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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 10p ET on Food Network


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Cora vs. Lahlou: Battle Redfish
March 1

The challenger: Mourad Lahlou, a rare combatant who does not have a formal culinary education. While studying economics at San Francisco State, this native of Morocco realized that cooking from his homeland was his true calling. Today, he is the owner and executive chef at Aziza in San Francisco. He calls out the grand dame of Kitchen Stadium, Iron Chef Cat Cora...

Prepare for battle.

The Crib Sheet:
Ed Cotton & Matthew "Matt" Hudak, sous chefs
James Syhabout & Marty Cattaneo, sous chefs
Greek-Aegean COOKING STYLE Moroccan

The Theme Ingredient: Redfish

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 Redfish is go! Interesting thing about this fish. Until the 70s and 80s, this was considered a trash fish until a little guy by the name of Paul Prudhomme started blackening it. Within 10 years, it was almost extinct. Now that it's being farmed, it's off the list... The same cannot be said for THESE specimens.

Redfish is often recognized by the black spot in the upper part of the tail base which experts believe evolved there in order to trick predators into biting the wrong end of the fish.

"Five minutes have elapsed."

And it's eerily quiet as the challenger starts on Thumbelina carrots, while Lahlou starts scoring fish which may be cooked and stuffed whole.

Words from the challenger: "I got all the ideas that I used in my kitchen from Morocco, and I add new stuff to it from California. I just try to find a balance between the old and the new."

And for Cat Cora... Beer batter can only mean... Fish & Chips. Both sides are also cooking the fish skins, while the Challenger has lemon slices, sweet tomatoes, sugar, and brown sugar, while Cora is countering with macerating fruit. Also on the IC's boat: a redfish mousse. Challenger has redfish and lamb's quarters. Cora is countering with basil seeds, spinach, and porcini mushrooms. Lahlou has sliced red onion, shellfish, and preserved lemons.

Tonight's Judges:
- Food blogger Ed Levine (
- Food editor Antoinette Bruno (
- Food writer Trevor Corson ("The Story of Sushi")

And Cora has... liquid nitrogen. And in it... ketchup potato lozenges. Lahlou is making a charmoula sauce and black garlic. Cora and Lahlou are working on redfish whole, redfish mousse, redfish fins, and redfish skins. To recap, Cora has candied fins, frozen ketchup pods being deep fried, and soy milk skins. Lahlou has whole redfish, redfish mousse, and redfish pieces in an onion-spice mixture.

"Thirty minutes have elapsed."

Cora has orzo being cooked in a stock of some type and redfish is being teriyaki-glazed and baked. Lahlou is cooking morels and fregula... not necessarily in the same pot. The Iron Chef's candied watermelon comes out of its vacuform bag. And both chefs are offering dueling noodles: glass noodles with harissa for the challenger, and harusame for the Iron Chef. The fregula on the challenger has to be restarted.

And if that isn't enough pressure, Cora is plating. Looks like fish and chips. And with sudachi and a yuzu beurre blanc on her side, it looks like Cora is playing out of Morimoto's playbook... again.

Now Lahlou is breaking out phyllo. 

"Fifteen minutes to go." The battle is coming together. Iron Chef has plated two dished: a fish-skin salad with pickled watermelon and fish & chips. Challenger is marinating fish, while squash blossoms are being fried. Cora has also pounded flat fish, avocado mix, and yuba skin. Mourad has glass noodles and lamb's quarters have gone on top of phyllo, and both an herb broth and tomato jam have been plated.

"Ten minutes to go." Cora is also plating yuzu beurre blanc. Mourad is making a redfish wrap, while there's steamed fish elsewhere. Challenger is garnishing fried fish, while Cora is plating whole fish with the orzo. Challenger is plating pickled redfish escabeche. Iron Chef also has an escabeche Japanese style, called a nanban-zuke.

"Five minutes to go." We have fish on a bed of salt and leaves on a cutting board. Looks like both chefs will have a wrap, a whole fish, and an escabeche. Cora is also going to have a salad and fish & chips.

"One minute to go." Mourad has beignets and couscous joining his five. But they have only 10 seconds to fix is dish...

"Five seconds... three... two... one..." Battle Redfish... done.

Judgment (Lahlou): "I really just wanted to use redfish in so many ways and manners to let it shine on the plate. We're going to take you from the coldest dish we're going to serve today to the hottest."

- Redfish Scabech
- Redfish Beignets
- Steamed Redfish with Couscous
- Roasted Redfish Charmoula Style
- Redfish Basteeya

Judgment (Cora): "My inspiration was to show you the versatility of the redfish. And I wanted to take you on a trip around the world."

- Redfish Skin Salad with Watermelon
- Redfish & Chips
- Citrus-Cured Redfish
- Duo of Redfish (Redfish Sous Vide & Pasta Roll)
- Redfish Nanban Zuke
- Teriyaki Redfish

Cora has the one-dish advantage, but whose cuisine reigns supreme? The verdict...

Taste 23 26
Plating 11 14
Originality 11 12

... 52-45 in favor of Challenger Mourad Lahlou. The Iron Chef has put up a valiant effort, but dish for dish, Lahlou scored a three-way sweep.

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