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"Morimoto vs. Donna: Rematch Battle Squid" - May 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: Roberto Donna of Torino, Italy. He came to America with a dream of becoming a restauranteur, and today, his restaurant, Galileo in Washington, DC, is among the 20 greatest in the world by the President of Italy. The last time he was in KSA, he was handed a bad loss to Iron Chef Morimoto. Today, he seeks vindication from the same Tetsujin.

The Crib Sheet:
MORIMOTO
Ariki Omae & Makoto Okuwa, sous-chefs
VS DONNA
Claudio Sandri & Amy Brandwein, sous-chefs
22 years EXPERIENCE 26 years
Neo-Japanese COOKING STYLE Northern Italian
68-11-1, won last battle against Mike Symon BATTLE RECORD 0-1

The Theme Ingredient: winter squid, different sizes.

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: Claudio begins by cleaning out the squid, as does Morimoto. Meanwhile, Omae is poaching eggs... or at least it looks like it. The challenger has a torchio out to extrude pasta.

Donna: "Last time I came, I was not prepared. Today, I'm hoping to give him a hard time." He's putting together a stock for later usage. Meanwhile, Morimoto is making some rice and breaking down his own squid. The IC team blanch some greens while Donna is working some pasta dough, while Amy is working aromatics into a saucier. Makoto is making some bowl out of an orange. Donna is cleaning his squid tubes. Morimoto is marinating some squid pieces in soy sauce for later. Donna is dicing calamari for later as well. Makoto is grinding some wasabe, while Omae is chopping lotus root. The challenger is making some polenta and... "Fifteen minutes have elapsed."

Tonight's Judges:
Food critic/author Melissa Clark ("Chef Interrupted")
Oprah's personal chef/author Art Smith ("Back to the Table")
Culinary journalist Akiko Katayama (Food Arts Magazine - Japan)

Back to Battle: Morimoto is chopping up squid, while Omae is peeling veggies, while Donna is peeling his potato. And we have four blenders in Kitchen Stadium, two on each side. Meanwhile, the corn syrup/egg/squid mix on the IC side is going into a whipped cream dispenser.. Challenger is cooking pancetta and sausage. We have an iced mold with squid meringue. Lotus root is being pureed, while the challenger is mixing what he calls a Morimoto recipe.

In the IC's orange bowls... a miso-yuzu mixture. The meringue is going into the blast chiller. Next, squid pasta and squid tempura on the challenger's side. The orange bowls now get the blanched greens. Makoto is making some XO sauce now with squid and scallions. "Thirty minutes have elapsed."

Some squid has been taken out of some soy sauce over the break, while the challengers' bagna cauda sauce is done. Next up, squid ink pasta on the IC side. A salad on the challenger's side. Perhaps some tempura squid on the IC side, while the challenger has plated his first dish with 24 left to go.

Omae is done kneading black pasta, while the rice is also done with the black rice. Black truffle and squid on the IC side is also being prepped, while Makoto is stuffing squid with the black rice. Morimoto is also making some sushi with squid, while the challenger is stuffing some squid as well. Morimoto is plating that roll of his. Both sides now have a  bagna cauda mix, the tempura going with it on the IC side.

Meanwhile, the challenger is piping squid-garlic soup onto a plate. Makoto is rolling black rice into nori. Donna is mixing Israeli couscous for risotto. Morimoto is chopping soba noodles, while Amy is skewering some squid. Donna is making spaghetti from his torchio.

"Fifteen minutes to go."

Morimoto is making squid sashimi, it looks like, while Donna is deep-frying squid patties, as is Morimoto. The IC side's sushi rolls are getting some squid added with five to go. The squid mix is going down on the polenta on the challenger's side. Plating full on underway on both side. The IC is plating his soba noodles as well. Challenger is loading up his salad. The little squid meringues are plated as dumplings, while the challenger is making six dishes. Morimoto is making more tempura with... "One minute to go." Morimoto is now struggling to get his dishes done. Amy is running some more squid to have Donna finish. The Iron Chef is done with his six with "Thirty seconds to go!" It's all over but the ornamentation... "Five seconds... Three... Two... One..."

Battle Squid is over!

Judgment (Morimoto): "I really wanted to use the whole squid and all of the various parts in as many ways as possible. I know each part has a different texture and taste, so using each part was very important to me." Dishes: Warm Squid and Citrus with Squid Roll, Black and White Squid Pasta, Squid Bagna Cauda, Squid Sushi, Fried Pureed Squid, Squid Candy

Judgment (Flay): "I thought about Italy, and I thought about every region, and I grabbed squid dishes from every region." Dishes: Squid Stracciatella, Squid Potato Salad, Squid Trio (Fried, Stuffed, and Stewed), Israeli Couscous "Caviar" and Squid, Squid and Garlic Soup, I Bigoli with Calamari..

The texture was the star with both challenger and Iron Chef making their five and then some. This match could go either way. Is it a second helping of defeat or a heaping serving of victory for the challenger? Whose cuisine reigns supreme? The verdict...

  IRON CHEF CHALLENGER
Taste 24 26
Plating 12 14
Originality 12 14

... 54-48 in favor of Challenger Roberto Donna! Clearly revenge is a best served cold. And Donna brought it proper, as the chefs are now tied at one for the series. Could we see a third match to decide it? Stay tuned...

Until next time, we bid you good eating.

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