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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
Packager Triage Entertainment & Fuji TV for Food Network
Origins Kitchen Stadium America, Food Network Studios New York
Airs 10p Sun, Food
Available Streaming Online

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Flay vs. Excoffier: Battle Dorade
July 5

The challenger: Chef Sue Torres, whose passion for Mexican food led her to open her own authentic Mexican eatery in New York City, Suenos. Today, she'll put her dreams on the line against like-minded master, Iron Chef Bobby Flay.

Prepare for battle.

The Crib Sheet:
Vicki Wells & JC Pavlovich, sous chefs
Jeff Baruch & Jorge Torres, sous-chefs
American Southwest COOKING STYLE Authentic Mexican

The Theme Ingredient: Yellow, baby yellow fingerling & baby red bananas and green, yellow, sweet & black plantains

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 or her 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 Banana is on! Torres starts by boiling black plantains, while Flay is adding molasses to a bunch of plantains. Both chefs are working with peppers, while Torres is heating hers to intensify the flavors. And since it's Bobby Flay, we have red and green oils already being blended. Torres is breaking down yellowfin tuna, sushi grade, and some halibut. The sweet-plantain-molasses mix is in Flay's food pro. Meanwhile, Jeff is cleaning some prawn and slicing plantain for chips... actually, they're going to be tortillas. Vicki said the three magic words: banana ice cream. And we have bananas, why not banana leaves? The plantain-molasses is going into there for a tamale.

"Fifteen minutes have elapsed." Flay has grilled pineapple, while Torres has prepped chili powder. Torres is also cooking Mexican chorizo, while working on grapefruit. Flay is chopping chilies and straining herb oil.

Tonight's Judges:
- Food author Mark Bittman ("How To Cook Everything")
- Food author Isabel Gonzalez ("Entertaining Chic")
- TV host/fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi ("The Fashion Show")

Flay's banana ice cream is going into the chiller, while both kitchens are working on pineapples and prawns. Lots of similarities coming into play. Torres has cinnamon, corn, and plantain tortillas. Very interesting indeed.

"Thirty minutes have elapsed." Flay has baby bananas cooking, a spice mixture flambeing, and a banana pineapple salsa standing by. Banana puree on the challengers' side is chilling, while avocado and grapefruit are standing by. Her tortilla machine is working overtime, while pork is being marinated in chili and bananas, and cheese is grated. Flay counters with a banana-coconut tapioca pudding, banana on phyllo dough, and couscous with five-spice is standing by.

And Jorge... fried green plantains. JC counters with sauced bananas, Flay is working on a banana curry... and we have a problem on the challenger's side, as overcooked pork goes in the bin. Flay continues to work on his curry, while Vicki adds caramelized hazelnuts onto her ice cream.

"Fifteen minutes to go." Some cubed pineapple with onions and cilantro makes for a nice salsa on Torres' side. She also chops some more for a saute. She's also making a roll-up with some of that boiled platano with cheese and chorizo. Flay has banana-coconut-caramel wraps, a banana curry, and an ice cream. Torres has a mixed-berry sauce and a banana dumpling. Flay's black-bean puree is finish, while Torres' chili sauce is finishing up. No plates, though...

Flay's tamales are almost done, while Torres is chopping pork and cooling her passionfruit puree, though time is folding upon itself.

"Ten minutes to go." Plates are starting to come down. Torres has caramelized bananas on one, shrimp and dumpling on another. Flay has down a tamale with duck confit and rum banana sauce. Torres plates her pork, her plantain taco, chayote. Flay has his curry down with couscous and a prawn and snapper with pineapple relish. The ice cream and the tapioca pudding will round his presentation out. As for Torres, she's still having problems with the passionfruit sauce. She plates it on her taco. We also has a dumpling, a halibut, the dessert, and... she's still plating at 30 seconds... 15.... 10...

"Five seconds...  three... two... one.. " Battle Banana is history. Now to the judging.

Judgment (Flay): "The conventional bananas needed to be treated very much with respect. The plantains are very versatile. They can be soft and mashed."

- Plantain Crusted Snapper
- Banana Curry
- Plantain Tamale
- Banana Dessert Duo
- Banana Sundae

Judgment (Torres): "Bananas are such a fun fruit for me anyway. You have to have the best, ripest bananas you can possibly use, and the green ones have to have the right amount of starch."

- Plantain Taco with Tuna
- Tacos al Pastor
- Plantain Gordita with Shrimp
- Plantain Crusted Halibut
- Caramelized Banana

Flay showed his versatility in flavors and textures. His mastery of flavor textures on display. Torres, on the other hand, was very creative in the use of the theme ingredient.

But who's the top banana? Whose cuisine reigns supreme? The verdict...

Taste 26 23
Plating 12 12
Originality 14 13

... 52-48 in favor of Iron Chef Bobby Flay. Sue Torres put up an amazing fight, but in the end, it wasn't enough to match the well-calculated moves of the black Tetsujin. Just shows you, time flies like a dream... fruit flies like a banana.

Until next time, we bid you good eating.

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