HOLLYWOOD, California, September 3. OLYMPIC superstar Natalie Coughlin put on her reality television persona once again as the Dancing With The Stars veteran turned up the heat in the kitchen with her culinary skills on Chopped on the Food Network.
Chopped pits four cooks against each other during a three-course timed cooking competition that incorporates an appetizer, main course and dessert. All three rounds require the cooks to use a surprise box of ingredients, and Coughlin managed to fight her way to the final round against racer Danica Patrick. Football player Tiki Barber and fighter Chuck Zito also participated in the competition, but did not stand a chance against the Culinary Institute trained Patrick or the consummate foodie in Coughlin. In the end, Patrick won the $10,000 for her charity the COPD Institute.
Coughlin was playing for Right to Play, which fights to help children play sports in under-served locations.
#Chopped was an experience! Forces you to experiment & commit to your decisions with a serious time crunch. Fun challenge! @FoodNetwork— Natalie Coughlin (@NatalieCoughlin) September 4, 2013
In the first round, Coughlin had to whip up an amazing appetizer with a salmon filet, candy peanuts, kale and Gatorade. She put together an amazing Candy Peanut Crusted Salmon for the judges, that left their mouths watering. Coughlin particularly enjoyed this round, because of her home gardening skills that turned the kale into something fantastic.
After watching Barber go home on the first chop, Coughlin moved on to the main course round that required spinach, filet mignon, almonds and chocolate covered marshmallows in the dish. She cooked up a particularly tasty beef medallion dish over almond milk and creamed spinach. The judges specifically raved over her almond milk.
With Zito making his exit after being unable to put together a complete dish, the ladies participated in the final round stare down before opening the dessert ingredient box. This round required the use of protein powder, caramel covered popcorn, tangelo and olive oil cake. Coughlin, whose father loves bread pudding, elected to make an olive oil cake bread pudding.
Coughlin had a bit of a tough time dealing with the protein powder as she won’t touch the stuff for fear of testing positive as an Olympic athlete. But, still managed a good dish that had the judges happy in the end. Unfortunately, Patrick managed to earn the win.
One of the funniest moments of the show came when Coughlin told an anecdote about how she had swum with sharks for her 30th birthday. Everyone in the kitchen had their jaws drop wondering what would drive someone to actually want to swim with sharks.