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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Puck vs. Morimoto - April
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. American Iron Chefs
Batali and Flay took both Battle Trout and Battle Spiny
Lobster. Morimoto was the opponent during Batali's bout,
so he has an axe to grind with the Iron Chefs. He'll
take it out against Iron Chef Puck in this battle.
The theme ingredient is EGGS, everything from salmon roe
to ostrich eggs to your standard chicken variety.
Reminder: both chefs have one hour to come up with at
least five unique dishes that present eggs. The chef
that does so the best as judged by the panel of three
"With an open heart and an empty stomach, I say unto
you, America... ALLEZ CUISINE!"
And battle is on. Both chefs grab some eggs, and it
looks pretty elementary here. Eggs are the most
versatile of food items and there isn't really anything
you can't do with them. Morimoto begins cracking chicken
eggs into a bowl, which is customarily unusual for him.
But then again, both chefs are customarily unusual. Only
difference is in the numbers: Puck is a California
cuisine master of 41 years while Morimoto is a Japanese
master of 20 years (and a 65-8 record, having dropped
his last match).
Puck breaks out some flour for a pasta, while Morimoto
prepares to break open an ostrich egg with a hacksaw.
Very standard considering that ostrich eggs are harder
than hardrock. While he does that, Puck's going to
prepare his pasta dough. Live vote at foodnetwork.com
shows the fans giving Puck the nod, 53-47. Morimoto
finally cracked his shell, getting its contents in a
bowl. Now, they're shaped like footballs, the ones we
have in battle, but amazingly enough, they can get
bigger. Taste? Like chicken, Alton tells us.
Puck breaks out leeks, only using the white and tender
parts. Morimoto plays human blender with his ostrich
eggs, converting them into some glutinous batter,
possibly a noodle. Puck's sous-chef Sherry is going for
some Meyer lemon juice, a little tarter than most
lemons. Puck himself is using fresh cream on his ravioli
filling. Next on Morimoto's side, foie gras slices and
noodles, sliced off the back of a cooking sheet.
"Fifteen minutes have elapsed." Puck flips crepes and
sets them down for porcini filling. Kevin reports that
Puck's his usual self after initial jitters. Meanwhile
Morimoto's no stranger to egg battles, having fought one
against Iron Chef Japanese II Komei Nakamura in 1999.
"Twenty minutes have elapsed." Judge time, as we meet
one of the men who got whacked on "The Sopranos",
Vincent Pastore, someone who whacks with a hammer on
"Trading Spaces", Paige Davis, and someone who uses the
word "whack" a lot in his food column in Vogue, food
critic Jeffrey Steingarten. Back into battle, with
Morimoto blanching his noodles in ice water, while Puck
peels potatoes and water chestnuts.
Iron Chef Batali's on the sidelines with Alton. "They're
both highly aware of the tension going on around here.
No question that these are cooks that actually cook"
Mentioning sous-chef Sherry, they think that Puck
brought out the big guns in choosing her to assist.
Another formidable challenger? We'll see, I guess.
Omelet pan and Kobe beef (bred to produce intramuscular
fat, literally "like buttah") out on Morimoto's side,
Morimoto still a 52-48 dog here. Morimoto thins out his
omelet with chopsticks, very typical. Sherry starts on
custard on Puck's side, adding Meyer lemon juice and
sugar at about 34 minutes left.
Puck starts to roll out his dough, while Morimoto puts a
blowtorch to what looks like a flan. They go into a
steamer. Morimoto starts on carving bigeye tuna,
possibly for a sashimi. A meringue, though, is taking
form on Puck's side.
"Thirty minutes have elapsed." Morimoto pumps his team
up while Puck throws flour at the camera. "Just like
basketball, the last five minutes," as Puck describes
his team coming together for the final plating later.
Meanwhile, Morimoto plays with a red snapper. He's now a
51-49 favorite. Sherry's happy with her custard as she
puts it into the blast freezer.
"Wolfgang just made a bit of a mess," Kevin reports as a
couple of pots meet the floor. Meanwhile Morimoto pulls
out chu-toro, the fatty part of the tuna, and scallops.
Ice cream machine also fired up with ostrich egg and
vanilla. Puck stops to make a toast, while Morimoto
slices tuna for sushi... or a flower.
"Twenty minutes to go." Sherry's working with simple
syrup, making candy threads for later. Maybe a garnish?
Nope. Using it to candy potatoes. Meanwhile, concern
over Morimoto's fish strategy over his egg strategy.
Puck fries up wonton sheets. Okay, NOW comes the candy
garnish as Sherry makes up some Gossamer threads out of
sugar, water, and corn syrup.
"Fifteen minutes to go." Morimoto's omelettes are
turning into a hash. Puck finishes up a truffle sauce,
while his sous-chef Lee starts plating. Morimoto starts
plating as well. Abalone gets diced, while we get sushi
rice with vinegar.
"Ten minutes to go." Seaweed and sharkfin go into a
bowl. More Gossamer threads out of the Puck camp. The
custard on Morimoto's side coming out with duck breast
and foie gras. Meanwhile, Morimoto marries toro with
pizza dough. The ostrich ice cream is finally done,
while Puck's plating is starting to take form. So the
custard that Sherry made is being thinned out with milk
and used as a sauce for her meringue.
"Five minutes to go." We have a problem on Morimoto's
side, as the sushi rice isn't cooling fast enough. They
try to use cold vinegar to do the job that really
should've been done five minutes ago. Meanwhile, we have
what looks like a mini-creme brulee on Puck's side.
Morimoto's got an ostrich-shell bowl for his ice cream.
Puck is frying dumplings. Egg drop soup is almost done
on both sides.
"One minute to go." Morimoto's happy for some reason.
Good for him. He's got poached eggs and sukiyaki to be
cooked at the judges' table. Wasabe meeting the grind as
we countdown. "Five seconds... three... two... one...
Time is now up." Puck tells his team that they've done
it. Morimoto screams out "Yosh!", which basically means,
"We did it." Final preps go down as we go to judge.
Remember, each judge gets 20 points - 10 for taste, 5
for presentation, and 5 for originality.
Morimoto's subtheme was springtime in Japan. He makes it
no secret that he was going for the ostrich egg: His
dishes: Blue fin tuna pizza with quail egg, duck egg
custard, Japanese spring wakatake soup with egg,
chirashi sushi over Japanese rice and shredded egg, Kobe
beef shabu shabu sukiyaki with poached egg, and ostrich
egg ice cream with crispy fried spaetzle.
The judges think the dough's a little tough. He rebounds
(sort of) with the custard, failing to win over Vincent
("If I was an easy critic, I wouldn't be here."). He
does like the wakatake soup, though. But winning marks
with the sukiyaki and the ice cream. And Paige thought
it was very fun to watch him hacksaw the egg open. But
nonetheless, Puck is now a slight favorite.
Puck's subtheme was just playing with so many types of
egg. His dishes: ham & eggs, egg bread, and roasted
potato with caviar; quail eggs with scallops and black
truffles; potato mille feuille with salmon roe; sweet
and soup egg drop soup; leek & quail egg open face
ravioli; duck egg crepes; and lemon floating island.
Jeffrrey points out that Puck used the eggs as the main
course to Morimoto's accessory. More favorable marks for
his next three, while Paige has an Iron Chef female
judge moment. The ravioli is Vincent's favorite today.
Jeffrey calls the floating island a near-perfect
dessert. So it's main dish versus accessory. Morimoto
could be in trouble. Let's go to the Chairman.
"In two categories, plating design and originality, the
Iron Chefs tied, 13 points each. Today, taste has told
the tale. With 21 points... Iron Chef Morimoto. With 26
points, Iron Chef Puck has prevailed." And
congratulations all around, as there is no disgrace in
defeat. Next time, the tag team finale.
April 23 - The Making Of...
April 23 - Flay vs. Sakai: Battle Trout
April 24 - Batali vs. Morimoto: Battle Spiny Lobster