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"Our ultimate competition is with ourselves. That is what my uncle told me when I would visit him as a young boy... My uncle, the man the world knows as Kaga the Chairman, has decided that although America is a young country, we now possess the proper palate to host our own Iron Chef competition, an American celebration of the world's high art of cuisine."

Recaps by Chico Alexander, GSNN


FACT FILE:

Host ("The Chairman"):
Mark Dacascos
Culinary Commentator: Alton Brown
Iron Chefs: Mario Batali, Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto
Kitchen Reporter: Kevin Brauch
Creator: Keiichi Tanaka (based upon "Ryori no Tetsujin/Iron Chef")
EP: Steve Kroopnick
Packager: Triage Entertainment, Fuji Television Network, Food Network
Airs: Sundays at 9p ET on Food Network


Copyright Statement
ALL ORIGINAL MATERIAL COPYRIGHT 1999-2005 GAMESHOWNEWSNET.COM. All rights reserved.

No infringement of copyright is intended by these fan pages; production companies of shows this site covers retain all rights to the sounds, images, and information contained herein. No challenge to copyright is implied. 

Web design by Jason Elliott. Logo by Chico Alexander. 

"Tsai vs. Flay: Battle Duck" - January 30

Editor's Note: What follows is a televised-move-by-televised-move recap. Because a sixty-minute battle, intro, and judgment has to be edited into 45 minutes of airtime, not every move will be shown.

The Challenger: Ming Tsai, a veteran of Chinese cuisine (and of Food Network for that matter) in Dayton, Ohio, currently working out of Boston. He has become an authority on the mouthwatering things that can happen when East meets West. He currently fronts "Simply Ming" on PBS. Check your local listings. He challenges former Food Network compatriot Bobby Flay, the de facto leader of the ICs. Another match on equal terms. Gentlemen... prepare for battle.

The Crib Sheet:
FLAY
Dan Millacko & Neil Manacle, sous-chefs
VS TSAI
Isaac Bancaco, sous-chef
21 years EXPERIENCE 27 years
Southwestern COOKING STYLE East-West
4-1 BATTLE RECORD Challenger

The Theme Ingredient: DUCK! With eggs and assorted innards.

The Rules: Each chef must create a five-course meal, with each course utilizing the theme ingredient, within 60 minutes. The judges will score the dishes on a 20-point scale: 10 points taste, 5 points plating and presentation, 5 points creativity and use of ingredient. The chef who best articulates the theme ingredient through his dishes wins.

The words of the Chairman's dear uncle.... "Allez cuisine!"

The Battle: We start with both chefs getting their duck, ideal for both schools of thought today. Flay starts on sweet potatoes, while Tsai chops scallions, ginger, and oranges for a stuffing. He's also have ... an air compressor of some sort. And what does he do? Make Peking duck. The air is used to separate the skin and the fat layers from the meat. Flay, meanwhile, has Peking duck, sweet potatoes, and chicken broth.

Tsai has rice wine vinegar and molasses (not hoisin sauce) for a glaze. Flay is preparing a honey-mustard-molasses concoction, also for a duck glaze. Dan is chopping off breasts, filleting the duck. The rare breasts are going to be used for a hash. Tsai is using vanilla for a foie gras creme brulee, while Flay has some eggs and lobster.

Tsai is drying the Peking duck, while making his foie gras creme brulee. Flay chops a jerk marinade (a wet rub). He'll have t o make it intense for one hour's work. Tsai is throwing away duck carcass, meanwhile. Hope dad isn't watching.

The Judges: Ted Allen: culinary writer; food/wine expert on "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy". "I think you and I have to appreciate Ming Tsai's use of power tools in cooking."
Dr. Vishakha Desai: president, Asia Society. "I keep thinking, 'My god, how are they going to do this in one hour?'"
Jeffrey Steingarten: author, "It Must Have Been Something I Ate"; culinary critic for Vogue magazine; the resident Asako Kishi. "All of us have decided that it would be impossible for these chefs to do justice to duck, but these chefs are fooling us."

Back to Battle: The ducks are scored and the Peking duck's dried and in the convection oven. Flay has a green chile hollandaise. Tsai: "I'M making green chile hollandaise!" Well, not really, but both gentlemen are frying their duck. Flay's Peking ducks are out of the water and decides to pair it with lobster. Tsai also has the sweet potatoes for a duck pot au feu with coconut milk in a pressure cooker.

Lots of time-savers today. Flay is going with sweet potato and duck breasts while Tsai is cooking a crepe. Neil is making grits. "Thirty minutes have elapsed." So far with Flay, deep fried duck and duck skewers. Tsai is still braising that duck stew. Tsai is working on a chutney with apples, while Flay is working pomegranates. Tsai is stuffing wontons with a duck mixture. He's also working the chutney with apples, ginger, cranberries, coomassie, and something that works better with the cork off, cognac.

Flay is blending gyuzu and honey with a citrus reduction. Gyuzu is very tart citrus used in Japanese cooking, but it's very acidic. Flay reappears with lobster. Sous-chef Isaac is using a wrap with the duck, traditional in Thai cooking. Meanwhile Bobby is making his trademark: blue-corn crepes. "Twenty minutes to go." Flay takes his jerk-rubbed duck out. Tsai is cooling is creme brulee in the blast cooler. The grits now have the duck and lobster.

And plating begins with Flay at 16:45 with the duck hash and the poached duck eggs. Ming's duck breast is rubbed with tea, while we get a clay pot out. Could be for a soup, with the rice noodles out. Bobby Flay's Peking ducks are out. "Fifteen minutes to go."

The green chile hollandaise is over the poached eggs. Cast-iron casseroles are out for the grits. Ming Tsai's duck is out at 11:45. "Plenty of time!" Neil is making up a mustard/mint/honey/pomegranate sauce for the grits and the crispy duck. And the pressure cooker is whistling while the rice-paper-wrapped duck/shrimp mousse on a miso risotto is done! Tsai gets another bath for his Peking duck in hot oil. Most of Tsai's dishes are plated while he looks for the brulee burner and the chutney. That's done. The jerk marinade duck is done. Final plating is going on for presentation points. Taste no longer a factor. A minute and counting left on the clock. Both chefs are done.

"Five seconds... three... two... one... Time's up" And Battle Duck is over! Very beautiful, if I must say.  Now to judge.

Judgment (Tsai): "I wanted to show different cooking techniques for the duck. I really wanted to show the versatility of duck." Dishes: Foie gras shumai with tea-smoked duck breasts, wrapped duck breasts & shrimp mousse on risotto, braised duck legs with sweet potatoes, roasted Peking duck with duck leg crepe, foie gras creme brulee.

The shumai was "interesting" and "unusual". Ted calls Tsai's raison d'etre on the risotto dish a success. Vishakha is surprised by the braised duck dish and how soft it is. Points for originality for the creme brulee.

Judgment (Flay): "I was a little nervous, because I was going against Ming Tsai. We went to different cultures. We went to the southwest. We went to the Caribbean. We go to the American South, so come along!" Dishes: duck breast skewers, duck & sweet potato hash with poached duck egg, duck confit in a corn crepe, jerk marinated duck breast, deep-fried duck with 10-ingredient grits

Vishakha is reminded of the Vietnamese in the skewers, but Jeffrey doesn't think it's that good. Vishakha is surprised that the chiles don't have heat. Ted is smacked by the habanero in the confit, and Jeffrey likes it as well. Bobby admits to not having enough time to marinate the duck, but it still works. The 10 ingredients: lobster, scallops, crawfish, pork tenderloins, duck, scallions, cilantro, ginger, cream, and grits. Ted gets his crispy skin. "God bless the American South." But Vishakha doesn't like the grits.

And now, whose cuisine reigns supreme? The verdict....
 
  CHALLENGER IRON CHEF
Taste 26 21
Plating 10 11
Originality 12 11

... 48-43 in favor of Challenger Ming Tsai, handing the ICs their first loss in Kitchen Stadium America. Until next time... I bid you good eating.

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