The Truth About Eric Spigner From Chopped: Alton's Maniacal Baskets

As "Chopped: Alton's Maniacal Baskets" premiered on Food Network on June 22, the chefs prepared to conquer unusual ingredient combinations and expect the unexpected. In a press release from Food Network, Alton Brown commented, "No one is prepared for this. Honestly, in this case 'maniacal' is a soft, fuzzy puppy compared to this stuff. It's just ... wrong." While Food Network fans are ready to give these chefs the ultimate Chopped Challenge, competitor Eric Spigner is ready to accept his fate upon opening that mystery basket.

Having been at the helm of Nova Restaurant in Dallas, Texas, Chef Spigner might be well prepared for this unlikely mix of ingredients. The eclectic Dallas hotspot is known for "round-the-world dining," according to the Dallas Observer. As seen on Chef Spigner's Instagram account, it doesn't appear that he is afraid of creative ingredient combinations and non-traditional ingredients. From bananas with thyme to wild boar recipes, those dishes are in contrast to Mississippi catfish and gumbo. While Chef Spigner once said that his philosophy is to "cook from the soul," it appears that his ingredients and flavors are a journey across the globe, per BizJournals. It remains to be seen if his background will help him out on "Chopped: Alton's Maniacal Baskets."

Nova Restaurant and Eric Spigner elevated the Dallas gastropub scene

While the definition of gastropub can vary, in 2013, named Nova Restaurant and chef Eric Spigner as one of the top restaurants in the Dallas area. From the fresh, seasonal, local ingredients to the chef-driven menu, Nova continues to impress diners with its ever-changing options. Although the restaurant describes itself as a place to "meet and eat, congregate and collaborate," it is both the dinner and brunch menus that bring people back time and again. Dallas Observer called the brunch, "one of the city's best," but the dinner menu is where the chefs' creativity shines brightly.

From the nightly chef features to the globally influenced dishes, the varied menu allows one diner to choose pho and another dinner to choose a veggie enchilada (per Nova Restaurant website menu). A great example of the culinary creativity is Spigner's Morrocan half-chicken. The chicken is combined with a pistachio couscous, roasted tomatoes, prunes, golden raisins, and mandarin oranges to create this luscious, sweet, spicy, and savory bite. While diners might not need a passport to get a table at Nova Restaurant, they will feel as if they took a food journey around the world at dinner.