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Season 10
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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
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 & Fujisankei Communications Inc. 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. Symon: Holiday Battle Fruitcake
December 4

The Challenger: Tonight is a special one-on-one between two of the grand masters of Kitchen Stadium, as Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto renews an old rivalry with Iron Chef Mike Symon, dating back to season two of the US series before he was appointed to replace Honorary IC Batali (Morimoto won THAT one). And the theme? A holiday wonderland, an instant edge to Morimoto, who is undefeated in Christmas battles dating back to the original "Ryori no Tetsujin" in Japan.

Prepare for battle.

Derek Clayton & Katie Pickens, sous-chefs
Jeffrey Lunak & Ariki Omae, sous-chefs
Mediterranean COOKING STYLE Neo-Japanese

The Theme Ingredient: ... I kid you not, AB's custom "free-range fruitcakes" from the "Good Eats" episode, "It's A Wonderful Cake". The recipe is available at foodnetwork.com OR in one of AB's "Good Eats" books.

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 Holiday Battle Fruitcake is on in Kitchen Stadium. Already starting out strange, as both chefs are accustomed to battling on Stadium Left. Symon ends up on Stadium Right. As friends, they will draw passion and inspiration from each other. As allies, they'll tackle what has to be a cloyingly sweet ingredient (C-Note: sorry, Alton). As rivals, they know that only one can win.

Morimoto is starting to marinate the cake in soy sauce and tamari. Symon's starting to work on a waffle, while Morimoto is working on a duck ball with fruitcake as well as what looks like a red snapper. Being stuffed with fruitcake. Symon counters with heavily spices duck breasts and lardons.

"Fifteen minutes have elapsed." Time to meet...

Tonight's Judges...
- Cookbook author Candice Kumai ("Pretty Delicious")
- Winemaker Karl Wente (Entwine)
- Restauranteur Donatella Arpaia Stewart

Symon has bacon, egg, fruitcake, and other items for a dumpling. Morimoto is covering his akamutsu fish with XO sauce and fruitcake. He ends up steaming that number. Symon grinds fruitcake, orange zest, pork butt, and mint. That is for his own custom sausage.

"Thirty minutes have elapsed." Let's catch up. First of all.. no ice cream maker in action. Morimoto is making a soft tofu, while he's rolling AB's cake into rice rolls and dumping it onto tuna. Symon's sausage is going into a poach. Basically we have surf vs. turf. Morimoto could be making some beef carpaccio, while Jeffrey is making a consomme and taking out Morimoto's washugyu poached in duck fat. That's a cross between Wagyu beef and black Angus beef.

"Fifteen minutes to go." We're starting to see what the dishes are going to look like. Symon is searing duck, tossing speck and and beans in a pan, and finishing his dumplings and his quail on waffles. Morimoto is prepping eel, steak, akamutsu snapper, chicken & waffles, and shaved ice. Symon also has a grilled cheese number with taleggio. Katie is working on a caramel sauce and a duck.

Morimoto's first dish is coming together, eel on rice. And his second, tofu with sauce. Symon has his duck plate, sausage, and dumplings.... and fruitcake bread pudding. It's components all over the place, as they're going to somehow come up with five dishes in the last minute.

Morimoto has a meringue flower arrangement. That'll have to outdo Symon's quail with waffles, dumplings, duck, sausage, and bread pudding. Morimoto has his dessert with coffee, akamutsu, chicken & waffles, eel on rice, and his steak course. That's five on both and...

"Five seconds... three... two... one... " That's time. Put it down and walk away, Battle Fruitcake is in the books.


Morimoto: "We eat fruitcake all year round."

- Trio of Beef and Sushi
- Duck Meatball Soup
- Seafood Fruitcake Duo
- Hot Rice Bowl with Eel and New York Strip
- Fruitcake Dessert Tasting - Shaved Ice, Fresh Tofu, Espresso Fruitcake, and Chocolate Truffle

Symon: "[The fruitcake was] much like Alton... sweet and nutty."

- Quail with Fruitcake Waffle
- Fruitcake Bread Dumpling with Bacon
- Roasted Duck with Fruitcake Croutons
- Fruitcake Pork & Beans with Grilled Cheese
- Fruitcake Bread Pudding with Zabaglione

Morimoto did not use any sweetening agent in his courses. All of the sweetness comes with the fruitcake. As per usual, his creativity is on full display. Symon's main mission, balance the sweet with the savory. He played it straight forward. But it's all in the hands of the judges. Will Symon finally even up the score, or will Morimoto's holiday battle record remain intact? Whose cuisine reigns supreme?

The verdict...

Taste 27 29
Plating 13 14
Originality 11 13

... 56-51 in favor of Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. Certainly no shame in losing to the master, says Symon, with a promise that one day their rivalry will heat up the kitchen anew.

Until next battle, we bid you a happy and hearty holiday eating.

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