Love to Interrupt
The DiGeorge Files
Our ultimate competition is with
ourselves. That is what my uncle told me when I would visit
him as a young boy. Now I prepare myself for my most savory
challenge. My uncle, the man the world knows as Kaga the
Chairman, has decided that although America is a young
country, we now possess the proper palate to host our own Iron
Chef competition, an American celebration of the world's high
art of cuisine.
Recaps by Chico Alexander, GSNN
Host ("The Chairman"):
Culinary Commentator: Alton Brown
Iron Chefs: Mario Batali, Bobby Flay, Wolfgang Puck
Creator: Keiichi Tanaka (based upon "Ryori no Tetsujin/Iron
EP: Steve Kroopnick
Packager: Triage Entertainment, Fuji Television
Network, Food Network
Aired: April 2004
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Tag Team Battle - April 25
If memory serves me right, Chairman Takeshi Kaga has
sent two of his Iron Chefs - Hiroyuki Sakai and Masaharu
Morimoto - to do battle in Kitchen Stadium America
against his nephew's own army of Iron Chefs - Wolfgang
Puck, Mario Batali, and Bobby Flay. The American chefs
are three for three, going into this, the tag team
finale, which will pit Morimoto and Sakai against Flay
The theme ingredients are SCALLOPS, LANGOUSTINE, and SEA
URCHIN. Earlier, I noted that this battle was going to
have a twist. Here comes the twist and five, four,
three, two, now. "It appears that in my excitement, it
appears that I have forgotten one more secret ingredient
for this battle. It is my honor for the first time to
bring together our two cultures, our two food worlds, in
competition, not against each other, but rather... with
each other. For today, we shall make history together as
Iron Chefs Sakai and Batali chop as one, while Iron
Chefs Morimoto and Flay share their wisdom on the same
cutting board. Gentlemen... switch partners."
So there you have it. The tag team finale is a game of
culinary mixed doubles. "With an open heart and an empty
stomach, I say unto you... ALLEZ CUISINE!"
And battle is on. Rules are a little bit different. Each
chef is responsible for two dishes, while each team is
responsible for one. Morimoto and Flay, twice opponents,
are shouting their strategy while Batali and Sakai try
to work past their communication barrier in talking
their game. Morimoto starts grating wasabe, while we
have our first live vote, giving Flay and Morimoto the
2-1 nod. Batali gets every ingredient in Kitchen
Stadium, including some chorizo for some Sicilian-style
selections. Morimoto chops open some sea urchin, while
Sakai opens up a chicken egg very carefully, definitely
for a custard.
Trouble on Morimoto/Flay's side, as Flay needs a
band-aid while chopping tomatillos. Morimoto is soaking
scallops in sake, which will take pretty quickly. Also,
sous-chef Patricia is working on a chili oil for Flay.
Batali calls Sakai a zen master again, while his sous-chef
is pounding langoustine meat. Compliments abound, as
Sakai calls their team "happy fun".
Alton shows us a langoustine, which "looks a lot like a
really really big shrimp, but it does, like a true
lobsterette, have itty bitty pinchers." It's actually a
"Fifteen minutes have elapsed." Batali is making a
bouillabaisse. Morimoto is making a broth of his own.
Sakai is making potato noodles. Kevin is making nice
with the judges. Today, they are one-fifth of the Fab
Five, resident gourmand of "Queer Eye for the Straight
Guy" Ted Allen, one-whole of the on-air "Extra" anchor
team Dayna Devon, one-seventh of the recurring
characters on "Friends" James Michael Tyler, and one
heck of a food critic Jeffrey Steingarten.
Morimoto's scallops have gone to a rice cooker, while
things are on fire with Sakai, as he's also making a
green panko with parsley. Bread crumbs out of parsley?
Magic. Batali is making a Sicilian lifeguard sauce with
couscous. AS the vote seems to draw the two teams,
Morimoto breaks out a hibachi grill that he WAS hoping
to use against Bobby Flay in competition. Flay creates
the sauces, while Morimoto is making the dishes, the
brigade system they call it.
Over on Sakai's side, he's wrapping langoustine tails
with the potatoes from earlier. Flay cut his finger, but
he's okay. Morimoto's scooping out urchin roe, while
Flay is butterflying langoustine.
Ted notes that Sakai and Batali are in some "Vulcan mind
meld." Dayna thinks that this is like the Oscars. James
notes the smell. Jeffrey is waiting for the fur to fly
when Morimoto and Flay start cooperating.
Morimoto has started plating with urchin fillets and
scallops. Meanwhile Flay has langoustine heads in the
fryer. Also, a cauliflower custard inside the urchin
shell is in the works. Meanwhile, Batali is working some
little calamares for later.
"Thirty minutes have elapsed." Let's go to the sidelines
with Iron Chef Puck, who thinks that today's match is
perfect. "I'm just upset that I'm not a part of it." The
seafood is great for all of the chefs, especially the
Japanese. Langoustine's out on Morimoto's side with
shallots, chili peppers, and oysters. Urchin also goes
into the oven. Live vote is still draw.
Flour, egg, and curry powder is going into Sakai's
blender, possibly a fritter. Flay's making a yellow
roasted pepper sauce with miso and rice vinegar. Foie
gras also pulled out on Morimoto's side, possibly on top
of a dish. Miso, habaneros, and honey go into a
Sakai is dredging the scallops on one side with the
panko and parsley dredge, while Batali shares some
chorizo broth. They like it. "That was just love."
Meanwhile, Flay gets no love from his sauces. They're
burnt. As Sakai puts some eggs into the bamboo steamer,
Flay is worried that his custard won't set.
"Twenty minutes to go." Morimoto sears some scallops,
while their sous-chef is putting some Serrano ham in the
fryer. Sakai's sous-chef meanwhile is chopping some
black truffles to be used in a sabayon. Meanwhile the
potato-wrapped item sautes. Sakai thinks that having two
Iron Chefs is definitely a benefit.
"Fifteen minutes to go." Morimoto's scallops are meeting
the heat on his grill. They need a bit more time as
"Ten minutes to go." The fritter's first, while Flay is
on the run. Morimoto goes for some cedar branches to
grill with the langoustine. A beautiful presentation
going on Sakai's side, while Morimoto grabs some rocks
and seaweed for presentation, maybe? Chefs Batali and
Sakai are plating their joint venture, while Flay is
getting trout roe to plate. Sakai deep fries celery for
a garnish. And... they're done!
"Five minutes to go." Small cedar fire in Morimoto's
kitchen, while he puts rice balls onto the grill. Flay
creates an oyster Rockefeller. "How much time?" "Three
minutes to go." That answer your question? Batali grates
some roe fresh from the freezer. Sakai's just ecstatic
about working with him in the future. They toast their
Meanwhile Morimoto pours his own sake for a celebration.
"One minute to go." Grilled langoustine tails were made
in Flay's honor. And we're running out of time here, as
the plates are quickly coming together. Cauliflowers
soup is coming out of the oven, while Morimoto heads for
the goblets... "Five seconds... three... two... one...
Time is now up." And we're all done for fun. Now it's
onto the tasting. Remember 10 for taste, 5 for plating,
and 5 for originality.
We start with Sakai and Batali. Their dishes: egg & sea
urchin sabayon, Arborio rice crusted scallops,
potato-wrapped crispy langoustine, barely-cooked
langoustines in a shrimp and chorizo broth, panko &
parsley crusted scallops, and Sicilian Lifeguard-style
razor clams and scallops.
They love the texture and the presentation in the
sabayon, but Jeffrey thought that the inedible garnishes
didn't work. Ted likes the ground risotto. James thinks
the langoustine goes great with the sauce americaine.
And we think that Jeffrey is the "Asako Kishi" of Iron
Chef America (popularly known as the "West German
Judge", Kishi-san was basically the show's resident
Simon Cowell in Japan). Dayna thinks the final dish is
healthy and wonderful. It's the yin-yang at work.
Morimoto and Flay are next: crispy rice ball with
scallops, sea urchin, & langoustine; seafood tapas;
steamed scampi, scallops, & sea urchin; shellfish
impersonating oysters; and Japanese-grilled shellfish
with three dipping sauces.
Wonderful broth, Jeffrey and Ted point out. James notes
the spiciness of the tapas. Jeffrey likes the foie gras
and the spices. Ted downs the shellfish whole, and likes
it. The fusion dish is presented beautifully, as Dayna
points out. Ted cites and enormous range of flavors
today. Could mean the win for Morimoto and Flay. Let's
go to the Chairman.
"Iron Chefs... Morimoto and Flay!" Congratulations all
around, as Morimoto and Flay... don't know whose hand to
shake first. Clearly, they were the favorite, judging by
MORIMOTO/FLAY: Taste - 36. Plating - 18,
Originality - 17, Total - 71
SAKAI/BATALI: Taste - 29. Plating - 12,
Originality - 14, Total - 55
Final live vote went to Sakai and Batali, 54-46. Well,
there you have it, America. Iron Chef America is in the
books. If you missed it, you can either wait for Food
Network to rerun the show ad nauseum, or you could go to
Foodnetwork.com and order the DVD. Either way, a simple
recap can't do justice to what happened this weekend.
Clearly one of the best competitions I've ever seen. You
have to see it for yourself.
April 23 - The Making Of...
April 23 - Flay vs. Sakai: Battle Trout
April 24 - Batali vs. Morimoto: Battle Spiny Lobster
April 25 - Puck vs. Morimoto: Battle Egg