A Starshine “Chopped” Experience

MasterCard Chopped Miami

Sean Brasel of Miami’s “Meat Market”

As a self-proclaimed “foodie,” I jumped at the opportunity to attend the Chopped Experience hosted by MasterCard in Miami Beach last week. This exclusive first-ever multi-city experience was inspired by the Food Network series Chopped. It was a live culinary competition with three local chefs who competed to prepare tasting dishes featuring ingredients from a “Chopped Secret Challenge” basket.

Having been a fan of the show, I couldn’t wait to see what wild combinations of ingredients the chefs would be challenged with to create unique dishes that we as the audience would be able to taste. The event took place at the beautiful Loews hotel’s courtyard by the ocean under a brightly lit tent complete with a kitchen on stage for the chefs, the “Chopped” judges table, and high top seating for the audience.

The event was hosted by Jason Zone Fisher, who kept the festivities lively and provided opportunities to participate in a competition to become a guest judge, along with Larry Carrino, Josh Capon, and Tony Mantuano. Hors d’ vours were passed, drinks were served, and the entertainment started on time with a brief introduction from MasterCard promoting their new GM card, followed by an introduction of the local chefs. Sean Brasel, of Meat Market, Todd Erickson of Hua Hua, and Paula DaSilva of 1500 Degrees all prepared their culinary creations in their own kitchens for the actual competition which was displayed via video on the flat screen tv’s scattered around the tent.

The challenge was to create a tasty meal using the 4 ingredients in the challenge basket in only 20 minutes. The ingredients for this challenge included venison, Progresso clam chowder soup, pierogies, and okra. Each of the chef’s creations were then replicated for the audience to taste.

There were 2 other competitions that we were able to watch live, one challenge even included pigs feet! (these dishes we were fortunate enough not to taste!) The event was action packed and entertaining all the way through.

The judges were clearly having a good time enjoying the festivities, including Josh Capon, who’s restaurant Lure at Loews had just opened 3 days before. He split his time between checking in on his restaurant and tasting the competing chef’s creations at the Chopped table. The food was delicious, the venue was spectacular, and the event overall is one not to be missed if given the opportunity to attend the final stop in New York City.

The lucky winner of the early event was Paul Da Silva of 1500 Degrees, and Sean Brasel of Meat Market took the second round.


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