab with Vinaigrette. Damien's vinaigrette is quite nice, and the judges are eager to try something else from him because the dish displays he is a talented chef even though he had never worked with any of the basket items before. Unfortunately, his crab is completely raw.

The judges come to the decision to chop Chef Damien for the lack of heat he applied to his crab.


Ingredients: Baby Bananas, Black-Eyed Peas, Poblano Peppers, Ostrich Steak

Lonnie made Bacon-Wrapped Ostrich w/ Poblanos and Fried Pea Salsa. The judges love his fried peas, and Lonnie got away with using raw red onions in his salsa. They aren't crazy about his banana red wine sauce. The bacon and the ostrich are both undercooked, although Lonnie was happy with the temperature of the ostrich.

Susan did Spiced Ostrich with Black Eyed Peas Salad and Onion Banana Compote. The judges love her bananas with the onions, and the salad is quite nice. The ostrich is dry, although it is the best cooked ostrich out of the three.

Pnina prepared Pan-Seared Ostrich with Braised Peas and Fried Bananas. The judges love her peas and the fried bananas, which are reminisient of Pnina's style. Her ostrich is very overcooked.

There were egregious errors in all three dishes, but the judges decide that Chef Lonnie undercooking the ostrich to the extent that he did and serving essentially raw bacon with it was too much to look past.


Ingredients: Lychees, Phyllo Dough, Canadian Bacon, Candy Canes

Susan made Phyllo Pastry with Orange Liqueur Cream. The cream is absolutely delicious, even though none of the basket ingredients are in it. Her candied bacon is difficult to eat, and the candy cane isn't integrated very well.

Pnina made Bourekas with Mint Cream & Apple Bacon Compote. The dish has a very homey feel, and the compote is creative and works very well. The dessert is a little dry, and the mint cream doesn't look appealing.

After deliberation, the judges chop Chef Susan for lack of integration in her creative ideas. Pnina is made Chopped Champion.


  • The chefs for the episode. From left to right: Damien, Susan, Lonnie, and Pnina
  • Pnina's Appetizer
  • Lonnie's Appetizer
  • Susan's Appetizer
  • Damien's Appetizer
  • Lonnie's Entrée
  • Susan's Entrée
  • Pnina's Entrée
  • Susan's Dessert
  • Pnina's Dessert


  • This is the first episode where two female competitors faced off against each other in the dessert round.
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