Local SUSHISAMBA chef wins Food Network's Chopped

SUSHISAMBA Miami Beach Sous Chef Cara Thompson is $10,000 richer, thanks to winning Food Network’s nail-biting cooking competition Chopped. The Tuesday night episode was called “Redemption Intention” because all contestants had competed before and lost. The mystery basket of ingredients were more workable this time around. At least for her. Thompson’s dishes: Kuromitsu Chicken, made with enoki mushroom, pickled sea cucumber and soy paper; Pork Terrine (Peruvian corn, sriracha gel, smoked pineapple sea salt, chicharones); and Mamaye Sorbet (peanut crumble, anise catupiry crema, sugared squash blossoms). “Chopped brings an element to cooking that cannot be replicated in the kitchen of a restaurant,” she said. “The adrenaline rush is unlike anything else I have experienced – you must think quickly and creatively, producing a memorable dish with ingredients you may or may not have previously worked with. What truly makes it an amazing experience, however, is the people you get to work with. I would compete every year if I could.”