vs. Casanova: Battle Brook Trout
Today is a
special day in Kitchen Stadium, as the newest Iron Chef
- crowned in the fourth "Next Iron Chef" - earns his
battle stripes for the first time. For this matchup, we
need a suitable opponent...
Chef Victor Casanova, the
executive chef of Culina at the Four Seasons Beverly
Hills. Born and raised in the Bronx, NY, he offers
Tinseltown diners a taste of his traditional Italian
flair. His challenger, a chef of 30 years' culinary
experience as the chef owner of Lambs' Club and the
National in New York City. He is indeed the oldest of
the Chairman's international society of culinary
gladiators... Modern American magician IRON CHEF
Prepare for battle.
Alex Guarnaschelli & Paul Corsentino, sous-chefs
Sean Griffin & Federico Fernandez, sous-chefs
live brook trout.
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 Salvelinus fontinalis is on in Kitchen
Stadium. And like two weeks ago, we start by doing a little bit of fishing. These fishies
are NOT going to go quietly onto that good plate. These are some crazy
Brook trout is native to eastern North
America as opposed to the rainbow trout of the west. Both are members of
the salmon family with a mild flavor that can stand up to heavy
Zakarian is starting with a lot of bacon
and a lot of leeks. And a lot of corn cobs for a little bit of an
application later. Casanova is working on a pasta, but how will that
incorporate the fish? Meanwhile, Federico is juicing cucumber. The Iron
Chef also has pasta going on, while the corn in the earthenware pot is
And as for Casanova's pasta? Trout
ravioli. And the cucumber juice is heading into the blast chiller to
make a gelee.
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
- PR expert Karine Bakhoum (KB Network News)
- Chef & cookbook author Art Smith (Table 52)
- Author/TV personality Jill Zarin ("The Real Housewives of New York
In cutting cucumber on a mandolin bare
knuckled, we notice that the new Iron Chef has a thing for Hello Kitty
bandages (C-Note: I only point that out to please reader Dana N. So...
there you go.)
"Thirty minutes have elapsed." Let's
catch up. Alex's infamous trout soup has begun. But with half of the
battle over, will Zakarian finish it? The challengers has juiced beets,
while the Iron Chef has fried artichoke hearts and smoked trout. As for
the soup? Mussel liquor is down. Challenger is going with a cold smoke
using a smoking fan and a skin adaptation. Zakarian will counter with a
filled ravioli and trout roe.
"Fifteen minutes to go." Trout confit on
the IC's side. Casanova is starting to plate his first dish, a crudo
platter. And Zakarian... has no plates down. Never in the almost
two-decade history of Iron Chef has a new Tetsujin dropped his or her
Casanova has added cream to his saute of
guanciale & onions while Zakarian has stuffed mussels with breadcrumbs
and trout. He also has jello shots of trout, Chef Casanova, going into
the blast chiller. Over 10 minutes to go, and Zakarian has not yet
plated! Wait, here we go.
With 10 minutes to go, Casanova has a
trout sous-vide. Zakarian has a brioche-stuffed fried fish and ravioli,
Casanova is plating his crudo and dropping his pasta and plating fried
fish. Iron Chef calling in for his mussels for a goof on clams casino.
Back to the pasta on Casanova's side, and he's playing on a carbonara.
Zakarian's saffron roe is going down on his controversial soup. That
goes with the mussels casino.
"One minute to go." Casanova has a trout
panna cotta on the cucumber gelee, That finishes their side. And
Zakarian's putting finishing touches on his five... four...
"Three... two... one... " That's time.
Put it down and walk away, Battle Brook Trout is in the books.
TASTING & JUDGMENT
wanted to showcase and riff off of some Italian classics throughout the menu"
- Trout Crudo
- Trout Panna Cotta
- Trout Carbonara
- Trout with Beluga Lentils & Shallots
- Crispy Pan-Fried Trout with Fennel
"Today's meal has to do with texture for me... It's a very natural neutral
- Trout Tartare
- Trout Vichyssoise with Mussels Casino
- Bread and Butter Trout
- Trout Ravioli
- Trout Flan with Gooseberry Corn Salad
Casanova completely redefined Italian
classics with his own unique touch. He said it himself in the tasting
phase: "We're on a roll." the trout didn't start tender, but it was a
home run through the dinner with a shared brilliance throughout the
menu. Zakarian began his tenure as Iron Chef with a "triumph" with "no
misses". But you have the new Iron Chef always with the shared stressor
of winning his first battle. His moves were genius, especially with the
ending course, but will they get him the win? Whose cuisine reigns
... A PERFECT 60 to 53 in favor of
Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian, a stern warning to any
challengers who dare to brave Kitchen Stadium in 2012...
Bring your "A" game.
Until next battle, we bid
you good eating.
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