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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
Origin: Food Network Studios, New York City
Packager: Triage Entertainment and Fuji TV for 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. 

"English vs. Batali: Battle Pizza Dough" - July 10

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: Chef, writer, and restauranteur Todd English, who began his cooking career at age 15 and rose to the ranks of head chef and owner of no less than 17 restaurants, his most notable being, of course, where he hangs his hat, Olives New York. He was also one of the superchefs cast on UPN's horrific adaptation of the "Iron Chef" series (again, out of continuity) and, to wit, is the only chef on People's 50 Most Beautiful People of 2001. The Chairman sets him against Iron Chef Batali, a wily, creative, adventurous sort, who is just getting off of his second loss in Kitchen Stadium America. Gentlemen... prepare for battle

The Crib Sheet:
Mark Ladner & Anne Burrell, sous-chefs
Michael Crain & Victor LaPlaca, sous-chefs
20 years EXPERIENCE 20 years
Italian COOKING STYLE Mediterranean
4-2 BATTLE RECORD Challenger

The Theme Ingredient: Pizza dough. Straight-forward, but not.

The Rules: Still the same. 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.

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

The Battle: First words out of Batali's mouth: "Nice!" And hey, is that a royal box? Nice! This is the first time in Iron Chef history that a procedure (or in and of itself, a recipe) is the theme ingredient. Batali begins by punching the dough. Because you have to let the air out first. Sous-chef Anne looks like she's making a straight-forward pizza. Will English do the same? We'll see. Sous-chef Mark is opening a can of whup-ass...err, anchovies.

Over on the challenger's side, English rolling out dough like pasta, while sous-chef Michael is working vanilla beans and Victor is salting water for lobster. Batali is working onions and celery, while English is flattening his dough some more. His thoughts? "It's an amazing challenge, because there's so much to think about and there's a lot to do, and you're preparing everything from scratch. There's no shortcuts."

On the challenger's side, we have lobsters, half and half, morelles, garlic, and Batali is eating saffron, jar and all... No, he's just out of hands. Victor also has lamb sausages, while Batali is working aromatics. Mark is working on seppia, while Mike purees vanilla and walnuts. We're thinking ice cream. Ice Cream Pizza?

Anne is pan-frying pizza dough... but it was too thick. Batali seems fine with that. Ground veal, ricotta, bread crumbs, and eggs are mixed. Meatballs? Ingredients are coming together early on both sides. And ramps on the Batali side? "I love ramps." On the challenger's side, half and half, mint, and frozen peas in the saucier with sautéed shallots. Mike is quartering figs.

"Fifteen minutes have elapsed." You know what that means. Time to meet...

Tonight's Judges:
Restauranteur Donatella Arpaia
Culinary critic/writer and America's answer to Kishi-san (the Simon Cowell of the original Iron Chef) Jeffrey Steingarten ("It Must've Been Something I Ate")
Writer Ed Levine ("Pizza: A Slice of Heaven")

Back to Battle: On the counter, pork butt. Before the break, Mark flipped a pan over downside up on the stove. He's using the back of that pan to cook a cuttlefish. Basically making himself a panini grill. On the challenger, the pork butt is going to the pan. Corn is also being prepared.

Both sides are working on lamb chops now. Challenger has ice cream machine activated, while figs come out of the oven. English's lamb is coated with zatar, while Batali's side is just searing lamb chops. Batali was working the ramps for his spring vegetable soup and gnocchi fritto.

The original dough that Anne was working on is out, cubed, and processed into... well, bread crumbs. Challengers have soft-shell crab out... and alive. More dough going into the pasta machine as we hear Ms. Disembodied Voice say.... "Thirty minutes have elapsed." And brown sugar dough" is ready. Sounds like breadsticks. Yummy. The Chairman looks pleased. Oh, and so does that Chairman in the expensive suit.

Batali is working now on squid ink and lemon juice. Mark rolled dough for mini-pizzas, while the peas & mint on English's side are pureed. What that means right now... absolutely nothing. It's ice cream time. The consistency, though, Alton says... is disturbing. Me, I just think it's way too soft to be of any use as an ice cream. Better hope that KSA has a blast chiller somewhere...

Now for your semi-educational moment. Take a piece of good bubble gum. Chew it up real nice, and blow. Stop it up once you get a good size. That is what a good pizza dough should be like. A good pizza dough should be plastic and elastic. Also, a good block of caked yeast insures maximum growth for minimum time. Not too often you see a living organism in brick form, isn't it? "One cousin away from this, and you're making beer." And if Alton looks scared, it's because there're only... "Twenty minutes to go."

Anne is slicing asparagus, Mark is deep-frying meatballs, and Batali is spreading the onion/anchovies onto the dough. They're baking a tart. Over on English's side... Balloons. Mozzarella balloons. Meanwhile, Anne is making testaroli, which is pizza dough flattened, fried, sliced, boiled, and served as pasta. This is for the veal. English is working flattened dough with the mint purees and more morelles. Anne is zesting lemons, while Mark is still doing something with cuttlefish. The lobster is going onto English's mint puree, while figs is working with gorgonzola. To go with the brown sugar dough? Yes! Mark is wrapping lamb in ramp in dough to fry. Batali is making his pasta, while Anne is arranging chives.

Quote of the night goes to Ed: "How could you not fall in love with lambchops fried with dough around it?" Donatella agrees. Batali is plating his spring vegetable soup with the cuttlefish on top. And now he's plaing the testaroli. And meatballs. "Five minutes to go."

And the challenger's crabs are going to the friolator. Will they go with the mozzie balloons? And elsewhere, lamb sausage ravioli. His pizza dough mint boats are still baking at three and counting. At Batali's counter... three platings. And he's lost his pesto. Wait, there it is. He's plating dish #4. English is hurrying his boats onto plates, as well as the balloons. "One minute to go." Batali is plating his final dish, while English is almost finished as well. "Thirty seconds to go." Last-minute saucing and garnishing, and we're at the final countdown!

"Five seconds. Three... Two... One... Time's up." Flare from the Iron Chef and Battle Pizza Dough is history.

Judgment (English): "I wanted to show a global interpretation of what you could do with pizza." Dishes: Mozzarella "Balloon" Tomato Salad, Lobster Falukka Tart, Soft-shelled Crab Pizza Taco; Lamb, Artichoke Salad, and Chickpeas on Flat Bread; Walnut Ice Cream with Fried Roasted Figs.

Jeffrey would pay for the salad, a compliment. Donatella calls the balloon the surprise. Ed likes the lobster with the mint, but it's tough. Jeffrey calls the second dish "shoe leather". Ed's not so sure with the gorgonzola two ways. Donatella agrees, but likes the brown sugar.

Judgment (Batali): "My approach was to use (the pizza dough) as many ways as possible, as far from the most obvious." Dishes: Gnocco Fritto, Spring Garlic Soup with Cuttlefish and Squid Ink, Testaroli with Veal Polpettine and Goat Cheese, Pissaladiere with Anchovy-scallion Salad, Stuffed Baby Lamb Chop

Ed likens the gnocco fritto to a wonton, calling it great. Jeffrey would pay for it. That's two tonight. Jeffrey likens the soup to gazpacho, trying, but not being able to say something bad about it. Donatella on the testaroli: "Boy this has a kick to it." She thinks the pissaladiere is delicious. Jeffrey agrees, but thinks that it's greasy. Ed: "Why can't the lamb be less done?" He's just not that into it.

Ed's just hard to please, isn't he? Well, he, and Jeffrey, and Donatella, have a tasty decision to make. Whose cuisine reigns supreme this day? The verdict...

Taste 22 24
Plating 12 9
Originality 11 14

... 47-45 in favor of Iron Chef Mario Batali. Batali's originality countered English's plating, but the overall edge in tasting went to the Iron Chefs' column. The honor of the Gourmet Academy is upheld once again, as the four Iron Chefs and their trusty Chairman await their next challenge. Until then, on behalf of everyone here at Kitchen Stadium, I bid you good eating.

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