"Cora vs. Campanaro:
Battle Venison" - November 5
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
Joey Campanaro, who studied in Italy and France before
returning to the US and the Harrison, where he served as
executive chef. His latest venture is the Little Owl
restaurant in New York City. He has a passion for
Mediterranean Cuisine and believes that great food
speaks for itself. Today, he tests his skills against
the grand dame of Kitchen Stadium, Iron Chef Cat Cora.
The Crib Sheet:
Lori Lynn Bauer & Eric Takahashi, sous-chefs
Mike Price & Lou ?, sous-chef
4-3, won last battle
with Elizabeth Falkner
The Theme Ingredient:
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
The Ruby Tuesday 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!"
Jeopardy!-prep moment: Venison comes from the Latin
venatio, which means "to hunt", and up until the
Middle Ages, any animal that had fur and was hunted was
referred to as venison. Today, venison is used to
describe the meat of deer, elk, and sometimes antelope.
Looks like one side is
preparing a venison sorbet... Yummy...
Executive producer Michael Gelman ("Live with Regis &
Culinary journalist Karine Bakhoum (KB Network News)
Culinary critic/author Jeffrey Steingarten ("The Man Who
Cora is sniping one of her
sous-chef's skillets for a hot second. Her rack is going
into the oven now. Halfway done into the battle,
Campanaro is giving a venison a roll onto itself. And...
there's an incense pot? Well find out more about that
later. Right now...
moment: Another critter guide!
Behold, the deer in its live
state. The chefs are using the entire deer today. The
chuck is like the chuck on beef, although sometimes it's
cut with some of the shoulder and called the saddle. The
loin is called the backstrap. Below, the flank and the
brisket for spare ribs and flank steak. In the back, the
rump and the round. Then the legs are the shank.
Back to battle, in the
incense pot was cinnamon, nutmeg, and star anise lit
with liquid alcohol. The Iron Chef, though, has
cornbread madeleines and venison taquitos. Standing by
on the challenger: venison tartare.
Plating has begun on both
sides with the Iron Chef making a cherry dish with mole
as well as a chili dish, while Campanaro starts with a
carpaccio opener. Three minutes left, while Campanaro is
frying quince and plating his venison rolls. Cora is
plating all five of her dishes at once. We're down to
the final 60, and the taquitos, the chili, the tamales,
the rack, and the tataki down. The challenger... with 30
to go, he's got the trio, the meatballs, the skewer, the
loin chop, and the rolls. Five are done here. The rest
is just cosmetic now.
And because it's Iron Chef
Cora and that's how she rolls, son, we've got ouzo out.
All six chefs partake in a drink (which makes the
Chairman happy) as we count down.
"Three... two... one...
Time's up." Battle Venison is in the books.
Judgment (Cora): "When I saw venison, I
immediately thought of my childhood. My brother's a
young deer hunter and we always get venison. The first
thing I wanted to do was chili, and I wanted to do a
Tex-Mex kind of Southwestern menu built around chili."
Dishes: Venison Tataki, Venison and Sweet Potato Tamale,
Venison & Black Bean Chili, Venison Rack with Mole,
Judgment (Campanaro): "My inspiration was a
Monday night in Manhattan. A situation where you can
walk into the tiniest restaurant and not know a thing
about the chef, and have food that is straightforward,
yet bold; sophisticated, yet fun." Dishes: Venison
Trio, Venison Meatball Soup, Grilled Venison Cap Skewer,
Venison Braciole, Dijon & Rosemary Roasted Venison Chop.
The channeling of her
brother Iron Chef Flay draws raves. One word said though
all five tastings: "Delicious." The challenger started
rough with the truffles over the trio (Karine noted that
it took away from the meat). But he got it back in the
end. It's going to be a draw battle today... But
whose cuisine reigns supreme? The verdict...
... 45-42 in favor of
Iron Chef Cat Cora. Campanaro may have had the best
scores seen in a while for originality, but taste wins
the day for the Iron Chef.
Until next time, we bid you