Freitag: Battle King Crab
The challenger: Amanda Freitag,
who was encouraged by her home-ec teacher to enter the culinary field.
She started as a bus-girl, and upon graduating from the Culinary
Institute of America, she interned at various eateries in the New York
area before being called to head up the kitchen at the Harrison in New
York's Greenwich Village. The chef will draw knives against her fellow
New Yorker... Iron Chef Bobby Flay.
Prepare for battle.
The Crib Sheet:
Peter Hansen & Tara Keeler, sous chefs
Justin Ernsberger & Ariane Duarte, sous chefs
The Theme Ingredient:
Alaskan king crab.
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 King Crab is on! Interesting thing about the
crabs here as they have six legs instead of eight. Both
sides start by separating the legs. The challenger is
also working on veal and Yukon Gold potatoes, while Flay
is working on some red pepper, chorizo sausage, and his
own garlic paste.
story... An original sous-chef has had to bow out for
Freitag, so Justin is in... but the thing about
Justin... he's allergic to crab. Over time... he took
his gloves off. Really?
"Fifteen minutes have
The Iron Chef has cracked
crab, while filleting Alaskan salmon and making gravy.
The challenger has been breaking down veal for stuffed
chops while a pasta dough continues to mix. Over the
break, Flay has been prepping ginger, while Freitag has
been pouring maple syrup on Canadian bacon (which is
more of a loin than a belly and thus is leaner than
American bacon) and adding lemon-lime juice into an
- TV host/anchor Maggie Rodriguez ("The Early Show")
- Restaurateur/NFL commentator Keyshawn Johnson (ESPN)
- Culinary author Domenica Catelli ("Mama-licious")
And Freitag is working
some chilies, because, and now I'm quoting here, "If
you're going to challenge Bobby Flay, you gotta have
"Thirty minutes have
Flay has been working
with both coconuts and coconut milk. He's also working
on chili oil and crab cakes. Freitag is countering with
pasta, stuffed veal, and fennel. Flay is also hollowing
out cucumbers and cooking rice in crab broth. Now he
shucks oysters and making friends with a crawfish.
Freitag has grabbed crab
cookie cutters and is working puff pastry. Meanwhile,
plates are coming. And Bobby Flay... has made TWO trips
to the pantry, and both times he's forgotten why he was
"Fifteen minutes to go."
Freitag, who's been playing all battle long, is starting
to get her serious face on as she and her team struggle
to start a dish all over again late in the battle. Flay,
meanwhile, has crab cakes ready with a poach in pinot
noir and a seafood gumbo. Freitag has a crab salad with
avocado mousse, asparagus, and an emulsion of sorts.
Flay also has okra frying, hazelnuts chopping, and crab
cakes plating. Meanwhile the challenger is giving her
spaghetti a toss and working a clam chowder, while
Justin is making more crab to replace a dish... a crab
An egg poached in pinot
noir joins Flay's crab cake. Freitag's pancake's done.
On top, Canadian bacon, crab, and a poached egg. Flay
also has seafood gumbo with crab rice. Freitag puts her
veal chop on top of asparagus with béarnaise. Flay also
has fried green tomatoes, while Freitag is topping her
spaghetti with toasted panko. Tomato on Flay's side will
join a crab salad. Freitag has crab chowder with the
cookie. Flay's coconut is serving as a bowl for a soup
of sorts. His salmon is now on a plate with a hot
And Amanda Freitag... is
done with the salad, the chowder, the spaghetti, the
veal, and the pancake.
"One minute to go." And
Bobby Flay is not done yet! He's got the salmon, the
fried green tomato, the gumbo, the crabcake, and the
wild mushroom curry.
"Five seconds... three...
two... one..." Okra down in time. Battle King Crab...
Judgment (Freitag): "My inspiration was to
do a twist on some old classics, and make them new
- King Crab Salad with Avocado Mousse
- King Crab Chowder
- King Crab and Fresh Spaghetti
- King Crab with Green Eggs and Ham
- King-Crab-Stuffed Veal Chop
Judgment (Flay): "This is one of the best
ingredients ever, and I just tried to show off its
beauty in its simplest form."
- King Crab and Salmon
- King Crab and Fried Green Tomato Salad
- King Crab Cake with Pinot Noir Poached Egg
- King Crab Red Curry
- King Crab Gumbo
But whose cuisine reigns supreme? The verdict...
... 50-49 in favor of
Iron Chef Bobby Flay. Taste wins this battle by a razor
thin margin of one! But props to the challenger as
Amanda Freitag has proven herself to be one not to take
lightly in the future.
Until next time... we bid you good eating.