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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


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

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. 

"Feenie vs. Morimoto: Battle Crab" - February 20

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: Rob Feenie from Vancouver, Canada, a chef who received the prestigious Roule Gourmand award for excellence. He will face the high elder, the OG of the Iron Chefs if you will, Masaharu Morimoto. Surprising, it will not be the first time the third Iron Chef Japanese has squared off against a resident of the great white North (that would be Michael Noble in Battle Lobster). Gentlemen... prepare for battle.

The Crib Sheet:
Troy Thompson & Ariki Omae, sous-chefs
Wayne Harris and Marc Andre Choquette, sous-chefs
21 years EXPERIENCE 20 years
Neo-Japanese COOKING STYLE French-Asian
66-9 BATTLE RECORD Challenger

The Theme Ingredient: live Dungeness and blue crabs, whole and in pieces.

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: The battle begins with Morimoto having a hard time separating the crab from the theme bin. "Oh my goodness!" he says. Feenie is in high heaven, as he wanted to see any type of meat or fish as the theme. As for Morimoto: "Seafood would be great for me." This promises to be interesting, as you have a Japanese chef who follows the global route of cuisine, and a French chef who uses Asian ingredients.

Dungeness and blue crabs are being boiled on Feenie's side, and veal loin is out. More crabs also boiled on Morimoto's side, as he starts hacking some crabs, as Feenie is roasting his veal. Morimoto is washing crab shell for maybe a presentation. Feenie is planning crab panna cotta with pineapple. Sous-chef Troy is poaching cantaloupe in wine for a dessert to counter. Blue crab is out on Feenie's side.

Back with the Iron Chef, his sous-chef Omae is slicing konnyaku, a taro starch derivative. Morimoto has dough balls rolled meanwhile. Feenie icing down his meat so as not to overcook the crab. Morimoto is pureeing crab, but for what, we don't know yet. "Fifteen minutes have elapsed."

The Judges: Barbara Fairchild: editor-in-chief: Bon Appetit Magazine. "I kinda felt that I wasn't on Iron Chef America. I felt like I was on Survivor."
Victoria Riccardi: author, "Untangling My Chopsticks: A Culinary Sojourn in Kyoto".
Akiko Katayama: culinary journalist; Food Arts Magazine (Japan)

Back to Battle: Feenie's jelly goes to the fridge, while Morimoto's broth goes down, and Alton praises his multi-tasking. He'll be making rice with crab broth.

Something I just noticed. Morimoto is the only IC to cook on the left side of the kitchen, while the others cook on the right. Why? Don't know.

Feenie is breaking out pasta dough, while Wayne has some albacore tuna and nori out for a roll. Troy is working on a bechamel with buttermilk to be paired with a croquet, while Mark has an ice cream maker going, not necessarily for the crab. Morimoto's melons are out and into the blast freezer. He's got mushrooms into the crab rice. Feenie has truffles for a verblanc (something akin to a hollandaise sauce). "Thirty minutes have elapsed."

Now to today's semi-educational moment: Dungeness crab is native off the waters of San Francisco, while blue crab (or rock crab) is more native to the east coast, where ICA is taped.

There are Japanese marsh crabs, but they're very small. They're being deep fried, while Troy is making a lobster/crab croquette breaded in panko and deep fried. Feenie is now adding honju-miju mushrooms for saute and crab ravioli for stuffing. Morimoto has a stuffed dough item of his own, while he's packing miso and crab with bonito flakes and scallions onto a wooden spoon. He did this before with natto against Ohta's Party of Heaven and Earth, so I'm expecting yet another rice dish. The melons are out again, and we pour crab consommé.

Crab verblanc is being prepared on Feenie, maybe for the ravioli. Crab & konnyaku stuffed into Morimoto's shells. "Twenty minutes to go." Feenie is at work on a crab and salmon sushi. Morimoto's spoons are being barbecued. Feenie is the first to plate with the sushi. Morimoto's crab shells are meeting the fry pan. Pepper is added. Feenie is whisking egg yolks, sake, and sake vinegar for a hollandaise.

Morimoto's side is experiencing some trouble with the ovens. "Ten minutes to go." The crab rice is finished on Morimoto's side. Also finished: sablefish with tom yum kun. That's on Feenie's side. Morimoto's plating the fried crab with uto. The ravioli is getting two sauces. Croquettes are done with white truffles. "Five minutes to go." Veal is sliced and down... and another sauce, a crab hollandaise. With three on the clock, Troy's looking for a melon baller for his crab consommé. The crab panna cotta has not set, so it's "adapt or die." Morimoto has crab fondue with some fontina ready. Feenie is done with 36 seconds to spare. "He looks cool. He looks happy. He looks together. HE LOOKS CANADIAN!" Alton says. Morimoto too is done. Garnishes are done as well.

"Five seconds... three... two... one... Time's up" And Battle Crab is history! Feenie: "I think I lost some weight. We just wanted to get our dishes done. It'll work." Morimoto: "I tried to do new things mixed with Japanese tradition." Now to judge.

Judgment (Morimoto): "I'm using tricks that I picked up on my recent trips abroad. Trying new techniques, but I'm always tying them into Japanese tradition." Morimoto, a traditionalist? NEVER! Dishes: crab consommé gelee filled charentais melon, buttermilk crab croquette, crab fondue with crab naan bread, black pepper Dungeness crab, crab rice with baked crab miso.

The melon/crab dish is beautiful as a cross between dessert and crab. The croquette goes over well. Barbara thinks that the crab in the fondue can't be tasted. She does like the pepper fried crab, though. The rice is done in three ways, and three ways does he garner raves, although Akiko still can't taste any crab.

Judgment (Feenie): "A lot of the stuff we do at home is Asian oriented, so we took a couple of Asian hits and combined them with my French background." Dishes: duo of crab maki rolls, sablefish and Dungeness crab in tom yum kun, lump crabmeat ravioli, roasted veal loin with lump crabmeat hollandaise, peekytoe crab panna cotta.

Barbara likes the many levels of the sushi. Akiko loves the contrast, but thought it was hard to eat. Presentation and taste are rewarded in the soup, but it seemed like the fish was the central ingredient. The ravioli was perfect. The veal... well, Barbara didn't appreciate it. Dessert ends the meat finally found. Harsh words for the Iron Chef, and praise for the challenger...

And now, whose cuisine reigns supreme? The verdict....
Taste 19 18
Plating 13 12
Originality 13 9

... 45-39 in favor of Challenger Rob Feenie. So Canada avenges its loss to Morimoto from the original Iron Chef, but when Iron Chefs get knocked down, they get back up... and they get back up bitter. Until next time... I bid you good eating.

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