"Flay vs. Crawford:
Battle Peanut" - February 25
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
Lynn Crawford, the executive chef at the Four Seasons in
Toronto. One of her eateries, Truffles, received the AAA
5-Diamond award. She's come south of the border for a
food fight with Bobby Flay.
Prepare for battle...
The Crib Sheet:
Vicki Wells & Dan Mihalko, sous-chefs
Robert Bartley & Lora Kirk, sous-chefs
13-5-2, won last battle
against Graham Elliott Bowles
The Theme Ingredient:
Runner, Virginia, and Spanish peanuts, raw, shelled,
roasted, and blanched, and peanut butter. Hope no one's
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 Kia 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!" And Battle
Arachis hypogaea is on!
Thoughts from the
challenger: "This is the best shopping in the
world!" This being from the Chairman's pantry. The
IC opens up with lobsters, ribs, and halibut. Over on
Crawford's side, sweetbreads and chocolate left over
from last battle.
Both chefs suffer some
casualties as Crawford's pot boils over while Flay's
peanuts burn. Crawford grings peanuts, dips them into
chocolate, and goes into the blast chillers. Looks like
Flay is working on a mole of some sort.
"Fifteen minutes have
quarter out of the way ... and Crawford's raspberry
puree is in the ice cream maker of death! Must be time to meet...
Culinary author Ted Allen ("Queer Eye for the Straight
Fashion designer/founder of Complex magazine Marc Ecko
Culinary critic Jeffrey Steingarten ("The Man Who
Flay is deep frying his
ribs, while Crawford is smoothing out her peanut butter
chocolate in the freezer. Vicki's working on a custard,
while Crawford is playing with pai tai sauce. Meanwhile,
her sous-chef is smoking peanuts for scallops, while
Lora is incinerating cipolinis.
Flay is adding PB to BBQ
sauce. Vicki has beer, canola oil, and one whole egg
being mixed. Flay has taken out his ribs, getting them
ready for braising. Crawford is making some sort of
peanut butter cup souffle.
"Thirty minutes have
elapsed." Lora has a peanut butter dough working. Flay
is working on some breading in the offing...
Peanut-coated halibut, greens & peanuts. Crawford has
sliced veggies while spreading peanut butter & chocolate
on a silicone mat.
Jeopardy!-prep moment: Peanut plants are funny
little things with green leaves and yellow flowers. Once
the flowers die, the stem, or peg, continues to grow
into the soil, where it makes the peanuts. It prefers
sandy soil, which is why Georgia produces so many
Flay... egg, vanilla bean,
and peanut butter mixture... onion bhajas on the
challengers' side. Scallops are out as well. And the PB
dough turns into pasta. Vicki's making a peanut butter
French toast. Flay's working on a peanut butter soup
with lobster tails & stock. With 20 minutes, Rob is
working veal tenderloins with peanuts, while the pasta
is being pressed. Dan purees piquillos for a mustard
cream. Peanut butter custards are out. Flay's breading
okra for a soup, we're guessing.
Challengers are grilling red
curry prawns. Her raspberry sorbet is coming out of the
ice cream maker.
Plating is underway on both
sides. Crawford is working on a stir-fry, while both
sides are plating soups. Flay is plating his halibut.
Crawford is making the pasta into a peanut butter pad
thai. She plates her sweetbread with the veal
tenderloin. "Five minutes to go." The pinot noir is
still reducing in the IC's kitchen, while Vicki is
making a creme brulee with her peanut butter custard.
Crawford's got pad thai, scallops, peanut soup, sorbet,
and tenderloins, not to mention the souffle. Flay has a
soup, the halibut, the ribs, French toast with the pinot
noir reduction, and creme brulee. And the Chairman flips
for the dessert...
one...." Done. Put it down, walk away, Battle Peanut is
history. Now to judge.
Judgment (Crawford): "Who doesn't love peanuts?
We pulled out some favorites, some childhood memories.
We just had fun with peanuts, anything we could think
about, we went for."
Dishes: Inverted Pad Thai with Peanut Noodles, Ants on a
Log, Indian Peanut Soup, Peanut Veal Tenderloin with
Chocolate Port Sauce, Molten Chocolate Peanut Cake.
Judgment (Flay): "Peanuts is actually an
ingredient I really like to cook with, because it's very
often able to play off a lot of ingredients, especially
chili peppers." Dishes:
Peanut Lobster and Grilled Chile Soup, Peanut Crusted
Halibut, BBQ Ribs with Peanut Red Chile Sauce,
Peanut French Toast, Chocolate Peanut Creme Brulee and
celebrated the peanut flavor. Jeff wants to eat the cake
alone. Marc wants to eat the cake... alone. Interplay
was key in the Iron Chef's dishes. Ted tells Marc to get
a grip on himself after tasting Flay's dishes. "I
describe this with a very famous French word...
But whose cuisine reigns
supreme? The verdict...
... 51-48 in favor of
Iron Chef Bobby Flay. This was a close one. The judges
liked the challenger's plating, but taste is where the
Blue Tetsujin achieved his margin of victory. We
finish with this quote from HL Mencken: "If one begins
eating peanuts, one cannot stop." Will we see Lynn
Crawford again in KSA? Only time will tell.
Until next time, we bid you