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"Flay vs. Murphy: Battle Breakfast" - March 11

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 Challenger: Marc Murphy, a diplomat's son, who lived in Milan, Paris, Rome, and Washington, DC. Today, you can see his creations at Landmarc in New York City. He challenges fellow New Yorker, the Blue Tetsujin, Bobby Flay.

Prepare for battle...

The Crib Sheet:
FLAY
Brian Ray & Neil Manacle, sous-chefs
VS MURPHY
Carla Bevan & Frank Proto, sous-chefs
24 years EXPERIENCE 17 years
Southwestern COOKING STYLE French/Italian
14-5-2, won last battle against Lynn Crawford BATTLE RECORD Challenger

The Theme Ingredient: several breakfast items, including eggs, sausages, bacon, breads, and juices. And, of course, maple syrup.

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 his dishes wins.

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 Breakfast is on!

And already we have chilies going on the IC's side. Looks like he's going to poach with cinnamon and vanilla, while Murphy has lobsters. Flay looks like he's making maple mangoes and on a separate sheet, salmon. Murphy looks like he's going to bake eggs in shell, while Flay is going to smoke something. Challenger is working jasmine rice and tea. Frank blends tomatoes. IC is sauteeing tomatillos. Murphy is still working his bacon, while making a custard with orange zest.

Sugar, flour, five-spice, and milk... looks like a batter. Challenger pours cognac. Murphy has his own batter working. Frank is making a bacon/tomato sauce.

IC is reducing pinot noir while Neil's poblanos are out. Carla mixes lobster roe and butter, while IC is creaming eggs, cream cheese, and mascarpone. A side of salmon getting ready to be smoked. Neil is making another batter with pumpkin. Flay looks like he's working on filet mignon, and sausage is down on the IC side. He's blending his reduction of mango and hone with maple syrup. Challenger has lobsters and eggs out.

Judges... .

Tonight's Judges:
Actress Julie White ("The Nanny Diaries")
Culinary author Ted Allen ("Queer Eye for the Straight Guy")
Actress Cady Huffman ("Romance and Cigarettes")

Frank takes Murphy's custard and chills it. Looks like we're getting a bloody Mary for brunch.

"Thirty minutes have elapsed." Let's see how the battle is faring. The Iron Chef has a pumpkin spice batter still whisking away, while we also have a butter/allspice mix working and a round of Bloody Marys. Lucky. Challenger is making toast sticks, sausage patties, and deep-fried bacon. Flay is whipping up some home fries with potatoes, jalapenos, onions, and paprika. We're also working on some steak, while guava jelly and cream & mascarpone cheese are getting whipped together. Murphy is scrambling some eggs on a double-boiler.

Baked eggs are out... and thrown away? Apparently Murphy was only going to set those rock salts as molds. Elsewhere we have asparagus with some shaved parm on top.

Brian: "I hate clams." ... as he tries to open some clams. Carla is working on that rice for congee with sausage, green onions, and bacon. Flay has some waffles, a little bit too over done. "At least we know they work." Neil is working poblanos and cascabels into ... something. Pinot noir is still on the stove. "Twenty minutes to go." Murphy is cutting some salad greens. For what, we don't know. Quail eggs also out. Flay is grilling steak. Murphy is turning those greens and quail eggs into something for a tomato soup of some sort.

Back to the pumpkin batter, as Flay soaks bread in it. Steak is off the grill, while home fries are standing by. Murphy is making French toast, congee, and tomato sauce with an egg in it. The Iron Chef is brushing mango glaze onto bacon strips, lobster is sliced, and waffles have been plated. Challenger has his breadsticks on a plate, his lobster is in the convection oven, and eggs continue to be scrambled.

We're under 10, as the challenger's flan is just about finished. Carla is making lobster roe grits. The parmesan asparagus is going down with that flan. Flay has finished his waffles. The grits and quail eggs are done on the challenger's side. Lobster and home fries, smoked salmon, French toast, and waffle guava. Challenger is making a scrambled egg trio. Challenger has plated the congee with egg yolk with butter and French toast. Flay now has his salmon with crab scrambled eggs with pinot noir syrup. We also have overeasy eggs with steak.

"Five minutes to go." Murphy has a coddled egg, asparagus with flan, French toast, lobster grits, congee, scrambled egg trio, ... wow, six dishes. Flay has the home fries, French toast, waffles, steak sandwich, and the salmon dish. That's five. With a minute left, everything is just those extra five points now.

And we have time to serve mimosas to Alton, Kevin, and the judges... what, none for the Chairman? What the hell?

Now to the count.  "Three... two... one...." Done. Put it down, walk away, Battle Breakfast is history. Now to judge.

Judgment (Murphy): "I think the strategy was to get out some good food, and we decided to get some different countries shown." Dishes: Trio of Scrambled Eggs, Bacon Flan, Lobster and Bacon Grits, Sausage and Bacon Congee, Eggs Poached in Tomato Sauce, French Toast.

Judgment (Flay): "Chef Marc went sort of all around the world, and I always try to stay domestically as much as I can." Dishes: Lobster Home Fries, Waffles with Guava and Mango, Smoked Salmon with Scrambled Eggs, Chipotle-glazed Filet Mignon, Pumpkin Custard French Toast.

The challenger's dishes were very "Breakfast-y". The Iron Chef's dishes... brunch-extended. The ladies like the dishes involving alcohol.

But whose cuisine reigns supreme? The verdict...

  IRON CHEF CHALLENGER
Taste 29 23
Plating 13 10
Originality 12 12

... 54-45 in favor of Iron Chef Bobby Flay. Taste and plating is what carried the day for the Iron Chef. The sun will rise on him today as he prepares for his next challenge.

Until next time, we bid you good eating...

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