"Flay vs. Lee: Battle Bacon"
- June 4
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
Susur Lee of Toronto. He started as an apprentice in
Hong Kong, then moved to Toronto and opened the Lotus
there. He now serves as the executive chef of Susur,
where he is the master of "Nouvelle Chinois". Today, he
challenges the de facto leader of the Iron Chefs, Bobby
The Crib Sheet:
Brian Ray & Neil Manacle, sous-chefs
Bart Murawiecki & Dustin Gallagher, sous-chefs
7-4-1, won last battle
against Ralph Pagano
The Theme Ingredient:
bacon; pancetta, American-style, Irish-style,
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
with an full heart and an empty stomach, the words of
the Chairman's dear uncle.... "Allez cuisine!"
bacon can be harvested in two different areas, from the
belly (American-style and pancetta), or from the back
(Irish style). If Irish style was cured more and dried
out, it would become Canadian bacon.
Comedian/media gadfly Mo Rocca ("Wait, Wait, Don't Tell
Me..." and VH1's "I Love The...")
Culinary journalist Akiko Katayama (Food Arts Magazine -
Culinary critic/author Jeffrey Steingarten ("The Man Who
Judgment (Lee): No comments, just straight to the
Irish Bacon-wrapped Pork Tenderloin, Lionhead with
Potato and Spinach Sauce; Shanghai-style Pork with
Cabbage, Polenta and Apples; Green Onion Package, Quail
Egg and Caviar; Irish and American Bacon Scallop with
Roasted Pineapple, Pork Tart with Quail.
Judgment (Flay): "I think it's safe to say most
people like bacon. I think the challenge today was to
bring the ingredient to the forefront, so it's not much
of a second-class citizen to the rest of the dishes." Dishes:
Shellfish & Bacon Tapas, Bacon Risotto with Quail Egg
and Green Onion, Jerk-Rubbed Whole Slab Bacon with Mango
Piece, Deconstructed Pancetta Carbonara, Irish Bacon
with Pineapple and Jalapeno Broth.
Seems like Lee drew both on
Asian and Canadian culture to see him through.
Akiko and Jeffrey, though, play incredibly hard to
please. Meanwhile, Iron Chef Flay played on his
strengths. Whose cuisine reigns supreme? The verdict...
... a 46-46 tie. A battle
to the end ends with flavors so bold that the judge
could not decide who was the victor. Could we see a
grudge match between the two? Stay tuned...
Until next time, we bid you