DOVER — Back in May, chef Evan Hennessey of Stages at One Washington in Dover took home the big $10,000 prize and the honor of being named champion of Season 37 of the Food Network competition show “Chopped," hosted by Ted Allen. On Tuesday night, he returned as a “Chopped" champion to face off against three other season champions and vie for a whopping $50,000.

Hennessey again did the Seacoast proud, winning the episode "Chopped Champs Throwdown: Battle 1," cooking the progressive New England cuisine that makes his restaurant unique. Now, more chefs will cook off in Battles 2, 3, and 4 each week with more chefs advancing to compete with Hennessey in the "Chopped Champions" finale on Nov. 6.

During this week's show, Hennessey made use of the mystery basket of ingredients for each of three rounds — appetizer, entree and dessert — as well as his vast knowledge of our New England culinary roots to triumph over some very talented chefs from Denver, New Orleans and Jersey City. For the appetizer challenge, the "cheftestants" saw turmeric tea, carrots and smelt, which didn’t seem to faze Hennessey a bit.

“I was talking to one of the producers and they mentioned that I knew the history of the ingredients," Hennessey said. "I’m committed to a depth of knowledge of cooking. I read a lot of old cookbooks and travel books to understand where my cooking comes from so when I saw smelt, I just thought, 'Hello, New England!' I used the heads and tails in the vinegar for an Old World preservation. I like digging into the past.”

His dish used all parts of the smelt, the carrot stems and other ingredients like toasted almond to create a turmeric tempura battered smelt with blistered carrots. Judges Marc Murphy, Chris Santos and Alex Guarnaschelli noted the dish not only looked great but had wonderful textures and exciting flavors from sherry vinegar and fish sauce.

Hennessey moved on to the entree round with another ingredient that resonates with New Englanders: venison. Other mystery basket ingredients included a can of blueberry pie filling, salty licorice and green tomatoes. Hennessey made blueberry glazed venison loin with pickled green tomatoes with a yogurt sauce, once again noting our New England culinary history, this time as a tie to the history of Nordic cuisine. He also said blueberries for a chef in New Hampshire was a natural.

“They were impressed with my flavor composition," he said. "It was my favorite because it really represented my style. I looked at everything in that basket and it just clicked. I had it all planned out in about 30 seconds.”

Judges noted Hennessey’s creativity but also his willingness to take risks, something he’s done since his early days at Portsmouth restaurants 43 Degrees North and The Dunaway, and certainly at his Stages at One Washington, where nine guests sit at the chef's table to watch the magic behind his innovative dishes.

“I have to take risks to stand out, but it’s part of what I do," he said. "Stages was a huge risk. I felt that for this show the judges were harder, and they nitpick, but as I said on the show, ‘This is not Chopped rookies, this is Champions.’ They were totally fair, though. I had to build on what I did before, make it better.”

Creativity and risk taking got him through to the dessert round, where he admits that the cotton candy “burrito” mystery ingredient threw him a bit.

“That was a crazy ingredient. I thought about melting down the cotton candy but that wouldn’t have worked. I couldn’t make it into something else.” He wound up with a mango and milk jam mousse with cotton candy and macadamia nut crumble that got him the win and a place in the finale.

The remaining "Battle" editions of the show will air Oct. 16, 23 and 30. Tune in to the Food Network’s "Chopped" on Nov. 6 at 9 p.m. to find out if Hennessey becomes the "Ultimate Chopped Champion."

Maybe if he wins, as one judge suggested, Dover will give him a parade.