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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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Forgione vs. Curtin: Battle Tilapia
December 11

The Challenger: Chef Nick Curtin has put in a stint at Noma in Copenhagen, an eatery that earned a #1 ranking from the World's 50 Best Restaurants not once, but twice. At age 23, he launched his first restaurant Compose to rave reviews. Today, he chooses to battle the newest of the Chairman's mantle (until next week, when NIC crowns its newest champion), Iron Chef Marc Forgione.

Prepare for battle.

Kyle Ricks & Alex Redman, sous-chefs
Ben Burakoff & Christopher Zabita, sous-chefs
Modern American COOKING STYLE French

The Theme Ingredient: live tilapia.

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 Tilapia is on in Kitchen Stadium. And we start by doing a little bit of fishing. These fishies are NOT going to go quietly onto that good plate. It's a mild fish that a lot of chefs scoff at, but it takes in a lot of flavors and marries well with other components.

Curtin begins with tomatoes, strawberries, and kombu kelp to boil with tuna shavings for a dashi. Forgione is starting with potatoes. Looks like both chefs will be working from the "all of the above" cabinet. Challenger has strawberries and a salsa with that tomatoes, while Forgione is flipping scallops and mixing teriyaki sauce, mustard oil, and olive oil.

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

Tonight's Judges...
- Actress Julie White ("Transformers: Dark of the Moon")
- Restauranteur John Curtas ("Eating Las Vegas")
- Cookbook author Candice Kumai ("Pretty Delicious")

Forgione is cooking scallops with aromatics and vermouth. We also have black fermented garlic in the blender. Curtin continues to dismantle tilapia and adds on piquillo peppers, orange juice, and bananas. Forgione's scallop mixture continues to cook while he is butchering fish.

"Thirty minutes have elapsed." Let's catch up. Curtin is not going to have time for a planned croquette. Forgione has cauliflower puree, clams steaming, and roasted hazelnuts. Curtin is poaching tilapia with potatoes and almond and pinenuts are toasting. Tilapia continues to be broken down on both sides. We know Curtin will be working a smoke.

The IC is cooking cauliflower with golden raisins. Challenger has a huge slab of bacon, and Alex just broke out the XO sauce with tilapia and lime wrapped in a banana leaf.

Taking time out to recognize the efforts of the sustainable fishing of the theme ingredient done by the students of the Food and Finance High School in New York City. They worked with Cornell University to raise these fish. For more information on their efforts, visit the No Kid Hungry space at ShareOurStrength.org.

"Fifteen minutes to go." Curtin is making a coconut-milk tilapia in the immersion circulator and... ICE CREAM YOU SCREAM. It's a combination of lime and tequila for a sorbet with 13 minutes left. They cold end up with a slush instead. No plating as of yet. We may have a wild finish.

Plating starts with about five minutes left. Curtin has coconut foam/strawberry dashi/sous vide tilapia, a tilapia crudo, smoked tilapia, banana tilapia, and the croquette he didn't have time to do before. Forgione will have a spread of pan-fried fish, bread-crusted, black garlic & clam, fish stick and tartare. That's five. Now it's all about the final touches with... "One minute to go." Thank you, Timekeeper.

If it isn't on the plate, it's not going to be judges. They have to hurry it up.

"Five seconds... three... two... one... " That's time. Put it down and walk away, Battle Tilapia is OVER.


Curtin: "We wanted to express different textures and cooking styles of the tilapia"

- Cured Tilapia with Salsa Verde Water
- Tilapia Croqueta
- Roasted Tilapia with Charred Banana Puree
- Applewood Smoked Tilapia
- Poached Tilapia with Strawberry Dashi

Forgione: His five...

- Tilapia Tartare and Sashimi
- Tilapia Fishstick with Ginger Ketchup
- Tilapia with Black Garlic Clam Jus
- Tilapia En Croute
- Tilapia with White Chocolate Veloute

Five different dishes for the challenger, five different ways of preparing tilapia, each one balanced and nuanced. Forgione also had five, but he continues with his reputation of bold flavors and twisted creative vibes. Who did enough to take the victory today? Whose cuisine reigns supreme?

The verdict...

Taste 22 26
Plating 14 13
Originality 13 13

... 52-49 in favor of Iron Chef Marc Forgione. In aesthetics, both chefs drew to a dead heat, but it is in the category of taste where the Tetsujin earned his margin of victory. But Nick Curtin is young, and hopefully we'll see him again someday.

Until next battle, we bid you good eating.

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