Rob Evans of Portland’s Duckfat competing for grand prize on “Chopped Champions”

Chef Rob Evans, former owner of Hugo’s and current owner and chef of Duckfat, both in Portland, last night advanced to the finals on Food Network’s “Chopped Champions.” The James Beard Award-winner will compete in the grand finale for the five episode competition for $50,000.

The show pits 16 former “Chopped” champions against one another in a three-course, one special ingredient race to the finish. There are four chefs in each episode, with one getting eliminated after each course (appetizer, entree and dessert). On his episode, Evans competed against chefs Helen Park, a corporate executive chef from New York; Jean-Louis Gerin, a fellow James Beard Award winner and executive chef at the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, and Kris Wessel, a chef from Miami.

The dishes Evans concocted included seared mortadella with blanched white asparagus spears and pickled fennel, pan-seared calves liver with caramelized onion rice fritters, and an espresso maple trifle with corn nut crumble. When Evans was interviewed by “Chopped” host Ted Allen, he said he’d use the $50,000 to purchase new equipment for the farm he and his wife, Nancy, own and operate in western Maine.

Viewers can also vote for their favorite chef online, at the Food Network website.

Emily Burnham

About Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native, a UMaine graduate, a proud Bangorian and an arts and lifestyle writer for the Bangor Daily News, where she's worked since 2004. She reports on everything from local bands to local food, from media and the Internet to theater and dance. In her quest for stories, she's seen countless concerts and plays, been lobster fishing, interviewed celebrities, hung out with water buffalo and played in a ukulele orchestra, to name just a few. She's interested in everything -- especially if it happens in Maine. She welcomes any and all feedback or suggestions for stories.