"Cora vs. Royal:
Battle Ostrich" - December 10
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
Walter Royal. Having cooked Southern cuisine since he
was a teenager, he was the first African-American to
receive the Five-Star Chef of the Year Award from the
International Restaurant Guild. Today, he heads the
kitchen at the Angus Barn not too far off from where I
live, in Raleigh. Today, he challenges another product
of the South, Iron Chef Cat Cora.
Prepare for battle...
The Crib Sheet:
Lori Lynn Bauer & Philip Clark, sous-chefs
Julia Strickland, Alan McSwain & Chris, sous-chefs
6-3, won last battle
with Joey Campanaro
The Theme Ingredient:
Ostrich, legs, thighs, and eggs.
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 that
best articulates the theme ingredient through their 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!"
The challenger looks like
he's brought three sous-chefs to battle with him instead
of the traditional two, but in actuality, the third sous-chef
is Chris, a product of Royal's mentoring program.
Jeopardy!-prep moment: Ninety percent of the meat of
the ostrich (Struthio camelus) comes from the legs and
thighs. Both chefs also get eggs which are harder to
crack than advanced calculus. They have to be, because
they drop a great distance to the ground. If you've ever
seen that one episode of "The Amazing Race", you also
know that they're huge. In fact, one ostrich egg is
equal to about two dozen chicken eggs.
Opening thought from Royal:
"I think you'll see lots of southern things, things from
my childhood. Things I'm comfortable using, because you
always go back to that comfort zone."
Rebuttal from the Iron Chef:
"Walter Royal will be coming to win, and that's the main
thing. Because he's Southern, I won't be doing Southern.
That's gonna be my strategy."
After about five minutes,
Chris, all of 12 years old the youngest sous-chef to do
battle at Kitchen Stadium, heads up to the VIP box.
Comedian/Host Joel McHale ("The Soup")
Editor-in-chief of Bon Appetit Magazine Barbara
Culinary critic/author Jeffrey Steingarten ("The Man Who
The thigh contains something
like 17 different muscles. The back contains the
tenderloin, much like a cow's tenderloin. Up in the
breast... look at the picture... Nothing of any culinary
value. Since an ostrich doesn't fly, it doesn't have
development able for breast meat.
Oh, and ostriches don't
stick their heads into the sand when they're scared.
They lie flat on the ground.
After Cora makes an
imminent threat on Alton's life by throwing him a slab
of chocolate, we're down to five minutes. Time for the
chefs to Voltron here.
Three minutes and the
first of the Iron Chef's dishes is done. She has
meatballs, risotto, and carpaccio. Royal has pot pie,
satay, ostrich burgers, and a souffle. Ostrich fillet.
That's five. He's done with the final minute
For the first time, Cora
is working up until the last second, with final
garnishes plated with three... two... one... "Time's
up." Battle Ostrich is over! Put it down... Walk away.
Whiskey on the challenger's side. Ouzo on the Iron
Chef's side... wouldn't have it any other way.
Judgment (Cora): "I really wanted to show a
good versatility and global usage of ostrich. We really
just wanted to show some of the different flavors of
different countries, and that's what we tries to
showcase here today."
Dishes: Ostrich Carpaccio, Ostrich Stracciatella, Sweet
& Sour Ostrich, Ostrich Porcetta, Fallen Ostrich Egg
Judgment (Royal): "Simply taking ostrich, which
is so great for you, and keeping it simple. Nice fresh
herbs and just simple ingredients." Dishes: Ostrich
Burgers with Homemade Potato Chips, Ostrich Satay,
Ostrich Pot Pie, Ostrich Fillet, Chocolate Ostrich Egg
doesn't really have flavor. At least Cora's ostrich
doesn't have flavor. It's not really her fault, but at
the same time, it's hard to flavor ostrich in the time
allotted. So this battle will come down to what the
chefs manage to do with the ingredient. It looks as if
the challenger may have the judges in his pocket. But
whose cuisine reigns supreme? The verdict...
... 51-48 in favor of
Challenger Walter Royal. KISS wins it for the man from
North Carolina, as does bringing out the flavor of the
ostrich, which can be done by boiling a LOT of it into a
stock and... yeah.
Until next time, we bid you