Food Network Chopped champ Chef Ciarán McGoldrick visits home & careers class


Food Network Chopped champ Chef Ciarán McGoldrick visits home & careers class

January 24, 2024

On Tuesday, students in Corrine Lane’s Home & Careers class had the opportunity to learn from a local professional chef, who also happens to be a recent champion on the Food Network’s long-running cooking challenge show, Chopped!

Chef Ciarán McGoldrick cooked with Warwick Valley High School students as part of their Home & Careers class. First they got to know the chef a little bit.

Chef Ciarán is originally from Manhattan, but has lived locally for some time and is the owner/operator of Glenmere Farm. He explained how the farm brings together agriculture, sustainability and innovation, and that it is their aim to bring their farm to your table. He tailors personalized culinary affairs for private parties, and is known for his great farm-to-table dinners, often collaborating with the region’s outstanding brewers, distillers and wine makers to host both public and private events.

Soon, the knives were, burners were on, and the ingredients were on the chopping blocks. Working along with Chef Ciarán, the students prepared a menu of crispy chicken thighs with cider braised cabbage and sweet potato puree. Chef Ciarán walked the students through each step of the recipe, giving them pro tips on technique along the way, such as how best to cut the sweet potatoes.

As the aromatic smells of sautéed onions, chopped shallots, and cabbage wafted through the air, the students had a lot of questions for Chef Ciarán. Many of the students had seen Ciarán’s episode of Chopped, and there was plenty of curiosity around what goes into filming a show like Chopped, and what that experience was like.

“The timing on Chopped is real,” said Chef Ciarán emphatically! He confirmed that the time allotted for them to cook each round, is, indeed, all of the time they get! That’s true for all three rounds — appetizer, entrée, and dessert. “That’s probably one of the questions I get asked the most. Also, there is a producer right there in front of you, asking you questions as you cook, so when they edit it later, it’s more engaging. And there’s also about 50 crew members around, so it could be very stressful.”

When asked what types of cooking he enjoys most or finds challenging, Chef Ciarán shared that baking is not something he particularly enjoys.

“Cooking is just more forgiving,” he said. “But with baking, one missing ingredient can mess the whole thing up. Things like pastries and cakes are a lot harder, but I do like making desserts… especially ice cream!”

This got a chuckle from those students and teachers in the room who had watched the December 26th episode of Chopped, during which Chef Ciarán shared the following ONE piece of advice his mom had given him leading up to the taping.

“The one thing my mom told me NOT to do in the whole competition, was make ice cream! So, like any good kid, I’m going to do the opposite of what she told me, and I’m going to make a lychee ice cream.”

It all worked out great. Chef Ciarán was named Chopped Champion on his episode, and the lychee ice cream was universally loved by the judges.   

To wrap up the class, Ciarán and the students got to taste their creations, and the consensus around the room was that it had turned out pretty good.

“Oh… I’ll definitely be making this for dinner,” said one student, through a spoonful of puree!



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