10/12/2012 02:03:00 PM

Chopped Party: Murphy, Freitag, Santos Hint at New Projects

Judging from the line of eager fans perpetually snaking out the door at Marc Murphy’s Landmarc Time Warner Center last night, people are really into Chopped. The near-hysteria inside confirmed it: people are like really, really into Chopped. One woman shrieked when she spotted red-bearded Scott Conant, then snatched the drink right out of her friend’s hand, so she could take a picture. The bulbs were popping as the whole room clamored for photo-ops with show host Ted Allen and judges Amanda Freitag, Geoffrey Zakarian, Chris Santos, Marc Murphy, Maneet Chauhan, Marcus Samuelsson, Scott Conant, Alex Guarnaschelli and Aaron Sanchez.

When Murphy remarked about the staggeringly large crowd, he noted, “I’m gonna need a bigger restaurant!” “Well, get on that,” we demanded. “I am!” he said with a wink. Other hints at new projects came from Amanda Freitag, who admitted that she is not only eager to get back into a kitchen full time, but she is “waiting for the check to clear” on her new restaurant. And Chris Santos is setting his sights on new spots in NYC, Chicago and Vegas. He also tipped us off on a cookbook in progress that is “mostly about celebrating and get-togethers” and that he’s shooting a pilot for his very own show next month. “So if everything goes according to plan,” he confided, “Next year I will have three restaurants in three cities, I’ll be releasing a cookbook and doing a show. I don’t know how I’m going to pull that off.” That sounds good for 2013, but for last night it was time to par-tay down.

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