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On the Town: Diners gladly take Recess at 'Chopped' prep

November 14, 2012|By Ruth Sowby
  • Celebrating Randy Slaughter's (right) birthday over a dinner at Recess are Glendale residents Sue and Steve Wilder.
Celebrating Randy Slaughter's (right) birthday… (Courtesy photo )

Recess on North Brand is offering the gimmick of all restaurant gimmicks. But with this one everybody wins. Executive Chef-Owner Sevan Abdessian was the first Los Angeles resident to win a spot on the Food Network's popular New York-based “Chopped” show. Thursday-night customers also win with $30 delicious practice dinners including appetizer, entrée and dessert.

On Nov. 8, about 30 hungry patrons enjoyed food, wine and conviviality. As on “Chopped,” a mystery basket of four ingredients accompanied each course. To match the format of the show, Recess Manager Christopher Chacon chose the ingredients and did not reveal them to Abdessian until preparation time. Customers were also kept in the dark until dinner at 6:30 p.m.

Abdessian is out to prove he is the best chef in Glendale. He certainly proved it to Thursday-evening diners. First up was a risotto appetizer. The four ingredients were the risotto, raw Mexican water shrimp, lemon and tomatoes. “Risotto is tough to cook,” Abdessian said. He believes that a chef worth his salt must make perfect risotto.

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In “Chopped” one chef is eliminated after each course. After dessert, there is one chef standing as the winner. To prevent being “chopped” by well-known New York restaurateurs, Abdessian is determined to win after each of his courses on the show.

Already a winner to his Thursday night patrons, each looked forward to the main course. It was another winner — pasta and delectable meatballs with a light tomato sauce. Cilantro made up the fourth ingredient.

Arriving hungry, each diner still had room for dessert. Served in glass coffee cups, a touch of espresso, chocolate, whipped cream and pistachios blended to perfection.

Glendale residents taking advantage of the chef's practice dinners included Glendale Healthy Kids' Sharon Townsend Roth, Susan Hunt, Pam and Steve Ropfogel, Sue and Steve Wilder, Suzonne Slaughter and her husband, birthday boy Randy Slaughter. “I'm addicted to cooking shows,” said Pam, who added she and hubby have been to each of the first four practice shows.

Four Thursday night practice dinners have taken place. Don't miss the remaining three. The last one is on Dec. 13. Two days later, Abdessian flies to New York for the “Chopped” taping. The show's air date on the Food Network is to be announced.

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