Newburgh Chef Kicks Pork Butt on Food Network’s ‘Chopped’
Ed Randolph did the Hudson Valley proud during his appearance on the Food Network Tuesday night.
A special episode of Chopped aired at 10pm on Monday night. In the episode, contestants were not allowed to use the oven or deep-fryer. Just a grill and saute burner were available to the chefs to concoct a meal using the show's pre-selected ingredients.
The owner of Handsome Devil Barbecue hosted a viewing party to watch the episode at 125Fifty in Newburgh. Friends, family and fans all gathered to watch Randolph compete in the culinary competition.
During the first challenge, Randolph opened his basket to find yak meat, an apple crisp, oysters and some beets. Without missing a beet (sorry), the pitmaster went right to work grilling the unusual meat to perfection. His appetizer creation was a grilled yak and oyster taco with apple crisp and beet slaw.
After making it to the entree round, the Newburgh chef presented the judges with his barbecue country rib accompanied with grilled and fried okra crusted with frozen pizza. The judges praised Randolph's pork, which was juicy and tender. During a tense cooking session, Randolph decided to make some flames in the grill to cook his okra directly in the fire. The chef told us what we didn't see on TV was that the fire actually started to flame out of control. As they cut to commercial the crew attempted to put it out with salt, which started popping and cracking behind him.
After presenting his dish, the judges said that throwing his okra in the fire was a "curious choice." But despite the blaze, Randolph handily made it to the final two.
During the last round, the two remaining contestants were given a giant 'smore, a cocktail, grapes and bacon to create a dessert. Randolph wowed the judges by creating a makeshift oven with a pan to bake his creation. Unfortunately, the technique didn't fully cook his pastry dough. After trying to save it with a blow torch, the judges agreed that the dough just wasn't cooked through. Luckily, the rest of the ingredients were so delicious that the judges agreed that Randolph deserved to win the entire contest.
After being revealed as the winner, Randolph told the judges that "It feels pretty awesome" to win. With tears in his eyes, the Newburgh chef said that all he wanted to do was celebrate with his daughters. "There may be cartwheels in the house. I might blow out a hip but I'm trying one."
We spoke to Randolph on Wednesday morning and he told us that he still gets emotional thinking about the win. The chef will be donating his $10,000 prize to two charities; Operation BBQ Relief and JDRF. Randolph's daughter has Type 1 Diabetes, and he says that there's no trophy or prize that matches the feeling of being able to help others.
The Hudson Valley can get a taste of Randolph's championship cooking (minus the yak and frozen pizza) at Beer, Bourbon and Bacon on July 20 at Barton Orchards. Randolph will be there serving up his award-winning barbecue for everyone in attendance. The chef says that VIP ticket holders may even be treated to one of his whole-smoked pigs. For more information about the event and to score tickets, you can visit the event's official website.