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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. 

"Campbell vs. Batali: Battle Cheese" - March 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: New Yorker Scott Q. Campbell, an internationalist in cuisine. He heads the kitchen at @SQC, having worked at three esteemed eateries beforehand. He is paired with Iron Chef Batali, a cross-cuisine battle in theory.

The Crib Sheet:
Mark Ladner & Anne Burrell, sous-chefs
Seli Ortiz & Roger ?, sous-chef
19 years EXPERIENCE 26 years
Italian COOKING STYLE New American
3-1 BATTLE RECORD Challenger

The Theme Ingredient: Cheese, several variations including gorgonzola, mozzarella, ricotta, mascarpone, etc.

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: Alton notices that each cheese is Italian in origin. Sounds like a tip of the scales to the Iron Chef, but let's see what the challenger can do. Campbell is working with veal, as he's pulling apart connective tissue for a sauce for ravioli. On the Iron Chef's side, he's working with fillings. Sous-chef Anne is slicing fennel in a mandoline. Meanwhile, Campbell is slicing truffles as Batali pulls out prosciutto. Campbell is prepping lemon juice, rather quickly for someone doing prepwork. "You have an objective. You have to march the ball down the field. Score the point. you have two athletes in top shape, going at each other with unbelievable odds. It's a very very fun feat."

Over on Batali's side, we have a meatball of veal, egg, ricotta, and... something else as sous-chef Seli is disassembling artichokes. And did I hear veal sorbet? I think we have a topper for Sakai's trout ice cream.

The meatballs are coated with panko for frying. Sous-chef Roger is roasting red peppers, while Anne is slicing some for parmesan cheese, milk, fennel, and other ingredients. And we have glass down... broken. Meanwhile, Campbell wants to work with some of the fatty marrow. "Fifteen minutes have elapsed." And Campbell's sorbet is churning.

The Judges:
Ted Allen (food writer; food & wine expert, "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy").
Barbara Fairchild (editor-in-chief, Bon Appetit magazine)
Peter Elliot (food writer/culinary critic)

Back to Battle: Campbell is shaving said veal bones clean, while mascarpone and ricotta is joined with spinach, green pepper, and onion.

Roger is making mascarpone and gorgonzola mousse, as Campbell is plating it on slate, alongside buffalo mozzarella. Mark is making a Bechamel sauce for the pacchari. Anne is making a sweet bread-stick with mascarpone.

The veal sorbet is out on Campbell's side. It's been churned but not hardened. That's what the freezer is for, and we have time for that. The Iron Chef is planning a folded device, while Campbell is countering with wonton wrappers.

Tube pasta being filled on Batali's side, while Campbell is preparing a cheese frito, a cracker. Batali has a mini-calzone going on with the cheese-and-veggies mix from earlier. Seli is wrapping prosciutto with figs (or the other way round) for an artichoke salad alongside parmesan and avocado.

And are you ready for some wings? Looks like Batali is. "Thirty minutes have elapsed." And what a half that has been. More like 3/4.

Now for your semi-educational moment. Parmesan arreggiano cheese is very hard because most of its moisture was pressed out of it. Gorgonzola is aged a few months, but unlike other cheeses today, it is essentially infected with penicillin for flavor and aroma. Mozzarella is made by taking soft cheese, knotting it, and pouring boiling hot water on it. Ricotta is made from the whey of other cheeses. Mascarpone is very creamy, because, well... it's mostly cream.

And while we were listening to Alton, veal sausage was done, veal meatball was fried, and a roast was done. All on Batali's side. Campbell is making sausage dumplings in veal stock. Batali is making cheese sauce with fontina cheese, while Campbell has started to plate with a salad.

Batali's making a panchetta-fat-based tomato sauce. Campbell's making a red-pepper cannoli. Zeppole is being deep-fried on Batali's side. Campbell's making a curry with mascarpone to be plated with the salad.

Batali is conically sieving his fontina sauce. A first for Batali. "Fifteen minutes to go." And plating continues. Campbell has his first cheese plate down, finished. More black-truffles on Batali's fondutta. His veal fillet is being plates, while Roger is working on beet chips. Ted Allen thinks this is the most intense IC battle anywhere.

Veal for ravioli is being sliced with a little over a dime on the clock. Batali is deconstructing a salad while Anne is working with figs again.

Campbell... "Okay, guys... Fun is over." Time to pick it up. Vincotto on top of the sweet mascarpone is next on Batali's side, as he finished a meatball sandwich... "It's a sub." Oh, my bad. And we have a calzone in the deep-frier. Weird to Kevin, but not to Alton, because as Batali says... "He's from the South!" This as he finishes plating another dish... and cleans up after himself.

Campbell is finished plating three stuffed treats. And Batali's got the five down, all cheesy, all playful. Campbell is getting his five down... and we have a minute to clean. That's it, really. All we have to do is wait until...  Wait a minute, Batali with the white truffle at the fondutta... Playing dirty! But this is Iron Chef, not Iron Challenger...

"Five seconds.. Three... two... One... Time's up." Battle Cheese is OVER! Now to judge.

Judgment (Campbell): "We tried to do is take a contemporary American approach to using Italian products with as greatest dignity as possible." Dishes: Artichoke Salad, Gorgonzola Mousse on a Sausage Quenelle; Gorgonzola Cannoli, Gaufrette Ravioli, Cheese Stuffed Beet; Salad with Gorgonzola and Mascarpone Curry Sauce; Cheese Ravioli with Veal and Veal Marrow; Italian Cheese Plate with Lemon Veal Sorbet.

Barbara notices the contrasts in dish one. Ted disagrees, as they do go together. "As you can see, I hate it," Peter says, as he shows an empty plate. Barbara thinks his "outside-the-box" salad needs to go back into the box. Ow... Ted isn't a fan of the gold leaf. Dish 4: "If you've got the fever for the flavor of a femur, this is your dish. But where's the cheese?" Dish #5: "Praise cheesus!" Points for Campbell with originality. Points to Ted for writing his own material.

Judgment (Batali): "Cheese is one of my favorite things. It's rarely the only thing that goes into a dish, so my inspiration is to see how we can use it in the vernacular of the Italian kitchen with some Italian-American and just American influences." Dishes: Three-Cheese Calzone with Spicy Green Tomato Sauce; Buffalo Chicken Wing with Gorgonzola Quenelle; Pacchari Ripieni with Mozzarella and Ricotta; Gorgonzola Zeppole, Parmigiano Sausage, Ricotta Meatball; Lemon Mascarpone with Brown Sugar-Glazed Figs

Judges like the calzones, the wings ("It's the Super Bowl snack gone upscale"), the pasta ("I'm having a foodgasm."), the threesome of cheese dishes, and the mascarpone stick. Ted asks for a hug.

And now, whose cuisine reigns supreme? The verdict....
Taste 18 29
Plating 10 11
Originality 12 13

... 53-40 in favor of Iron Chef Mario Batali. Plating and originality were strong on both sides, but it was taste that gave the Iron Chef his margin of victory. As for the challenger, all his hard work... not for naught, but for submission... to the Iron Chef.  Until next time, we bid you good eating.

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