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"Cora vs. Scheib: Battle Dungeness Crab" - July 16

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: Walter Scheib, executive chef of the White House from 1994 to 2005, and thus having the honor of serving the First Family of the United States. Today, he is the founder and chairman of The American Chef, a company that specializes in creating Presidential dinners for special events. The American chef chooses to go toe-to-toe with a Greek goddess, Iron Chef Cat Cora.

The Crib Sheet:
Eric Takahashi & Brian ?, sous-chefs
Patrice Olivon & Vincent Horville, sous-chefs
14 years EXPERIENCE 32 years
Greek/Aegean COOKING STYLE Contemporary American
3-2, won last battle against Jon Shook & Vinny Dotolo BATTLE RECORD Challenger

The Theme Ingredient: Dungeness crab.

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!"

Tonight's Judges:
Food & wine author Ted Allen ("Queer Eye for the Straight Guy")
Actress Cady Huffman ("Romance & Cigarettes")
Author Ed Levine ("Pizza, a Slice of Heaven")

Semi-educational moment: Dungeness crab (Cancer magister) are famed of the western coasts of the United States.

Both of the sous-chefs on the challenger's side have worked with Scheib in the past, and as a result, the team moves rather quickly through prep work and get their five out of the way in time to bring out the more intense flavors.

Judgment (Scheib): "As we go through the menu, we tried to create a little bit of a flow where we start a little mild and work our way up to a peak, sweep back down to dessert. Besides that, we just wanted to have fun with the presentation." Dishes: Crab Parfait, Spiced Crab Sweet Potato Soup, Crab Cake with Hot Fruit Salsa, Crab Claw Salad, Crab Bisteeya

Judgment (Cora): "I really wanted to bring out some of the classical sides of it, some of the more refined ways of eating crab, and I wanted to go a little global, too." Dishes: Crab Tian, Crab Cake Sandwich, Basque Crab Spring Rolls, "Down and Dirty" Crab, "Chawan Mushi" Steamed Japanese Crab Custard.

Cady plays the "bimbo du jour" role to a T here. Ted saw the flow in the challenger's dishes, starting out slow and then working to a crescendo. The Iron Chef gains points for presentation. But whose cuisine reigns supreme? The verdict...

Taste 23 27
Plating 12 14
Originality 14 14

... 55-49 in favor of Challenger Walter Scheib. Originality ended up in a tie, while taste and plating won the day for the challenger, leaving the Iron Chef to sharpen her claws for another day.

Until next time, we bid you good eating.

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