"Batali vs. Gadsby:
Battle Mango" - March 4
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
Today, the Chairman has
shaken things up as he dons his ceremonial garb for what
promises to be a one-of-a-kind battle. The Chairman has
installed all sorts of new equipment... glassware,
shakers, muddlers and other tools of the cocktail trade.
What could he have up his sleeve? We'll find out in a
bit, but first...
Robert Gadsby was born in England and worked in
restaurants in Japan, Italy, France, Singapore, and
Thailand. Eventually, he settled in California, where he
opened Gadsby's and Noe in Los Angeles. He challenges
the Red Tetsujin, Mario Batali.
Prepare for battle...
The Crib Sheet:
Mark Ladner & Anne Burrell, sous-chefs
Plinio Sandalio & Michael Potowski, sous-chefs
11-4, won last battle
against Ian Chalermkittichai
The Theme Ingredient:
The Rules: Each chef
must create a five-course meal, with each course
utilizing the theme ingredient, within 60 minutes. The chef that
best articulates the theme ingredient through their dishes
there's one more thing... Each chef will have an extra
set of hands today in the form of mixologists, Tony Abu-Ganim
for Iron Chef Batali and Bridget Albert for Challengers
Gadsby. Each mixologist will concoct drinks to
complement each of the five dishes.
Because of this, the scoring
procedure has changed slightly. The judges will score
the dishes on a 30-point scale: 10 points taste, 5
points plating and presentation, 5 points creativity and
use of ingredient, 6 points taste of drinks, 2 points
presentation of drinks, 2 points originality of drinks.
So it's a four-on-four
battle today. 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
Mangifera indica is on!
We have a still on the Iron
Chef's side, and mango is going inside of it. Gadsby is
making some spice salt for chicken which has gone into
the oven. The bartenders themselves... just making juice
at the moment.
"Fifteen minutes have
elapsed." Batali is processing dried mangoes and sugar.
He's also got a ginger cream. Challenger has lobsters in
a wok. Bridget has mixed a simple syrup with allspice.
Batali has spiny lobster tails. Tony, meanwhile, is
working on a mango campari and lime concoction.
Culinary author Ted Allen ("Queer Eye for the Straight
Cocktail stylist Julie Reiner
Editor of Bon Appetit Magazine Andrew Knowlton
Mark makes lobsters fly.
Bridget, meanwhile, chills a custard base with cream and
mango puree. Mark adds calamari and duck breasts on to
his protein station, while Tony adds mango juice and
vodka to the still.
Ice cream maker is on for
mango campari lime sorbet for Tony. Batali slices
hamachi and fluke for a sashimi. Gadsby counters with
bluefin tuna. Liquid is coming out of the IC's still.
He'll toss the first and the third beakers, because as
you all know, you save the middle stuff for the mayor.
"Thirty minutes have
elapsed." Langoustines in the deep fryer. Sorbet is out
of the machine. IC has gherkins, capers, and mango puree
on one side, char sui pork on the other. Challenger is
sautéing butternut squash with mango and onion.
Five-spice chicken is resting. Bridget plays with mint,
pineapple, tequila and infused cognac. She also blends
yogurt and mango into a frappe.
Mango salad in the works on
the IC side. Anne strains a mango cream. Gadsby
counters with bacon, scallions, and bubu crackers. Anne
looks like she's making a creme caramel. She hits it
with mangoes and puff pastry, so not a creme caramel.
Plinio is piping mango custard into an eggshell.
Challengers are making
Jeopardy!-prep moment: Mangoes have been cultivated
in India for over 6000 years. It is the most consumed
fruit in the world.
IC is getting his char
sui pork. Michael is making an egg mold, while Tony is
almost finished with his drinks. Meanwhile, we have card
suits made out of mango. Challenger turns out egg molds.
Plinio is making gel custards and frying them. They're
out not. Mark is slicing duck breasts... "Ten minutes to
go." Tony crushes ice.
Iron Chef is making a
mango tarte tatin. Bridget, meanwhile, has poured her
first drink. Gadsby has plated his sashimi. Batali is
plated oysters and mango on mango salt. Bahn mi sandwich
is also plated. Mango infused alcohol is out of the
still, four ounces worth.
Gadsby is caramelizing
the top of his custard. Bridget's Mango frappe is down.
Tony is pouring his mango and bourbon mix.
Mango-butternut-squash soup is down. Mango custard #2 is
down with the brulee. Batali's calamari is down. "Five
minutes to go." Bridget's mojito is down. She's got
three drinks. Gadsby is pipeting everything with olive
oil. Next, mango raviolis.
Batali's calamari is
down, while Tony's tiki is down. Duck breast is down on
lettuce, while on the other side of that, a mango
sangria. Gadsby plates a pot-au-feu. That's five right
there. Now it's all garnishes. Anne is down with the
caramel mango and Tony's mango sorbet. All five of his
dishes are down.
All five dishes, all five
drinks. Both sides... Now to the count. "Three...
two... one...." Done. Put it down, walk away, Battle
Mango is history. Now to judge.
Judgment (Gadsby/Albert): "We wanted to create
a symphony of flavors at the same time, some textures
and some flavors."
Dishes: Mango Mimosa Salad with Mango Frappe, Mango and
Butternut Squash Soup with Savory Mango Cocktail,
Sashimi & Mango Crab Ravioli with Mango Sheik Cocktail,
Mango Seafood Pot-au-Feu with Thai Mango Cocktail, Mango
Dessert Flight with Mango Hotai Mojito.
Judgment (Batali/Abou-Ganim): "Mango for me
brings one giant beautiful memory of Vietnam. So I made
a food that is not really the food served in any
restaurants, but mostly the street food of Vietnam." Dishes:
Fried Calamari with Mango Salt with Mango Cordial;
Shrimp, Mango & Salami Salad with Mango-Strawberry
Sangria; Mango Oyster Trio with Mango, Campari & Lime
Scorpino; Mango Marinated Duck Lettuce Wrap with Ramgo
Rum Scorpion Bowl; Banh Mi with Lobster, Char Sui, Mango
with Mango Bourbon; Mango Tarte Tatin with Eau de Vie of
challengers' dishes are a bit too sweet for Andrew.
Julie believes the cocktails on the challengers' side
are bit complex. Ted has just the opposite from what
Andrew thought. They end proper, though. The Iron Chef
begins strongly and finishes cleanly.
But whose cuisine reigns
supreme? The verdict...
Taste - Dishes
Plating - Dishes
Originality - Dishes
Taste - Drinks
Plating - Drinks
Originality - Drinks
... 80-63 in favor of
Iron Chef Mario Batali and his mixologist Tony
Abou-Ganim. It was a complete sweep of all six
categories, a decisive and unanimous victory for the
team of the Tetsujin despite a pouring on of talent from
Until next time, we bid you
good eating... and even better drinking.