Penn State offensive line coach Herb Hand finally got to show off his cooking prowess on Tuesday night’s episode of “Chopped” on the Food Network.
The episode, which had a Father’s Day theme, was filmed last October when Hand was still a part of Vanderbilt’s coaching staff and showcased Hand facing three other dads in the infamous Chopped kitchen.
For those unfamiliar with the show, four chefs are given a basket of mystery ingredients and are challenged to create the best dish, starting with an appetizer, in just 20 minutes. One chef is "chopped" after the appetizer round, leaving three chefs remaining for the 30-minute entree round. After another chef is eliminated, two remain for the final round: dessert. The winner takes home $10,000.
The first basket included salt and vinegar chips, Dover sole fillets, red Russian kale and sour cream. Hand was able to artfully craft a potato chip-crusted sole with bacon and garlic kale.
Although judge Chris Santos was quick to note that he received a bit of burnt garlic in Hand’s dish, he still advanced through to the entrée round with two other contestants.
The entrée basket included single malt scotch, lamb porterhouse, tamarind paste and rapini.
Hand opted to concoct a pan-seared lamb with Thai peanut sauce and rice noodles, but was ultimately criticized by the judges for sloppy presentation. Additionally, judge Maneet Chauhan was disappointed that Hand did not apply the Thai peanut sauce to his noodles.
These criticisms may seem nitpicky (they are), but Hand’s meal was deemed inferior to the other two contestants and he was chopped.
Hand watched the episode on a bus with the rest of the PSU coaching staff as they made their way down to Florida for a satellite camp. He told ESPN.com’s Josh Moyer that head coach James Franklin busted his chops when he was eliminated, saying “It always comes down to execution, Herb!”
On the episode, Herb noted that he prepared for his appearance via “film study” – watching several previous episodes of Chopped, but ultimately that studying did not prepare him enough to win the prize. Hand was playing with the hopes of giving the $10,000 to the “Curing Kids Cancer” foundation in honor of Wilson Holloway, one of Hand’s players at Tulsa who died from complications of Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2011.
Even though he wasn’t able to add Chopped champion to his resume, Hand’s love of the kitchen remains.
“I just love doing it,” he told ESPN.com. “When you can make a great meal for people you love, it’s really an expression of love. And I enjoy that – whether it’s my wife and kids or my friends or my players. It’s just something I enjoy doing.”
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