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Culinary grad advances to ‘Chopped’ finale

2013 Penn College culinary arts and systems graduate Kristina Wisneski was the last chef standing in a championship episode of Food Network’s “Chopped” competition show.

The episode, “$50,000 Champs Challenge: Part 3,” premiered Tuesday and pitted Wisneski, who also won an episode that first aired in February 2019, against three other champions. After successfully wowing a panel of judges with her quick creations that used mandatory mystery ingredients, she advances to “$50,000 Champs Challenge: Grand Finale,” set to premiere on Tuesday, Feb. 18, at 9 p.m.

Kristina WesneskiIn the appetizer round, when competitors opened mystery baskets filled with chicken hearts, spaghetti-ring ice pops, black summer truffles and avocado fries, judges loved the avocado puree that Wisneski concocted as part of her dish: fried chicken hearts with avocado puree, chipotle and spaghetti-ring sauce, and a frisee and mint salad.

She next survived the entrée round that required chefs to use fried chicken bao, turkey breast, horseradish greens and instant lemon pudding mix. Wisneski’s seared turkey breast with horseradish, mushroom and lemon risotto, and her toasting of the bao buns to top a horseradish salad, advanced her to the final round.

The dessert round came down to two Philadelphia-area chefs, as Wisneski, sous chef of Ripplewood Whiskey & Craft in Ardmore, faced Kristol Bryant, owner/executive chef of K. 1893, a Philadelphia catering service. Given babka cheesecake, pickled cherry blossoms, canary melon and bacon brittle, Wisneski served babka cheesecake French toast with a cherry blossom syrup, melon compote and bacon brittle crumble.

Penn College culinary arts graduates are now 3-0 on “Chopped,” as Wisneski won her second episode, and Chef Dean Yasharian, ’03, was named winner in an episode that first aired in 2009.

Tuesday’s “Champs Challenge: Part 3” episode featuring Wisneski will be rerun at 7 p.m. Feb. 18.  The “Champs Challenge: Grand Finale” episode featuring Wisneski is set to air two hours later, at 9 p.m.

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