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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.

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Web design by Jason Elliott. Logo by Chico Alexander. 

"Choy vs. Cora: Battle Clam" - August 14

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: Sam Choy. Born and raised on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, Choy is now the master of nine restaurants in and around his native island. A master of Hawaiian regional, he prepares a fusion of Hawaiian, Asian, and European cooking. He draws the youngest in age and stature, Iron Chef Cora. And although the Chairman also comes from the 808, don't expect him to play favorites. Prepare for battle...

The Crib Sheet:
CORA
Elizabeth Falkner & Lorilynn Bauer, sous-chefs
VS CHOY
Aurelio Garcia & Aaron Fukuda, sous-chefs
13 years EXPERIENCE 34 years
Greek/Aegean COOKING STYLE Hawaiian Regional
1-1 BATTLE RECORD Challenger

The Theme Ingredient: Clam. Three varieties (quahogs, littlenecks, and steamers), all from the eastern US coast.

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: Choy starts grilling the clams in order to pry them open. Cora starts to rinse the clams. Sous-chef Aurelio starts shucking clams, while Cora starts cutting lemons. Choy starts chopping pineapples and mangoes. Cora loads aromatics into the wok (alongside a few beers) and adds potatoes. Choy starts dealing with bacon. The clams are off the grill and the liquids are being drained.

Semi-educational moment as Alton displays all three types, the hard shelled quahogs & littlenecks, and the soft-shelled steamers. IC's sous-chef is pureeing mint. Choy is frying bacon, adding onion and celery, while his sous-chef is preparing ramekins for... a clam dessert.

And Choy is eating on the job. Good stuff. He believes that food has to be through the eyes, through the hands, and from the heart. Cora says that he is a legend in Hawaii, but she'll do her best as well.

Cora's working some more seaweed (which is later blanched), while Choy is sugaring his fruit. The mint puree is being strained, while the sous-chef is working on a cerviche of sorts.  "Fifteen minutes have elapsed." The IC is adding baby corn and littlenecks for a clam bake. Choy cuts quahogs, while Cora is making a mint foam with clams.

Tonight's Judges:
Culinary writer Ted Allen ("Queer Eye for the Straight Guy")
TV chef/author Martin Yan ("Yan Can Cook")
Culinary consultant Karine Bakhoum

Back to Battle: Choy fills his ramekins with a clam flan? Could be. Fruit getting sliced on the Iron Chef's side. Choy is slicing tomatoes, as Aaron is making simple mint syrup for the flan. IC is making a mix of seeds and apricots & dates. An aromatic sauce is in the works on the challenger's side, while the IC likes skewering things. Aurelio is making some clam ravioli, while Aaron is pureeing peppers. Cora is sauteeing clams and veggies and... uh oh... her ice cream maker is on. "Anybody for clam ice cream?"

Meanwhile, Aaron is preparing potatoes and clams into risotto, and you remember the ravioli from earlier? Wontons. "Thirty minutes have elapsed."

IC Cora is grating cheese onto pureed clams for a take on clams casino. Choy is doing the same thing, albeit without the cheese. Both sides with the clams on the half-shell.

Choy is adding eggs and bread crumbs for a clam cake, while the ice cream machine is emptied on Cora's side. It's good. "It's a frozen bloody Mary!" Meanwhile, spinach, cream, and coconut milk equals a Hawaiian luau sauce. The Iron Chef is removing clams from her wok.

And Choy is starting his plating with clams and Hawaiian pepper juice, while Cora is seasoning her corn with herbs and lemon juice. Elizabeth is working on an avocado puree for the tomato-clam juice sorbet. Cora is plating her clambake. "A little Szechuan butter tossed in." The challenger chops rice noodles or "yaki soba". Croutons are out on the IC's side. Very hot. Ouch. And Karine is still scared of dessert.

Choy is sauteeing clams with ginger, cilantro, and juice. "Fifteen minutes to go."

Cora is plating her first two dishes. Elizabeth working on pineapple, onion, and ginger, while Cora is shaving black truffles on her clams casino. Choy works on his cakes, while sweet potato risotto is almost done. Little time remains. Choy is spooning luau sauce into a bowl with his wonton. The clamcake goes into the risotto. With ten minutes left, he's as cool as a... well, you know. The Iron Chef is moving frantically, while Choy is plating dish #4. The clam flan is out of the oven and into the blast chiller. Cora's making a bloody Mary to go with her sorbet, while her sous-chefs are steaming clams for... well, something. "Five minutes to go." Choy is just waiting for his flan to finish.

The Iron Chef is plating her sorbet now on top of the avocado mix and topping off with a skewer. Fritters are also coming out of the IC's side. Sam Choy is cleaning up while he's waiting for his flan to be done. He's going very simple in his approach and at three minutes, he's done.

The Iron Chef is almost finished plating, as is the challenger, and we're nothing left to do except ... hold on, some mascarpone cheese is added at the last second on the Iron Chef's side as an appetizer, and that's where the mint foam comes in.

Overstepping his bound at Kitchen Stadium, Alton asks for one more dish from the challenger... and he's just kidding. Unfortunately the Iron Chef's foam is a bust at 10 seconds. Will it hold for judging?! "Three! Two! One! Time's up." And now to judge.  

Judgment (Cora): "Retro, retro, retro. We're actually going back in time and bringing back some favorites." Dishes: Clammy Mary, Black Tie Clams Casino, Vongole, Shaking Like Elvis! Clambake, Trio of Clam Cocktails.

Judgment (Choy): "A little bit of Hawaii. Just a blend of island favors." Dishes: Hawaiian Chili Pepper Shooter with Lomi Lomi Tomato, Fried Clam Wonton with Luau Cream Sauce, Pesto Clams, Clam Cakes with Sweet Potato Risotto, Clam Flan.

The judges like the clammy Mary and the clambake on Cora's side, while the contrasts created by Choy in the shooters, the wonton, and the clam cakes (with bell pepper in honor of the original Chairman). This looks like it could go either way, but for the Iron Chef, a must-win not only for herself, but for the ICs as a whole, who, counting the tie, dropped the last two matches. Whose cuisine reigns supreme? The verdict...
 
  CHALLENGER IRON CHEF
Taste 23 25.5
Plating 10.5 12.75
Originality 12.25 13.25

... 51.5-47.5 in favor of Iron Chef Cat Cora. Choy's simple approach could not complete with a juggernaut of flavor and texture. The Iron Chefs have been vindicated for now, but with every match comes a new challenge for the Chairman's army to overcome. Until next time... we bid you good eating.

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