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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, Cat Cora, 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. 

"Lee vs. Cora: Battle Potato" - April 3

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.

First, a note of background... The central story of the original Iron Chef was the legacy of Rosanjin, a Japanese scholar who taught of food as art. To this end, Kaga created his Kitchen Stadium and equipped it with the three original Tetsujin. In order to fulfill his master's legacy, Kaga eventually added a fourth Iron Chef.

Now, his nephew is prepared to fulfill his uncle's legacy by adding a fourth Iron Chef to the mantle of Kitchen Stadium America, the first female Iron Chef ever to be installed. Cat Cora, "a Greek goddess from Mississippi who has a flare for California cuisine." Having been born into a family of Greek restauranteurs and trained under two of France's leading chefs, she views cooking as an art and an adventure.

But this is not a coronation. This is a battle. Every Iron Chef must prove themselves worthy, and this is no exception, as we meet...

The Challenger: A contemporary French student, Alex Lee. A strong eye for exploration with a strong foothold in tradition. A former executive chef at Danielle, one of the top French restaurants in the world, it seems that the Chairman is not cutting the newbie any slack.

The Crib Sheet:
Lorilynn Bauer & David Shalleck, sous-chefs
James Wilcox & Cyrille Allannic, sous-chefs
12 years EXPERIENCE 20 years
Greek/Aegean COOKING STYLE Contemporary French
Rookie BATTLE RECORD Challenger

The Theme Ingredient: Potato, five varieties: russet Burbank, red, ruby crescents, yellow Finns, and purple Peruvians.

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 or her dishes wins.

And now, with an full heart and an empty stomach, the words of the Chairman's dear uncle.... "Allez cuisine!"

The Battle: Taters are just time consuming, and that's just the collecting! Cora's view going into KSA: "I think some of the greatest challenges that I have are the pressure of being the first female Iron Chef.  Women in their own right can cook and battle as fierce as men can." Lee has also trained in France. "I've seen a lot of [women cooks] in my travels."

Cheese, milk, and cream mixing in Lee's side. Potatoes are a new-world food which was very slow accepting in Europe due to them being "nightshades". Let's just say they were their version of a trout-being-wrapped-in-newspaper. Today, it's America's most popular vegetable. Cora is using a lesser known variety, the purple Peruvian, in a dish with cream, sugar, and vanilla beans. Purple potato gelato?

James is working potatoes, olives, and goat cheese Cyrille is also working with vanilla. Cora is chopping mushrooms, gnocchi and maitake, it looks like. Lorilynn has fennel seeds and sugar syrup for a brittle. Cora is also pureeing more purples for the "ice cream." Yellowfin slices are prepped on Lee's side. Cora is pan-frying mushrooms. That was an hour ago, though. Ice cream machine is in motion. Cyrille is making crepes with russets.

Meanwhile, the Chairman is prowling, checking out his newest acquisition.

The Judges:
Aaron Brown (CNN news anchor, "Newsnight")
Karine Bakhoum (culinary consultant, KB Network News)
Jeffrey Steingarten (culinary critic/writer, "It Must've Been Something I Ate"; America's answer to Asako Kishi)

Back to Battle: The potatoes that looked to be a tart on Lee's side are now being fried, while his sous-chef James is caramelizing apples with peels. Now peels have a bit of pectin which could help in setting the solution as a gelatin or a gelee. Baby octopus courtesy of sous-chef David, while Cora works on a vinaigrette of mirin, yuzu, ponzu, and sesame oil. Lorilynn is working on a pepper potato gazpacho.

Cyrille has a batter... a cake? Eggs, flour, butter... Cora has "Japanese basil" on her side. Both chefs are calling for hot dishes as they move round the kitchen. David has ground duck livers in with the duck meat. That and octopi are very prominent in Greek cooking, Cora's specialty. Lee has an omelet with potatoes, a frittata, if you will. The challenger has his cake molds out, while Lorilynn on the IC side has her ice cream out. "Thirty minutes have elapsed."

David has added chicken stock to the duck, while Lee has hollowed out yellowfins. And it looks like we have an issue with the oven on the challenger's side. Cora has garlic chives, while she rents out the oven to Cyrille for his mini-cakes. "Fine, share and share alike," she says.

And it looks like the duck is being used as a layer for moussaka. Cora also has phyllo out. Lee has the bell peppers julienned, while Cyrille has caviar wrapped in sablefish. Only on IC, folks. Of course, the sablefish is farm-bred in America, because Caspian sea bass is endangered and it is not the policy of Kitchen Stadium or this recapper to support such practice.

Lots of vegetation is being deep-fried... because Cat Cora's from the South =p Lee has a fondue going on, as he's correcting James' course. The deep-fried items are garnishes for the gazpacho, while Cora is filling her phyllo with some potato concoction. David is cutting veggies for the octopus, meanwhile. "Twenty minutes to go."

Going to the judges for a bit... Aaron has hash browns on the brain. Karine likes cake, and Jeffrey... "If any one of them makes french fries, they win."

A bit of turnabout as Cora's convection oven doesn't work properly, forcing her to borrow Lee's. But with 15 left, can they get anything sorted?

Sous-chef David is working on a potato puree for a dip with yogurt, while Cora is flambeeing her octopus. "Ten minutes to go" and Cora wants plates. Her first, the brittle and ice cream. The challenger... far behind with his sous-chefs. The cake and apples are down on Lee's side. The phyllo dumplings are down. "Now it's time to make it sexy. It tastes good, let's make it look good." Good call. Cyrille sets his sablefish and crepe down. The potato and garlic puree is down. White truffles are thinly sliced with prosciutto on Lee's side, while Cora uses yuzu and edamame. Lee has three of his dishes done, with one on the way. Cora has all five. Now it's a matter of presentation... although Cora is unhappy with the duck. Little time to do something about it. "One minute to go." Lee is almost done here, while Cora is replating the moussaka as the Chairman looms near. Now it's all presentation... "Hey, you guys? We're done!" And with 15 ticks to spare. Opa! And Lee is close behind. Sure you're done, but how will the judges take it? The final countdown to judgment in...

"Five seconds.. Three... two... One... Your time is up." That is Battle Potato!

Judgment (Cora): "I come from a Greek family. I have a love for Asian cuisine. I combined the two, Asian and Greek cuisine." Dishes: Potato Gazpacho, Potato Phyllo with Mushroom Ragout, Potato Skordalia, Potato Moussaka, Purple Peruvian Potato Gelato.

The gazpacho gets high marks, but Jeffrey is skeptical in calling it a potato dish. The phyllo was the dish to beat. The skordalia, or the potato dip thingy I earlier referred, is not overpowering, just like Karine likes it. Jeffrey finds the octopus hard to chew. The moussaka isn't as exciting, and Jeffrey isn't wowed. For the gelato, "A plus for imagination."

Judgment (Lee): "Whatever I cook, there has to be a reason for the food. Today, I interpreted new classics." Dishes: Potato Pancake Stuffed with Smoked Sable, Red Bliss Potato Provencal Salad, Tortilla de Papas; Potato Skins with Fontina, Prosciutto, and White Truffles, Potato Cake with Calvados Caramelized Apples.

"The potato here is out of control," Karine says of the pancake. She also likes the salad, but doesn't think it's as creative. She also thinks the tortilla is very dry as she tastes the egg more. Aaron is "a potato skins guy." The cake as a whole is his best dish.

Looks like both chefs were, at least to Jeffrey, equally lacking. But there has to be one winner. Whose cuisine reigns supreme? The verdict....
Taste 22 21
Plating 14 12
Originality 10 14

... 47-46 in favor of Iron Chef Cat Cora. A stalemate in taste and plating, it was originality where the new Iron Chef notched her first W. But by the razor-thin margin of one, she's hardly the Iron Chef that Kobe was. But every legend has to have a respectable beginning, and this is hers to cherish, as she has proven her title of Iron Chef.

Thank you for joining us this season. Hope to see you for the next. Until then, on behalf of everyone here at Kitchen Stadium, I bid you good eating.

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