vs. Knibb: Battle Caviar
Chef Jason Knibb, born in
Jamaica, raised in Southern California, and reared on
the stylings of Wolfgang Puck and Roy Yamaguchi. Today,
he heads the kitchen at San Diego eatery Nine-Ten. He
will cross knives with the master among masters, Iron
Chef Bobby Flay.
Prepare for battle.
Renee Forsberg & Christine Sanchez, sous-chefs
Jack Fisher & Kathy Jeon, sous-chefs
varieties of caviar, including sturgeon, salmon, and trout. The most
expensive ingredient ever offered in Kitchen Stadium.
The Rules: Each chef 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 chef 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 MONEY is on in Kitchen
Knibb starts with cauliflower. Flay
starts with his strategy, "vessels" for the caviar. Two of those will be
lobster and salmon.
Jack has just turned the ice cream
machine on. Flay's side is making compound butter, while both sides are
working yeast into something. Both sides are also working on their
blenders, but for what remains to be seen.
"Fifteen minutes have elapsed." Time to
- Actress Cady Huffman (#4 on all-time appearances on ICA)
- Food writer Simon Majumdar ("The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs")
- Food writer Laura Calder ("French Food at Home" on Cooking Channel)
Flay is breaking down tuna, while Renee
is pounding on her lobster. THE ICE CREAM MACHINE is belching forth its
creme fraiche goodness with American sturgeon caviar in the mix.
"Thirty minutes have elapsed." Let's
catch up. Flay has soft-shelled tempura crabs, diced cucumber, and
roasted corn, shallots, white wine, and cream in a blender. Knibb has a
vinaigrette, thin potatoes, and caviar-infused pasta in strips. Flay may
be working on a sandwich with the crabs, while Knibb is making a potato
salad and some tempura cauliflower with thinly sliced fingerling
And it turns out that his sandwich was
just a snack for himself and his brigade.
Knibb is plating his first with scallops,
tempura cauliflower, caviar creme fraiche, and a dollop of American
"Fifteen minutes to go." Knibb has added
American caviar to the skillet of caviar-infused pasta, has cut
fingerling and mixed with Vadouvan curry aioli. Flay counters with
buckwheat blini, ricotta-basil stuffed blossoms, and diced scallops,
parsley, and piquillo peppers.
We're coming down to the homestretch.
Both sides are going to have a pancake. Knibb has pasta with caviar
orbs, creme-fraiche ice cream, an open-faced sandwich, and the pasta.
Flay has corn and avocado soups, a salad on sea-urchin toast, tuna
sandwich with eggs, and squash blossoms and lobster.
And you probably already know this, but
Bobby Flay LOVES caviar.
"Five seconds... three... two... one... "
And Battle Caviar is history. Put it down and walk away.
TASTING & JUDGMENT
Flay: "On the
face of it, caviar seems to be an exciting ingredient, but when you think about
it, putting direct heat on it is going to give it a real metallic flavor. So the
idea was to create vehicles that sort of enhance the flavor and the texture."
- Corn Soup and Avocado Soup
- Sea Scallop Tartare
- Buckwheat Blini with Caviar
- Lobster & Caviar-Squash Stuffed Blossom
- Tuna Steak and Eggs
"To bring out the flavor of the caviar, putting it as the focal point of
- Caviar Pancake Breakfast
- Caviar & Curry Potato Salad
- Caviar Tagliatelle with Caviar Sphere
- Seared Maine Sea Scallops with Caviar Beurre Blanc
- Creme Fraiche & Caviar Ice Cream
In the end, Flay started with something
classic and built upon it. He had a very layered panel, and the judges
could taste each and every layer. Visually Knibb had some stumbling
points, but in the end, it's taste that matters. The judges seem to be
at odds with each other over the caviar, but there can only be one
winner. Will it be Knibb's original creations or Flay's bold flavors?
Whose cuisine reigns supreme? The verdict...
... 44-38 in favor of
Iron Chef Bobby Flay. The score tells the tale as Bobby
Flay sweeps all three categories handily.
Until next battle, we bid
you good eating.
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