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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, 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
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. 

"Des Jardins vs. Batali: Battle Shrimp" - August 7

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: Traci Des Jardins, growing up in a diverse family, and working in the kitchens of Paris and New York before opening three restaurants - Fajita, Acme Chophouse, and Jardinier - in San Francisco. Proving that he is indeed the Chen Kenichi of the series, Iron Chef Batali will take on the challenge. Prepare for battle...

The Crib Sheet:
BATALI
Mark Ladner & Anne Burrell, sous-chefs
VS DES JARDINS
Robbie Lewis & Peter Armellino, sous-chefs
20 years EXPERIENCE 22 years
Italian COOKING STYLE French Californian
5-2 BATTLE RECORD Challenger

The Theme Ingredient: Shrimp... lots and lots of shrimp

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.

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

The Battle: Another blank slate this week, as Des Jardins is preparing shrimp for a handoff to sous-chef Robbie. Sous-chef Anne is making a pasta dough, it looks like. Batali is making jumbo shrimp, while Des Jardins is breaking down aromatics onions and fennels, also some galangal. Batali has Tiber, habanero, jalapeno, and serrano chiles with dyed horseradish.

Meanwhile, Peter & Robbie are still shelling shrimp. Shells can be made into a stock, but will the challenger do that? Batali is making peas, while Anne is slicing black radishes. Mark is attacking five or six shrimp with onions, ginger, and lemongrass. Des Jardins is slicing chorizos. "There is the fear of the unknown going into this battle. This is the unknown." Anne has green mango and daikon being sliced. Des Jardins is simmering aromatics for broths (fennel, onion, & chorizo and galangal, coconut milk, & lemon grass). Mark with the mezzaluna making little bitty pretty chunks, but for what? "Fifteen minutes have elapsed." Make that 23, as Batali has shrimp stock, while the challenger has broths of their own.

Tonight's Judges:
TV host Soledad O'Brien ("American Morning")
Culinary critic/writer Jeffrey Steingarten ("The Man Who Ate Everything")
Author Victoria Abbott Riccardi ("Untangling My Chopsticks: A Culinary Sojourn in Kyoto")

Back to Battle: Flavor bases are being set in on the challenger's side, but Batali is concerned with some oil on the food processor. Can we see some filled items? Meanwhile, the challenger snuck chicken into the deep fryer, while shrimp goes into one of her stocks. And we're waiting for a brulee! With shrimp? Why not? They have a cream mixture for said purposes.

IC's working on a remoulade, while he adds chopped mint to the wasabe. The brulees are in the challenger's oven. Batali is thinking Vietnamese cooking for some reason, while Anne is making the pasta flatter. Des Jardins has a heck of a mushroom on her side, while Batali has some paper going on. The brulee has begun on the slow oven of the challenger. Meanwhile jalapeno, coriander, and pumpkin seeds are being pan fried with the challenger.

And did someone say shrimp spring roll?

Maitake mushrooms being sauteed on the challenger's side, while Batali confirms a pasta raviolo. Meanwhile, we get a semi-educational moment. Today's shrimps are of the following varieties: tiger from Indonesia, Mayan from Guatemala, and adult brown. Here's a hint: if you're buying shrimp, buy from the pound count. U12s mean that fewer than 12 make up a pound.

Artichokes are being deep-fried, while Robbie is working on a Mexicali salad. Batali is getting antsy while his shrimp are being poached. But apparently he's not too antsy to lend his challenger some cilantro. "Buenos tacos!" Very gentlemanly, this man is. The spring rolls are getting the roll up, while the uni on the challenger's side are being chemically altered with vinegar and sugar. Coconut broth is going on a deconstructed thom ka gai. Meanwhile Peter is laying and pounding shrimp. Also, Peter takes his chicken out of the fryer, while Des Jardins is grilling her shrimp. "Fifteen minutes to go."

With less than 10 to go, Batali is plating his spring roll. Des Jardins is prepping her salad. Batarga again? On Batali's side, yes, along with crushed peanuts. The carpaccio shrimp is first on Des Jardins side. Raw. Indian rice is coating another shrimp dish on the challenger's side. Meanwhile, the IC is deepfrying chickpeas. The remoulade is plates, while the raviolo is cooking with fried peas.

Robbie is frying clams with olive oil. Ring molds are out as Des Jardins is making a salad. "Three minutes to go." Batali's apple remoulade is done with the creme fraiche. The challenger's brulees are out, but they have to be finished. Someone has called for a torch, which means that they'll be done soon. "One minute to go." The rice-covered shrimp is one. That's her fourth. Only the brulee left. Batali has his raviolo down. Lardo shrimp is also done. That's Batali's fifth. Five done on each side. That's how you play the game.

"Five seconds... three... two.. one... Time's up!" The cooking's done, Battle Shrimp is over! Now... judgment day.

Judgment (Des Jardins): "We did shrimp around the world. We're going to start with Provencal, France, then to Mexico, then to Thailand, then to Spain, and then back to France." Dishes: Shrimp Carpaccio a la Nicoise, Grilled Shrimp with Grapefruit, Deconstructed Thom Ka Gai, Shrimp Paella, Shrimp Brulee.

Judgment (Batali): "One of my problems is when they're big, they tend to be tough. We cooked them a little under, then we cut them into smaller pieces. So that was our theme, was avoiding that pratfall." Dishes: Summer Rolls with Shrimp, Shrimp Raviolo with Onion-Pea Butter, Grilled Shrimp Wrapped with Lardo, Steamed Shrimp with Fried Beans, Parfait of Shrimp Remoulade.

Jeffrey hates the parfait. This could be trouble. Shrimp all over the world on both sides, but in the battle of California French and Italian, whose cuisine will reign supreme? The verdict...
 
  CHALLENGER IRON CHEF
Taste 24 21
Plating 12 9
Originality 11 11

... 47-41 in favor of challenger Traci Des Jardins. Both were creative in their approach, but other than that, Des Jardins SWEPT. Of course, a bubonic parfait didn't help.

If you count the tie from last time, it would seem that the Iron Chefs, with the expectation to win, are dropping left and right. Can the next one of the Chairman's army possibly restore honor to the Gourmet Academy? Until next time... we bid you good eating.

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