"Batali vs. Chalermkittichai:
Battle Lentil" - January 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
Ian Chalermkittichai, who as a child sold food from a
push-cart in Bangkok. These days, his beat is Soho,
where he heads the kitchen at Kittichai. Today, he
challenges Iron Chef Mario Batali.
Prepare for battle...
The Crib Sheet:
Mark Ladner & Anne Burrell, sous-chefs
Anne Pavita Sae-Chao & Peter Pitakwong, sous-chefs
10-4, won last battle
with Rick Tramonto & Gale Gand
The Theme Ingredient:
Green, Egyptian, red, pink, yellow, and black
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 that
best articulates the theme ingredient through their dishes
clock is set at 60 minutes, which will start when the
Chairman, with full heart and empty stomach, utters the words of
his dear uncle.... "Allez cuisine!"
Both chefs have a duck and
an Anne today. The Iron Chef also has some caviar
lentils, which are black and slimy once cooked.
Jeopardy!-prep moment: Lentils (lens culinaris)
have been cultivated as early as 6000 BC. They have a
wide range of cooking times, mainly due to its lens-like
Culinary journalist Karine Bakhoum (KB Network News)
Comedian/Host Joel McHale ("The Soup")
Author Monisha Bharadwaj ("Indian in 6")
Halfway into the battle and
the challengers are way too secretive to discern what is
being prepared. Meanwhile Peter is prepping some hamachi
to go into a pan. Mark meanwhile is splitting
langoustines and for those of you who are playing the
ICA drinking game, Chef Ian just turned on the ice cream
Oh, and the Iron Chef is
making pasta made of lentils. Nice.
In the VIP box today, the
most VIP of all VIPs... Alton's mom.
Ice cream coming out!
Meanwhile the IC is making a romesco sauce.
The Iron Chef showing a rare
moment of complete duress as he says something to his
sous-chef Mark that for all intents and purposes you
shouldn't really say on TV. The home team is WAY behind
with three minutes left to go. He's prepping his
cotechini tower while Mark is giving his lentil
fettuccine a toss with yellow and brown lentils. Chef
Ian's side... all looking confused. Meanwhile, we have
sous-vide duck, soup, and a thrown-out dumpling number.
Sixty seconds left. Batali
is doing some final prep on his five. Ian is topping his
ice cream with some coconut cream sauce.
And Mark needs parsley. It's
strictly a garnish and... three... two... one...
"Time's up." Battle Lentil is over! Put it down... Walk
We find out from the
challenger that the coconut cups were to be served with
the ice cream, but they were stuck. Batali notes that it
would be nice if we just tied.
Judgment (Chalermkittichai): "We have five
courses. We used each lentil in a different way,
including a Thai salad from the northeast. Also moved
down to south, the use of Thai spice. That was the
concept for challenging today."
Dishes: Limestone Lentil Tartlet with Hamachi, Spicy &
Sour Soup with Lentil Crusted Scallops, Thai Beef &
Lentil Salad, Duck with Lentil Turmeric Rice, Lentil Ice
Judgment (Batali): "Lentils are the food of the
people. We looked to capture some peasant dishes and
bring them up in a different way, using lentils as the
entire main ingredient." Dishes: Scampi alla
Plancha with Red Lentil Vinaigrette, Cuttlefish "In
Zimino" with Green Lentils, Yellow Lentil Fettuccine
Alfredo, Yellow Lentil Puree with Duck Confit and
Cabbage, Cotechino and Lentil Tower with Fried Lentil
Ian opens up with a winner no matter what Joel says. But
soon the lentils become much of an afterthought. he goes
back to featuring the Lentil front and center, though.
Starch-upon-starch doesn't do much for Karine, though.
The Iron Chef has no problem showing off the diversity
of the lentil, although Monisha and Joel all want their
lentil pasta a mite smoother. But whose cuisine reigns
supreme? The verdict...
... 53-48 in favor of
Iron Chef Mario Batali. The challenger had the edge in
plating, but the flavors of the food of the people and
the originality in which they were prepared gave the
Iron Chef his margin of victory here in Kitchen Stadium.
Until next time, we bid you