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Football coach Herb Hand, aspiring Chopped champion: Beef, not Skittles, please

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Vanderbilt offensive line coach Herb Hand might make the final cut for the Food Network's Chopped. We spoke with him about the process, and how no one in his right mind wants to work with cauliflower.

Vanderbilt offensive line coach Herb Hand has at least one outside interest: cooking. He has reached the final stage of contestant screening for the Food Network show Chopped, and spoke with us via Twitter DM yesterday about his ideal Chopped box, the judges he wants and doesn't want to see, and surviving blender explosions.

Q: What's your signature dish?

A: Start with a simple wedge salad. Crab-stuffed filet mignon seared in bacon fat with a Béarnaise sauce, sautéed asparagus, and roasted red potatoes.

Q: Who's the judge you hope to get? And the judge you dread getting?

A: Marc Murphy. Chris Santos.

Q: Name the ingredients in your ultimate Chopped box.

A: Beef (any cut other than tongue); baby spinach; chocolate-covered strawberries; and habanero peppers.

Q: Now: name the contents of your nightmare box.

A: Tofu. Pickled eggs. Cauliflower. Skittles.

Q: What's the timeframe on the contestant screening process?

A: I'm not sure. We're still working through the details.

Q: Please say you won't do pain perdu for dessert like every other contestant in the history of the show.

Tofu. Pickled eggs. Cauliflower. Skittles. -

A: O-linemen call it French toast. It is one of my son Cade's favorite breakfast foods, the "world-famous chocolate chip French toast sticks."

Q: Bonus question: you're just putting a finger cot on that knife cut and playing through the pain if that happens, right?

A: No question. You only get one shot. Cut finger, burned hand, hot purée explosion from blender? It's all part of the game.