Winging It
Season 3, Episode 9
WI Chefs
Air date January 19, 2010
Winner Justin Gaines
Episode Guide
Sweet Redemption
In A Pinch
The 20-minute clock is the chefs' worst enemy in the Appetizer Round, as they race to get chicken wings cooked in time. Then in the Entrée Round it looks like the chefs have caught a break with catfish in the basket, until hard-to-find pantry items and inadvisable spice combinations make things interesting. Then for the Dessert Round, cherries would be no problem. But try cherry tomatoes! The finalists laugh it off and courageously take on the toughest challenge of the competition.


  • Linda Laestadius, Pastry Chef, The Bear Cafe, Woodstock, NY
  • John Sierp, Firefighter and Executive Chef, White Cloud Catering, New York, NY
  • Lizzie Singh-Brar, Executive Chef, Fanny, Brooklyn, NY
  • Justin Gaines, Executive Sous chef, Zanaro's Italian Restaurant, White Plains, NY




Ingredients: Sake, Green Seedless Grapes, Chicken Wings

Linda did Swedish Chicken Wing with Sake Grape Salad. The judges like her salad and the yogurt sauce. Chris's wing is just barely cooked through, and the skin is rubbery. Sue's wing is raw.

John did Buffalo Wings with Grape Sake Sauce. John's attempt to deep-fry the wings led him to severely undercook them. The skin is fatty and chewy. However, the flavors in his spice mixture and sauce are great.

Lizzy did Caramelized Chicken Wing with Sake Marinade. Lizzy has the most color out of her wings, although they are undercooked at the bone. The presentation is beautiful, and the judges like her utilization of the pantry. Geoffrey complains that the wings are bland and lack salt.

Justin prepared Citrus & Thyme Chicken Wings with Arugula Salad. Justin is the one chef who cooked the chicken wing all the way through, although he left the wing tip on. The sake vinaigrette for the salad is nice.

Chris summarizes the appetizer round as a rough start. The judges decide that Justin gets a pass to the next round for cooking his wings correctly. Examining the other three, they decide that it would be a disservice to the competitors if they let Chef Linda move on because of the extent that she undercooked her chicken.


Ingredients: Horseradish, Catfish, Treviso, Japanese Eggplant

John made Cornmeal Crusted Catfish with Horseradish Gratin & Eggplant. The eggplant and treviso are nice, and the catfish is cooked well with a great flavorful crust. John's presentation is lacking.

Lizzy did Pan Seared Catfish with Treviso Salad & Horseradish Sauce. The presentation is colorful and creative, and the catfish is cooked impeccably. The addition of arugula to the salad is redundant. Lizzy left the core in the treviso and the stem on Sue's eggplant. Lizzy attempted to marry too many flavors together.

Justin prepared Tempura-Fried Catfish with Horseradish Mayo & Treviso. The eggplant and treviso are nice together. The tempura crust on the fish is thick, mushy, and eggy. Geoffrey didn't get the citrus on his plate.

Looking at the three entrées, the judges chop Chef Lizzy because of the inedible stems she left on the eggplant and treviso, as well as the busyness of her dish.


Ingredients: Cherry Tomatoes, Silken Tofu, Gingersnaps, Cocoa Nibs

Justin prepared Tofu Gingersnap Génoise with Candied Tomatoes. The génoise is a great foil for the gingersnap and cocoa nibs, giving it a coffee cake taste. The maple syrup with the tomatoes is too sweet.

John made Tofu Ricotta Parfait Soup with Caramelized Tomatoes. The presentation is John's best of the day. The use of the cocoa nibs for texture is great. Geoffrey likes how well balanced and creative the dessert is. Chris does find the dessert a bit too savory.

Looking at the whole meal, the judges are forced to chop Chef John for failing to cook his chicken in the appetizer. Chef Justin is made the Chopped Champion.


  • The chefs for the episode. From left to right: Justin, Lizzy, John, and Linda
  • Linda's Appetizer
  • John's Appetizer
  • Lizzy's Appetizer
  • Justin's Appetizer
  • John's Entrée
  • Lizzy's Entrée
  • Justin's Entrée
  • Justin's Dessert
  • John's Dessert


  • John later returned in the episode Make No Mistake in an effort to redeem himself.
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