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"Flay vs. Bull: Battle Wild Boar" - October 8

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 Challengers: Chef David Bull. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, he became the youngest sous-chef in the history of Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas. Now, one of the ten best new chefs of America according to Food & Wine magazine heads the kitchen at Austin's Driscoll's Bar & Grill. Today, he challenges the de facto leader of the ICs, Iron Chef Bobby Flay, in a like-cuisine affair.

The Crib Sheet:
Dan Mihalko & Neil Manacle, sous-chefs
Jason Maddy & Josh Watkins, sous-chefs
23 years EXPERIENCE 14 years
Southwestern COOKING STYLE American Regional
10-5-2, won last battle against Josh DeChellis BATTLE RECORD Challenger

The Theme Ingredient: Wild boar; shoulders, loins, bellies, ribs, and hams. Chairman draws his swords on this one.

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.

The  battle 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!"

The Iron Chef's sous-chefs are hampered by a ... little fire... Flay's not worried. He just grabs a box of kosher salt and out goes the fire and, bonus, your very own salt-crust grill.

Meanwhile, the challenger begins by sectioning off connective tissue. Said move eats up more time than he realizes.

"Fifteen minutes have elapsed." See?

Tonight's Judges:
Writer/columnist Det. Chris Cognac (star of Food Network's "The Hungry Detective")
Broadway actress Cady Huffman ("Romance & Cigarettes")
Culinary critic/author Jeffrey Steingarten ("The Man Who Ate Everything")

Semi-educational moment: Wild boar (Sus scrofa) has to be cooked thoroughly, lest you be stricken with a case of trichinosis. You don't want to overcook it, but nevertheless, you have to.

And now, a comparison, helped along by Alton's crude drawing of a famous wild boar. You may have seen him hanging out with a meerkat and a lion who would be king.

On the left, a wild boar. On the right, a pig from season 2's Battle Pork. The shoulder, or butt, is smaller on the boar than it is on a domestic hog. The loin connects to the belly, or bacon, via the ribs. Otherwise, it's pretty much the same critter.

The hams just take too long to cook for this battle, so the chefs have not used it thus far.

As the battle winds down, it looks like Flay will be blending some sweet with sharp flavors, while the challenger will try to win this on presentation. The challengers toast with thirty seconds to go, while Flay continues to plate. They have time to shake hands as Battle Wild Boar comes to an end.

Judgment (Bull): "Moer so than not, we're looking at texture. To contrast and to complement the wild boar itself." Dishes: Pistachio and Pepper Crusted Wild Boar Tenderloin, Wild Boar "Bacon" with Garlic Risotto, Rack of Wild Boar with Whiskey Apples, Safe & Brown Butter Wild Boar Loin with Hominy Grits, Wild Boar Texas Pot Roast.

Judgment (Flay): "We tried to use as many different cuts of the boar as we could, because we got a whole boar." Dishes: Wild Boar Skewers with Pineapple-Hoisin Glaze, Wild Boar Milanese Style, Rack of Wild Boar with Bourbon Sauce and Creamed Corn, Molasses Braised Wild Boar with Sweet Potato Polenta, Wild Boar Two Ways.

Chris doesn't get the use of the watermelon in Bull's first dish. And as usual, when it comes to textures, Cady and Jeffrey have a difference of opinion. Meanwhile, the judges are united in praise for the IC's dishes. Whose cuisine reigns supreme? The verdict...
Taste 25 23
Plating 11 9
Originality 13 11

... 49-43 in favor of Iron Chef Bobby Flay. The judges preferences are clearly marked as they gravitate toward the Iron Chef, giving him another notch here at KSA.

Until next time, we bid you good eating.

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