Fans of Food Network's Chopped series got the chance to see Pizzeria Orso chef Will Artley compete for the $10,000 prize Sunday night. Artley ended up finishing second, but still had a blast with the experience. Eater caught up with the chef Monday to hear more about what the process was like, and what he thought about the verdict. Here are eight takeaways from that interview, and check out photos of Sunday's viewing party above.
1) It takes awhile for a Chopped episode to make it on the air. The episode last night featuring Artley was filmed about a year and a half ago. Artley got the gig by applying online, interviewing in New York with a casting agent, and sailing through a final interview in DC.
2) Artley's friends helped him prepare for the show by bringing trial "mystery baskets" for him to cook from. Some of his test ingredients included whole duck, rabbit?and pop tarts. His friends would then judge him on his creations.
3) Toughest basket for Artley: spiral ham, noodle kuegel, pizzelles and mustard greens. The easiest: tenderloin, chestnuts, crab, and a Santa Claus melon.
4) Artley got second place?but kind of thinks he should have gone home with the prize. "Everyone has their own opinion, but all I know is that I did my best on each dish. Overall if you looked at the consistency of the dishes from each round, I definitely feel like I blew the other contestants away. I mean honestly, I think we all know who should have gone home with that $10,000," he said with a wink.
5) Artley watched the episode at a viewing party at Pizzeria Orso with his girlfriend Kim and more than 100 fans. His dad couldn't make it because of some health issues, but called him to tell him he "still won in his eyes".
6) Things that happen when you film episodes more than a year in advance: the show didn't have him credited as a Pizzeria Orso chef. "It's all good though, because all of my biggest fans know exactly where to find me now." he said.
7) Artley watches Chopped at least four times a week.
8) Chopped was Artley's first national TV appearance though he's done local and regional elements before. He was nervous before the taping, but that turned into adrenaline once things started. Could a Top Chef appearance be next? "I am extremely interested in the possibility of Top Chef, so we'll just have to see what the future has in store for me," he said. "Ya hear that Top Chef, bring it on!"