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Chef Taylor Knapp enjoys a brief moment of downtime during a PawPaw pop-up Jan. 13. (Credit: David Benthal)

Tonight at 9 p.m., local chef Taylor Knapp of PAWPAW pop-up in Greenport and Peconic Escargot will compete in Chopped. A primer for those who haven’t been binge watching The Food Network of late: The show pits four chefs against each other through a three course meal competition. Sounds easy enough? Well, each round has a basket of ingredients that all must be used in the dish, which are then judged by a panel of culinary experts based on taste, presentation and creativity. After each course, a chef is ‘chopped’ until one stands champion, bringing home $10,000. 

“In a lot of ways, it was a lot like prepping for PAWPAW,” Knapp said. “Often, we don’t pick up fresh produce and fish until just before the dinner – the menus are sometimes finalized minutes before guests arrive. I hope I did the North Fork proud.”

On tonight’s episode, Knapp and his competitors will face off over Loco Moco, a Hawaiian comfort food, for round one. The next round focuses on pom pom mushrooms, also known as lion’s mane, and the final round challenges the contestants to use a strange coffee and a crunchy cake in the desserts.

“The Chopped experience was a wild ride,” Knapp said. “It wasn’t quite as much TV magic as I expected. You really don’t know what’s in the mystery boxes ahead of time, and you really only have 20 minutes to prepare the dish.”

Make sure to tune into the Food Network tonight at 9 p.m. to see how Knapp does on Chopped.