LIC chef comes in second on Food Network’s ‘Chopped’

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Being “chopped” never felt so good.

Although Long Island City chef Natasha Pogrebinsky didn’t win the grand prize on the show, she left with an unforgettable experience.

“I’m not upset about the outcome at all, I’m very happy that I had the chance to talk about my story, my restaurant, my type of cuisine,” said Pogrebinsky. “I was really happy I was a part of it.”

Friends and supporters gathered on Tuesday, August 6 at Pogrebinsky’s Bear Restaurant, located at 12-14 31st Avenue, for a viewing party to watch the chef take on lemon bars and whelk snails on that night’s episode of the Food Network’s “Chopped.” Guests were able to taste samples of dishes Pogrebinsky cooked on the show.

The Courier spoke to Pogrebinsky before the episode aired about her experience on the show.
“It’s a little surreal,” said Pogrebinsky. “I like a challenge and it was really fun to meet new people and be thrown into a crazy environment.”

On the August 6 episode, called “Walk on the Whelk Side,” the chefs worked with ingredients such as whelk snails, lemon bars, lamb shawarma, acai juice, upland cress and cucumbers.
Pogrebinsky competed against Long Island Chef Ben Durham and California Chefs Paolo Pasio and Katsuji Tanabe.

Contestants on “Chopped” receive baskets filled with mystery ingredients. Each chef must create dishes and compete to make it to the next round.

After serving sautéed snails as an appetizer and cooking up a stroganoff for the entrée round, Pogrebinsky made it to the final dessert round where she battled against Chef Tanabe.

The two chefs had 30 minutes to create a dish using cucumber salad, cantaloupe, sesame seed candy and marshmallow spread. Pogrebinsky created a sesame cookie with marshmallow cream and Tanabe whipped up a crepe with cantaloupe cucumber sherbet.

In the end, as the judges struggled to make a final decision,Tanabe became the Chopped winner and took home the $10,000 grand prize.

“Food is magical, food is exciting and intriguing and mysterious and doing it at the restaurant is one level and being able to create that little moment , little story for people to watch all over the world is amazing,” said Pogrebinsky.


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