Kaysen: Battle Octopus
The challenger: Chef Gavin Kaysen, a
gifted chef who began his career working at a sandwich shop. He's cooked at
restaurants in Switzerland, London, and California before returning to New York
to open Cafe Boulud, where his seasonal French fare is on display. Kaysen was
also one of eight chefs to participate in season 1 of "The Next Iron Chef".
Today, he returns to KSA to take on the eventual winner of that challenge, Iron
Chef Mike Symon.
Motive... REVENGE. Gentlemen.... Prepare for battle.
The Crib Sheet:
Derek Clayton & Matthew Harlan, sous chefs
Brandon Rodgers & Gregory Stawowy, sous-chefs
The Theme Ingredient:
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 octopus
vulgaris is on! Kaysen is already starting to segment
his cephalopods. The bigger octopi are going to have to
go under pressure if they are to cook within an hour,
hence, the pressure cookers. Symon also has lemon,
cumin, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, red onion... very
zesty. Derek is slicing daikon. Back to Symon's pressure
cooker, he's also adding bromelain and papaya extracts
in vitamin form.
Greg is making black pasta, while Kaysen
is chilling octopus. Symon is locking up his PC, while Brandon is making
tempura. Symon's filling another pressure cooker. Challenger is also
cutting bacon while Kaysen is smoking octopus. We're looking at squid
ink pasta on both sides as well. Kaysen is mixing lime juice, honey, and
gelatin into the blast chiller.
"Fifteen minutes have elapsed."
- Culinary author Alec Lobrano ("Hungry for Paris")
- NASCAR reporter Jamie Little (ESPN/ABC)
- Culinary editor Andrew Knowlton (Bon Appetit magazine)
Lots of pressure cookers giving off lots of steam
from lots of octopi, leading to lots of sweat. Symon has a papaya salad, octopi
braising in a tomato sauce, and a fish sauce is being whisked up. Kaysen has a
lot of sautes himself in the works, one with chorizo, onion & bell pepper, one
with red wine, mushrooms, and tomato, and one with potato, shallots & saffron.
"Thirty minutes have elapsed."
Iron Chef has salami rounds frying in a
skillet, baby octopus in a deep fryer, and a mix of jalapeno, garlic,
parsley, and lime juice in a bowl. The Challenger has rock shrimp,
octopus legs, red pepper flakes, and lemon zest, mussels have been added
to a pot of fennel, and white wine added to chorizo, bell peppers, and
tomato in the Dutch oven. And Symon has already begun plating on his
skordalia, while pernod, fennel and chickenstock have been blended on
Kaysen's side. The challenger has also started plating.
Kaysen is working on an octopus sushi,
while Symon is making squid-ink fettuccine.
"Fifteen minutes to go." Kaysen is
plating his sushi, while Symon is grilling an octopus leg... and the
skin pops off! Smoked octopus is braising in a tomato sauce, Deep fried
octopus is plated on a fish sauce. Kaysen counters with grilled octopus,
frozen octopus slices, and cut-up pressure cooked octopus slicked and
standing by. Iron Chef has a ceviche, octopus head on a plate, and legs
are being skinned. The Challenger is working on his squid-ink pasta, The
octopus-tomato-potato mix is loaded into small cups. Lime gelee is added
to his thin octopus rounds,
Kaysen has started to plate his
octopus-chorizo braise with octopus, while Greg is making an octopus pot
pie. Kaysen is plating his pasta and a civet. Meanwhile, Symon is
plating his octopus ceviche, his fettuccine, and salami rounds. Looks
like he's got smoked octopus, skinless legs, deconstructed soup, trio,
and of course the pasta. That's five.
"One minute to go." Challenger has a pot
pie, the thin round, the pressure cooked octopus, the grilled number,
and the civet. All there's next is the hugging, the drinking, and the
patting down of each other.
"Five seconds... three... two.. one..."
And Battle Octopus is in the books. Now it's all about the judges.
Judgment (Kaysen): "Octopus is one of
thsoe ingredients where you can taste it all over the world, so we really wanted
to take octopus to the level of not only exploring 'le voyage' of world cuisine,
but also to take it to the next element, and also put our inspiration of plating
- Octopus Ceviche
- Squid Ink Layered Pasta with Octopus and Fennel
- Rustic Braised Octopus
- Octopus Pot Pie
- Civet of Octopus
Judgment (Symon): "This is one of the
most beaituful underutilized creatures of the earth. You can do so many things
with it, so many different ways to cook it, and I really wanted to showcase all
- Octopus Trio
- Octopus Soup
- Squid Ink Fettuccine with Octopus
- Octopus "Sausage" with Papaya
- Duo of Smoked and Braised Octopus
Symon called this the most difficult battle that
he has ever had to fight. But will revenge be sweet for Kaysen, or will the Iron
Chef prove that his appointment was no accident? Whose cuisine reigns supreme?
... 55-50 in favor of
Challenger Gavin Kaysen. The challenger said he was out
for revenge and for today, revenge is his, as this
high-scoring bout ends in a victory for Symon's former
rival. Enjoy this victory, because the next challenger
is going to feel the sting that the Iron Chef is feeling
today. I guess revenge is indeed a dish that is best
Until next time... we bid you good eating.
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