vs. Morimoto/Zimmern: Super Battle Sea Whistle Salmon
It's a brand
new year in Kitchen Stadium, and as is custom, we bring
in the new with a very special Super Battle. Two
esteemed foodie guests will battle alongside two of the
Chairman's best, as an old rivalry is once again in the
On one hand, you have
acclaimed cookbook author and chef Marcela Valladolid,
host of Food Network's "Mexican Made Easy". On the
other, James Beard award-winning food adventurer and
chef Andrew Zimmern, host of Travel Channel's "Bizarre
Foods". Today, Valladolid will share a kitchen with the
de facto leader, Iron Chef Bobby Flay, while Zimmern
will join knives with a man who has knives in spades,
Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto.
Prepare for battle.
Renee Forsberg, sous-chef
Jeffrey Lunak, sous-chef
fresh sea whistle salmon.
Each team must create a five-course
meal, with each course utilizing the theme ingredients, 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 team that best articulates the theme ingredient through
their dishes wins.
The 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 Salmo salar is on in Kitchen
Stadium. This is the only truly sustainable farmed or aquaculture-raised
Atlantic salmon. This looks to be a one-sided battle, with Morimoto
unmatched in fish battles and Zimmern "a Jewish boy from Brooklyn", but
that's why we play the game.
Flay starts by fileting and deboning his
fish, while Valladolid is working on a cuitlacoche. Morimoto is making a
traditional Japanese gyotaku, an ink print on a napkin of the fish head
and tail, filling in the rest himself. Zimmern is working on shaving
bonito for a dashi later. He is also chopping heads for the salamander.
(Fun fact: Morimoto & Zimmern met on the
latter's "Bizarre Foods" series. They've been friends ever since).
Flay is working on crepes, soups, and a
salad. Morimoto & Zimmern have a strategy: you heard of "snout-to-tail"?
This is "gill-to-tail".
"Fifteen minutes have elapsed."
Flay/Valladolid have some stuffed salmon, smoked salmon, and reduced
pinot noir. Morimoto/Zimmern is smoking salmon and harvesting cheeks.
Time to meet...
- Magician/comedian Penn Jillette ("Penn & Teller: Bull....!")
- Restauranteur Donatella Arpaia Stewart (Donatella Pizzeria, Kefi)
- Food writer Simon Majumdar ("The Next Iron Chef", "Eat My Globe",
"Eating for Britain")
Flay/Valladolid is working on a
mint/chili/honey/lime juice chutney, while Morimoto is taking some of
his cheeks into a pressure cooker with burdock and daikon. They're also
getting ready for a sous-vide and a seafood stew. Valladolid is applying
crema mexicana into a stew of her own. Morimoto is quick-curing some
fish in konbu kelp when we hear...
"Thirty minutes have elapsed." Let's
catch up. Flay has a Dutch oven with a mirepoix, jalapeno, flour, and
crab stock. Valladolid is mixing her Mexican crema and charred poblano
in a blender. Morimoto has sashimi salmon and salmon dashi in a pot of
onion, bacon, and flour. And Jeffrey is making... bagels. And lox
coming? Hope so.
"Fifteen minutes to go." Morimoto's side
is working on a salmon mousse, while Valladolid is stuffing peppers.
Zimmern is taking out some artichoke. Flay is plating caramelized
peaches and Valladolid's peppers. Zimmern & Morimoto are grilling salmon
with the dashi mixture. Flay/Valladolid is plating up early, while
Morimoto/Zimmern... not so much.
Flay's side has a chowder and an
Indian-spiced salmon with the chutney. That's three. The huitlacoche
crepes is #4. Morimoto has grilled salmon belly with rice, salmon
chowder, and the salmon gyotaku. With "One minute to go", Flay &
Valladolid are calling for drinks. Morimoto & Zimmern are plating their
salmon mousse with bagels, the udon noodle, and the salmon steak. That's
going to be it for both sides except for the finishing touches...
"Five seconds... Three... two... one... "
That's time. Put it down and walk away, Battle Sea Whistle Salmon is
TASTING & JUDGMENT
totally partners in this 100 percent."
- Slow-Cooked Salmon with Sour Peach Sauce
- Guero Chile Stuffed with Salmon Tartare
- Indian Spiced Salmon Belly
- Salmon Filled Huitlacoche Crepes
- Hot Smoked Salmon Chowder
"We decided to do a gill-to-tail, so you'll taste the whole fish today."
- Head to Tail Whole Salmon
- Bagel & Smoked Salmon
- Salmon & Seafood Broth
- Grilled Salmon with Salmon Chowder
- Salmon Rice
The first fish dish on the
Flay/Valladolid side needed a little less sweet, a little more heat. But
the blend of fish and fruit surprisingly works. But the salmon is front
and center in all of their dishes, and earthy homey flavors prevail over
the lack of aesthetics. The team of Morimoto & Zimmern have taken the
panel on a whirlwind journey through their shared vision and technique.
We truly had the best of both worlds working. Two teams of chefs, two
great collaborations, but alas, they can only be one winner. Whose
cuisine reigns supreme?
... 51-51 in favor of
Iron Chef Bobby Flay & Chef Marcela Valladolid. The
Chairman noted that it was a very narrow margin, with
the heavily-favored team of Morimoto & Zimmern upset on
taste and originality. Flay said the victory came from a
different range. Who are we to argue.
Until next battle, we bid
you good eating.
To see this episode in its entirety, go to