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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: Mario Batali, Cat Cora, Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto, Michael Symon
Culinary Commentator: Alton Brown
Kitchen Reporter: Kevin Brauch
Creator: Keiichi Tanaka (based upon "Ryori no Tetsujin/Iron Chef")
EP: Eytan Keller, Stephen Kroopnick, Stu Schreiberg
Origin: Kitchen Stadium America, Food Network Studios, New York City
Packager: Triage Entertainment and Fuji TV for Food Network
Airs: Sundays at 9p ET on Food Network


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Flay vs. Iacovone: Battle Langoustine
May 25

The challenger: Bob Iacovone, a Massachusetts native with a degree from the Culinary Instutute of America and a first-level sommelier certificate from the Court of Sommeliers in London. He uses both abilities as executive chef of Cuvee in New Orleans. Today, he crosses knives with Bobby Flay.

Gentlemen, prepare for battle.

The Crib Sheet:
Dan Mihalko & Neil Manacle, sous chefs
Brent Bond & Kim Kringlie, sous chefs
Southwestern COOKING STYLE Contemporary Creole

The Theme Ingredient: live langoustine

The Rules: Each chef must create a five-course meal, 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 ingredient. The chef that best articulates the theme ingredient through his 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 Nephrops Norvegicus is on in Kitchen Stadium. The langoustine, not a lobster, not a shrimp, not a prawn, is a close relative of the freshwater crayfish, an edge to the challenger. They aren't common sights in America, and they don't take long to cook at all which means lots of cooking at the end.... or if you're Bobby Flay, the beginning.

Most people would say the finest langoustine comes from the shores off of Scotland. They're very tender, very juicy, and some would even call them the best shellfish there is. The challenge today will be to see how the chefs will frame that flavor without tromping all over it.

Fifteen minutes into the battle, and we're noticing that Team Iacovone is wearing the fleur-de-lis with the caption "New Orleans Rebirth". His scallop mousse is happening, his spaghetti squash is steaming, and his sous chefs are harvesting roe from those langoustines. Flay counters with raw and blanched langoustines being broken down, black rice cooking down, and chive & chili oils... waiting. Iacovone also have phyllo bowls going into the ovens. Flay has mango butter and a lime vinaigrette.

Tonight's Judges:
Restaurant editor Andrew Knowlton (Bon Appetit magazine)
Restaurateur Donatella Arpaia
Food writer/blogger Ed Levine (

"Thirty minutes have elapsed." Much to the chagrin of Iacovone. He has langoustine broth, watermelon bowls, and squid ink pasta. The Iron Chef has more langoustines prepped, more cheesy grits made, but the wild rice is not ready yet!

Iacovone has strained his broth, taken out his phyllo dough bowls, and is harvesting more langoustine. Flay has made a green onion butter, more langoustines, and the wild rice... still isn't cooked.

Iacovone seems to want to play with bold flavors, including a sauce of roux, langoustine stock, and brandy, a New Orleans barbecue sauce, and a glob of St. Andre cheese. Flay has some boldness of his own with white-cheddar grits, crumbled bacon, saffron broth, and red curry mixtures.

With 10 minutes left, the langoustines are standing by on Flay's side, while Iacovone prepares to plate. It looks like he's about finished with his squid-ink ravioli... Is that ravioli? It's some sort of filled pasta. No, it's a tortelli. He also has coated his BBQ sauce with langoustines. They're going into the phyllo bowls. Flay counters with wild-rice waffles. Wow. He also wants to toss some langoustines with his grits. We're under five...

On the Challenger's side, spaghetti squash and langoustine meatballs, a salad with pasta, and not much else. Flay hopes to counter with a langoustine and microgreen salad. the wild-rice waffle is out as well. Next is the saffron broth, then the lime vinaigrette langoustine. The challenger has a bisque out, but again, little else!

Iacovone has watermelon boats down. Flay has langoustine curry with the waffle. Iacovone has creme brulee, tortelli, the box, the boat, the meatball... still waiting for langoustine for that boat, though, and we are under a minute! Flay has the waffle/curry, salad, saffron, grilled langoustine, and grits. As for Iacovone, he finally plates the langoustine on his watermelon boats with ...

"Five seconds... three... two... one..." Put it down, walk away. Battle Langoustine is over.

Judgment (Iacovone): "We wanted to have fun with it, we wanted y'all to have fun with it. Enjoy the presentations and a little bit of interaction with each plate. Please enjoy."

- Tuna Carpaccio with Poached Langoustines
- Langoustine Creme Brulee
- Langoustine and St. Andre Cheese Tortelli
- Spaghetti and Langoustine Meatballs.
- New Orleans Style BBQ Langoustine Gift Box

Ed is impressed with how perfect the langoustines are cooked and how beautifully the dishes are presented. Donatella believes that the flavors are more separate than they are. Andrew agrees with... Donatella.

Judgment (Flay): "This may be my favorite ingredient. The product was absolutely beautiful, and I'm a huge shellfish fan. To be able to procure these from Scotland was a real treat."

- Crispy Langoustine Salad
- Grilled Langoustines
- Langoustine and Grits
- Steamed Langoustine in Saffron Broth
- Langoustine Curry with Wild Rice Waffle

Ed calls the salad crazy good. Donatella thinks that the most classic way to eat langoustines is not to add anything, which is what Flay did with his second dish. Andrew thinks that the saffron dish is overwhelming.

But whose cuisine reigns supreme? The verdict...

Taste 27 20
Plating 12 10
Originality 12 12

... 51-42 in favor of Iron Chef Bobby Flay. Both chefs drew even in originality, but the Iron Chef dominated with the flavor and appearance of his spread.

Until next time... we bid you good eating.