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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. 

"Symon vs. Morimoto: Battle Asparagus" - October 2

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: Mike Symon, basically what you get when you mix a chef with "American Chopper." Born, raised, and running his empire (one restaurant: Lola) from Cleveland, he describes his cuisine as progressive regional. Food & Wine Magazine calls him one of the ten best in America. Today, he draws the OG of the ICs, Masaharu Morimoto.  Gentlemen... prepare for battle.

The Crib Sheet:
Ariki Omae & Makoto Okuwa, sous-chefs
Matt Harlan & Frank Rogers, sous-chefs
22 years EXPERIENCE 23 years
Neo-Japanese COOKING STYLE American/Mediterranean
67-10-1 BATTLE RECORD Challenger

The Theme Ingredient: Asparagus, green and white. An edge to the Iron Chef, having fought in Battle Asparagus on the original "Iron Chef".

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: Morimoto starts by cutting... tongue. Symon has rice and pancetta. The shirts on the challenger's side say "Live to Cook". With a skull-and-crossknives. Where can I get one of those? Morimoto's timer is out (he's the only chef, Iron or otherwise, with one) with milk, heavy cream, and butter. The challenger has ramps, morelles, and lamb. He's also blending asparagus for a puree while sous-chef Frank is slicing asparagus. Morimoto is working with tongue, slicing into... yes, one of the dishes he made in Japan, tongue skewered with asparagus. It goes into the pressure cooker. Symon is separating eggs. Custard? Maybe. White asparagus going into stock on the challenger, fish broth on the IC. Makoto is buttering custard cups. That and the cream suggests custard, yes. Challenger works cinnamon & sugar.

Meanwhile, Morimoto is shaving asparagus. "White cooks fast, but green has more of a spring-like flavor." The challenger is working dough with puree and ricotta. The IC is smoking asparagus with one apple chip.  Meanwhile, the challenger is cooking asparagus in a simple syrup. And... a bottle of Ouzo and grape leaves? "Gracious! He's been out with Cat Cora!" Sure he has, Alton.  He moves his asparagus and OJ mix onto the stove, while Morimoto is blending tomatoes. Twenty minutes into the battle, and it's time to meet...

Tonight's Judges:
Foodie/author Ted Allen ("Queer Eye for the Straight Guy")
Author/critic Jeffrey Steingarten ("It Must Have Been Something I Ate")
Culinary consultant Karine Bakhoum (KB Network News)

Back to Battle: Omae is de-veining prawns without removing the shells. Morimoto has some Kobe beef. Jeffrey wonders if it came from Texas. Probably. Rice with asparagus juice, crab meat, and lemon are in the mix for Symon. It's a sticky rice and... "How'd he make 25 minutes for sticky rice?" I don't know, Morimoto. He's got pureed asparagus with sushi rice, while sous-chef Makoto has an asparagus custard. The IC has star anise with sudachi zest for pressurizing. Frank has shortening, flour, and egg yolk for... well, something.

And Makoto is turning on the ice cream maker! The candied asparagus on the challenger's side is checked... The smoked tips on Morimoto's side are out, while Morimoto, in a deviation from his cola antics, has poured a soda, lemon-lime based, brand name rhymes with "bright" into a rice cooker. Checking Morimoto's timer... 30 minutes.

Symon has his slicer out, while Frank adds pine nuts & orange zest with the dough for what he calls "an asparagus donut".

Challenger has a rack of lamb with rosemary, while the candied asparagus is out. "Twenty minutes to go." Morimoto is chopping the Kobe beef, while Makoto is working on tuna. Symon has kalamata olives. The asparagus ice cream is out... "Just think mint!" That's why Kevin gets paid the big bucks for doing what he does...

The pancetta is out on the challenger's side, while Omae has a white asparagus mousse. Symon is making sushi maki with his rice and grape leaves. The Iron Chef is working on flan with egg yolks, adding chopped greens & Kobe beef, while Symon is making asparagus tempura and asparagus churros. Morimoto is cooking meat bricks on low heat. The IC side is getting its act together as we have 15 on the clock. They have chocolate melting.

Symon is plating his Greek-inspired sushi. "Ten minutes to go." Morimoto is rolling maki with prosciutto. The asparagus flans are chilling. This one is going to be close. We have cooking and plating at the same time. Sushi, panko, eggs, fryer, tempura! The challenger is working on churros. The Iron Chef still needs to plate. The ricotta dumplings are down into a salad on the challenger's side.

Iron Chef Morimoto is blast-chilling asparagus that was cooked with plum wine in the pressure cooker, while Makoto is spooning white asparagus mousse onto caviar, while Omae is plating the flan with the Kobe beef & asparagus. Remember the plum wine asparagus? Morimoto is coating it in chocolate. Meanwhile, Morimoto is plating his fried roll onto foamed dashi broth. The pancetta dish and the lamb are down on Symon's side, and Morimoto's working on the skewer and the ice cream.

And we have the blowtorch out! "Three minutes to go." And Morimoto is panicking. The mousse, the salad, the tongue, the flan, and... the dessert is done. The Ouzo is flamed out and we're at less than a minute. The five plates are almost done here, but... Morimoto has six dishes out! And all this time we thought he was behind. Symon is spooning out the contents of a blender at the last second. "Five seconds... Three... Two.. One..." Put it down, walk away, Battle Asparagus is done!

Judgment (Symon): "Clean, simple, flavors that go really nice with asparagus." Dishes: Lemon and Egg Soup with White Asparagus Puree, Greek Asparagus Sushi, Asparagus Dumplings with Pistachio Sauce, Lavender Lamb with Phyllo and Asparagus, Asparagus Churros with Chocolate Sauce

Judgment (Morimoto): "Both the green and white asparagus were very nice. In some of my dishes, you'll taste asparagus. Others, just a hint." Dishes: Asparagus Mousse with Caviar, Fresh Asparagus Pasta; Smoked Asparagus, Flan & Kobe Beef Tartar; Soup with Beef Tongue & Asparagus, Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus Sushi, Asparagus Ice Cream with Chocolate Asparagus.

You can't taste asparagus in any of the creative dishes, as the judges give high marks to both chefs. But who'll get speared with the sour taste of defeat? Whose cuisine reigns supreme? The verdict...

Taste 21 26
Plating 11 13
Originality 12 14.5

... 53.5-44 in favor of Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. With superior flavors and plating and a near perfect originality factor, Morimoto, to quote my brother, kicked his ass, and then raped it! Until next time, I big you good eating.

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