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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. 

"Douglas vs. Morimoto: Battle Salmon" - November 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.

The Challenger: Tom Douglas, a James Beard Award-winning author of "Seattle Kitchen". He owns four of Seattle's top restaurants including the Palace Kitchen. Today, he draws Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, fresh off of a win in Battle Asparagus. Different sides of the Pacific, and different levels of training. Morimoto was formally trained in his hometown of Hiroshima, while Douglas was... not trained at all. Gentlemen, prepare for battle...

The Crib Sheet:
Ariki Omae & Makoto Okuwa, sous-chefs
Mark Fuller & Eric Tanaka, sous-chefs
22 years EXPERIENCE 25 years
Neo-Japanese COOKING STYLE Northwest Pan Pacific
68-10-1 BATTLE RECORD Challenger

The Theme Ingredient: wild king salmon, predispatched, three for each 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 doing what he does best to salmon... filleting it. Interesting fact about Morimoto: he never copies himself. Every dish in Kitchen Stadium is one of a kind, so those expecting a reprise of "Battle Unisex Salmon" from 1998? Forget about it. Meanwhile, the challenger does some filleting of his own, saving the collars for later. Going inside the players' heads for a moment...

Douglas: "If we get fish for the secret ingredient, I think Morimoto would have the edge because of his... the Japanese culture is all about fish. Hopefully my edge is letting the natural flavor out and not doing too much to it."

Mark is working with young coconuts, while Eric is working on a cure for the salmon, salt and brown sugar. (C-Note: a cure is nothing more than a salt/sugar mix). Makoto is slicing red beets for a juice, while Morimoto is deboning his fish. Douglas is stewing his heads, while star anise is being sauteed. Salmon skin is also being spiced up. Morimoto fillets his fillet further, while the challenger is milking coconuts, and salting/peppering a side of salmon for the convection oven. And it looks like we're smoking with pearwood. Pressure cookers are out and potatoes are in on the IC's side. Morimoto's looking to make some sashimi, while Douglas is making a stock with lemon grass. Meanwhile, Morimoto is literally shooting up his salmon with some truffle juice, and Makoto is smoldering woodchips for the seasoned fillets. Dueling smokers! Eric has fava beans and a yogurt mix. Not together. Douglas has cured his salmon, now he's sending smoke signals to Alton. This before the actual smoking. Omae, meanwhile, is blanching and pureeing mint. "Fifteen minutes to go." Time to meet...

Tonight's Judges:
Culinary reviewer for Katie Lee Joel ("Top Chef")
Author Victoria Abbott Riccardi ("Untangling My Chopsticks: A Culinary Sojourn in Kyoto")
Culinary journalist Akiko Katayama (Food Arts Magazine Japan)

Back to Battle: Omae is peeling potatoes, while working with carrots, asparagus, and maitake mushrooms. Douglas is putting his quick cure salmon to smoke and on the IC side... Everyone say it with me now... ICE CREAM MAKER! In it, the beet juice with gelatin and simple syrup. So we have a beet sorbet in the offing, while the challenger is making salmon spine. The IC has some crystallized ginger, star anise, peppercorns, and cassia (cinnamon). The sashimi slices were dipped into brandy and buried in this for curing. Now to the slab bacon while salt, pepper, heavy cream, and salmon get grounded...

The collars on Douglas' side are currently under the salamander, and the spines are coming out of the fryer. Morimoto is making spine and bacon into soup on his side. The red beet sorbet is starting to leak. A little wipedown... we're okay. Douglas is strikingly calm while Morimoto's side is as tight as ever... Douglas is squeezing limes as... "Thirty minutes have elapsed." And we have beet sorbet! And mashed potatoes! Not together.

Morimoto has some limes of his own (sudachi to be exact) with some Japanese tomatoes. Douglas has blood oranges and fava beans to work with, all with 23 and change left. Morimoto's potato mixture was mixed with squid ink, and the results are... you guessed it, a black potato ball. Sounds like a roll or a gnocchi. Meanwhile, Douglas' team is seasoning salmon belly to be seared later. Mark is pureeing the fava beans. Douglas has fish sauce for nuoc cham.  Makoto is wrapping his salmon puree into blanched cabbage. Morimoto is slicing his smoked salmon, while Douglas takes out his spine, reconstructing his fish. Seriously. The potatoes on teh IC side are being rolled into gnocchi. The challenger is making poached eggs. The salmon skin is done, while the collars are still cooking. Will they go into the "Franken-fish?"

Morimoto is trying to crisp up his salmon skin, while Omae is making crenelles out of salmon. Mark is working on aromatics as 15 ticks remain. Omae's crenelles are going into the stew on Morimoto's side. Morimoto continues to ladle his salmon injection. Ten to go, as spinach and rice come out of the IC kitchen, while the smoked salmon are being cooked into a consommé. The collars on the challenger's side are out and he's begun to plate his "Franken-salmon." Back to the ladle, as Morimoto calls it his version of a Peking duck. While Douglas slices, Makoto is foaming broth and yuzu juice. Morimoto's done with his Peking salmon, and he's very happy about it. The Iron Sous-Chefs are plating from the center station. Very different.

Douglas is plating the poached egg and fava puree. The collar is down, and both teams are having timing concerns. Douglas has plated his cured salmon. Morimoto has ladled his soup on top of rice. Douglas plated his coconut bowl dish. Omae is now working on the beet sorbet. Douglas is done with his five dishes. Morimoto still has the beet canale to finish. The sorbet is paired with the brandied salmon. Now it's all about finishing up the plating. Both chefs are on track. The challenger is still cooking salmon, however. Cutting it close, though. We're under a minute, and the dishes are starting to come together... six on the challenger's side. Morimoto has five.

"Five seconds... Three... Two... One..." Put it down, walk away, Battle Salmon is history. And Morimoto is dog tired.

Now to judge...

Judgment (Douglas): "I come from the land of salmon. Everything about salmon is you want to celebrate the beauty. My job is to get out of the way of the fish, let the fish shine." Dishes: Butter-poached Salmon with Sea Salt, Quick-cured Salmon with Shiso Yogurt, Chardonnay Marinated Salmon Collar with Ginger, Toasted Rice Salmon in Young Coconut Curried Broth, Smoked Salmon with Poached Egg and Favas, Whole Salmon and Lettuce Cups

Judgment (Morimoto): "This is very fresh salmon, and it's high-quality, so I decided to make salmon in very different ways to showcase its various textures." Dishes: Smoked Salmon with Salmon Gnocchi, Truffle-Infused Salmon Salad, Salmon Soup Pot, Salmon Braised in Pressure Cooker, Sugar-cured Salmon with Beet Sorbet.

Douglas' approach was mad-scientist gone genteel in approach and creativity, while the Iron Chef is very pristine and clean, as always. And Katie? She gets the award for BDJ. Tetsujin fans know what I mean (for those who don't.... "bimbo du jour"). But one question remains... Whose cuisine reigns supreme? The verdict...
Taste 23 20
Plating 12 12
Originality 13 13

... 48-45 in favor of Challenger Tom Douglas. The judges were tied on plating and originality. Today, taste told the tale, and while both chefs are certainly on the high mark, Tom Douglas was higher. Let's look further into that category...
Lee-Joel 10 5
Riccardi 8 8
Katayama 5 7

... Clearly, Katie was a fan of Douglas' dishes more so than those of Morimoto. Well, just goes to show you that you can't please all of the people all of the time. But there are no losers in the Kitchen Stadium... because losers don't even get through the front door. Until next time, I bid you good eating.

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