American Olympian Natalie Coughlin was featured on Food Network’s Chopped on Tuesday, where she made it all the way to the final before falling to NASCAR driver Danica Patrick in the final round.
Coughlin competed in the Sports Stars episode against Chuck Zito, Tiki Barber, and Patrick, with one participant being eliminated, or “chopped,” in each round. The judges said that they felt that Patrick was the better in two of the three rounds, and thus gave stock car driving’s golden girl the edge.
In that final round, Coughlin made bread pudding, as the challenge required her and Patrick to use protein powder, caramel popcorn, tangelo, and olive oil cake. Patrick opted for a chocolate and peanut butter “dessert sandwich”.
Patrick’s charity, the COPD Foundation, received a $10,000 donation in honor of her win, while Coughlin was playing for Right to Play, an organization that uses sports and games to enhance child development in areas of disadvantage.
Coughlin fell for what Chopped diehards call “the bread pudding curse,” as bread pudding is a frequent dessert choice, but rarely wins, for contestants (who are usually, for what it’s worth, professional chefs).
In the first round, she made a candy peanut crusted salmon appetizer (the required ingredients were salmon fillets, candied peanuts, kale, and to top it all off Gatorade). In the second round, she made a beef medallion dish with almond milk and a creamed spinach base. The required ingredients there were filet mignon, spinach, almonds, and chocolate covered marshmallows for a twist, with Coughlin actually making her own almond milk out of the almonds.