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"Our ultimate competition is with ourselves. That is what my uncle told me when I would visit him as a young boy... 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") Mark Dacascos
Iron Chefs Bobby Flay
Marc Forgione
Jose Garces
Masaharu Morimoto
Michael Symon
Geoffrey Zakarian
Culinary Commentator Alton Brown
Floor Reporter Kevin Brauch
Creator Keiichi Tanaka (based upon "Ryori no Tetsujin/Iron Chef")
EP Eytan Keller
Stephen Kroopnick
Stu Schreiberg
Packager Triage Entertainment & Fuji TV for Food Network
Origins Kitchen Stadium America, Food Network Studios New York
Web foodnetwork.com/ica
Airs 10p ET Sun, Food
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Morimoto vs. Bogle: Battle Paiche
February
19

The Challenger: Chef Justin Bogle, executive chef of Gilt in New York City at the Palace Hotel. He worked through the ranks from busboy to a Michelin-double-starred chef at 28. The Modern American Master will go up against the god of pan-global Japanese... Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto.

Prepare for battle.

BOGLE
Derek Clayton, sous-chef
VS MORIMOTO
Naikan "Kang" Kuan, sous-chef
Modern American COOKING STYLE Japanese

The Theme Ingredient: Freshly caught paiche. Already an advantage as Morimoto is almost if not totally flawless in fish battles.

The Rules: Each chef must create a five-course dinner, 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 theme ingredient. The chef that best articulates the theme 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 Paiche is ON! This is a very unusual fish, very large, most sought after in South America. It doesn't breathe with gills, and yet it doesn't have lungs. It is also the world's largest scaled freshwater fish. Some experts believe that this fish dates back a couple hundred million years.

Tonight's Judges...
- Restauranteur/cookbook writer Donatella Arpaia
- Seafood expert Ben Sargent (Cooking Channel's "Hook Line & Dinner")
- PR specialist Karine Bakhoum (KB Network News)

Now Morimoto goes into this battle with something to prove, having dropped his last battle, Battle Wild Boar, to fellow Iron Chef Mike Symon.

TASTING & JUDGMENT

Bogle: "Take the techniques and implement it. I hope it came through."

- Paiche Tiradito with Shiso
- Paiche Escabeche
- Paiche with Corn and Sunflower
- Pumpernickel-Crusted Paiche
- Grilled Paiche in Pork Broth

Morimoto: "So it's a nice fish, but there's not a lot of character in the meat. It needed a lot of seasoning, so in my preparations, I tried to be playful with it."

- Paiche Four Ways (Paiche Skin Kimchi, Paiche Caprese Salad, Paiche with White Miso & Dashi, and Paiche Ceviche)
- Morimoto Paiche Lunch Box (Paiche Pizza and Grilled Fish Bahn Mi Sandwich)
- Spicy Soup with Paiche Tofu
- Paiche Bibimbap
- Fried and Angry Paiche

The flavor of the fish is heightened by the preparations that Bogle has implemented, but the ingredient overall proved to be a bit difficult. The skin remained too chewy, but the depth of technique is on display in full force in the challenger's five. Once again, Morimoto took nothing and turned it into a rainbow of flavors and textures, but he too had a bit of issue with the chewiness of the fish. Some of the spices are a tad overpowering. Will that cost him, or does he have enough of that X factor in each of his different dishes to turn the tide? Whose cuisine reigns supreme?

The verdict...

CHALLENGER IRON CHEF
Taste 21 30
Plating 12 15
Originality 10 15

... 60-43 in favor of Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. The good name of the Iron Chef is renewed with A PERFECT SCORE! Not just a perfect score, Morimoto's FIRST perfect 60 doing battle in Kitchen Stadium America. That. Is a comeback. Goes to show you that no fish is safe under the knives of Masaharu Morimoto.

Until next battle, we bid you good eating.

To see this episode in its entirety, go to www.foodnetwork.com/ica.