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November 23

November 30

"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 10p ET on Food Network


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Flay vs. Crawford: Battle Peanut
December 9

Editor's Note: What follows is a televised-move-by-televised-move recap. Because a sixty-minute battle, intro, and judgment has to be edited into 45 minutes of airtime, not every move will be shown.

The Challenger: Lynn Crawford, who heads the kitchen as executive chef of the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto. Her restaurant Truffles has received the prestigious AAA 5-Diamond award 12 years running, and tonight, the Contemporary French maestra will have her hands full against Iron Chef Bobby Flay. Canadian chefs seem to have a bone to pick with the Blue Tetsujin.

Prepare for battle.

The Crib Sheet:
Vicki Wells & Dan Mihalko, sous-chefs
Robert Bartley & Lora Kirk, sous-chefs
24 years EXPERIENCE 20 years
Southwestern COOKING STYLE Contemporary Canadian
13-5-1 BATTLE RECORD Challenger

The Theme Ingredient: Runner, Virginia, and Spanish peanuts, in whole, shelled, blanched, roasted and butter form.

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!"

Hope no one's allergic, because Battle Arachis hypogaea is on in Kitchen Stadium America!

About the theme ingredient: the peanut is originally from South America, more specifically the area around Bolivia. The average American consumes about six pounds of peanuts and peanut butter each year.

The Iron Chef starts with ribs, lobster, grapes, and halibut, while the challenger is working celery root, raspberries, veal sweetbreads, and parsnips. Both sides have proteins and aromatics going on to start the battle. After 15 minutes, Flay has a chocolate mixture, while Crawford is melting peanut butter and white chocolate together.

Tonight's Judges:
Culinary author Ted Allen ("Top Chef")
Fashion designer & entrepreneur Marc Ecko
Food critic Jeffrey Steingarten ("The Man Who Ate Everything")

Flay is going to fry the ribs in the wok. Those will go well with hot chili based peanut sauce. Halfway into battle, Dan has dredged halibut fillets in peanuts, Vicki finished a peanut butter sandwich, and there is also a green-onion-peanut mix and a peanut butter custard. Challenger has a peanut-butter-white-chocolate mixture, a peanut butter dough, and smoking sea scallops with peanut shells.

Iron Chef Flay is still basting ribs, halibut is in the skillet, and peanut-butter-coconut-milk is simmering. Challenger Crawford is simmering veal parts with aromatics, and we have a milk-chocolate-peanut mixture spread on a sheet.

More about the theme ingredient: the peanut legume is a crazy little creature. It grows flowers on pegs, and once the flowers die, the pegs continue to grow into the ground. That is where it makes peanuts. They grow best in sandy soil, which is why you see a lot of peanut plants in Georgia (Alton's home state).

Eggs, vanilla bean, peanut butter... ice cream? Crawford is working on onion bhajas. They're also working on peanut butter pasta. Vicki, meanwhile, is preparing the PB sandwiches for frying. Flay is working on a soup. Seems like the challengers are coating everything in peanuts (sort of the lead backup singer). The Iron Chef is not working on a soup, but rather a manner of a sauce. Custard is coming out.

Challenger is working on peanut butter cups, peanut butter pasta, peanut smokes scallops, and peanut coated veal tenderloins on the challengers' side. Iron Chef has peanut butter custard, pan-fried peanut butter sandwiches, and fried okra. Oh, and peanut butter ribs. Yum.

We're coming down to crunch time... literally. Crawford is cutting into her veal tenderloin, while Vicki is rolling her chocolate into beer-battered chocolate peanut balls. Crawford has begun to plate her scallops with sultana raisins, soup, and is beginning on a stir-fry. Flay is plating a peanut-lobster soup and halibut with coconut-curry mixture. Crawford is finishing a pad-thai and veal tenderloin. The ribs on the IC's side... perfect.

"Five minutes to go." The ponit-noir sauce is still reducing on the IC's side. Vicki is firing the peanut-butter creme brulee.

So to sum up, we have on the challenger's side, there's a pad-thai, scallops, peanut soup, peanut butter cups, and veal tenderloins. Iron Chef's got a soup, halibut, the ribs, PB&J french toast, and the creme brulee. And the Chairman's flipping over the desserts... "Three... two... one..." Put it down, walk away, Battle Peanut is done!

Judgment (Crawford): "Who doesn't love peanuts? Pulled out some favorites, childhood memories. We just had fun with peanuts."

- Inverted Pad Thai with Peanut Noodles
- Ants on a Log (Scallops with celery and golden sultanas)
- Indian Peanut Soup
- Peanut Veal Tenderloin with Chocolate Port Sauce
- Molten Chocolate Peanut Cake with raspberry sorbet

Dishes celebrate the peanut as a whole. The palate is left with the peanut afterwards.

Judgment (Flay): "Peanuts is actually an ingredient I love to cook with because it very often is able to play off a lot of ingredients, especially chili peppers."

- Peanut Lobster with Green Chile Soup
- Peanut Crusted Halibut
- BBQ Ribs with Peanut Red Chile Sauce
- Peanut French Toast
- Chocolate Peanut Creme Brulee with Peanut Beignets

Peanut flavor really stands out in the dishes. the ribs drive Marc to tears, he's so happy. The interplay with classic dishes is on display.

But whose cuisine reigns supreme?

Taste 26 22
Plating 11 13
Originality 14 13

... 51-48 in favor of Iron Chef Bobby Flay. There may have been some creative plating from the challenger from the Great White North, but it's taste where the Iron Chef achieved his margin of victory.

Until next time, we bid you good eating.