Excoffier: Battle Dorade
The challenger: Chef Phillippe Excoffier,
executive chef of the residence of Craig Robert Stapleton, the US ambassador to
France. During season 1 of "Next Iron Chef", the chef and ambassador made his
kitchen available for the contestants. Now he returns the favor by doing battle
here in Kitchen Stadium against Iron Chef Bobby Flay.
Gentlemen.... Prepare for battle.
The Crib Sheet:
JC Pavlovich & James Cummins, sous chefs
Lionel Veillet & Yannis Sallard, sous-chefs
The Theme Ingredient:
Freshly caught dorade from waters off the coast of
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 Dorade is on!
The dorade, or the gilthead, is a fish that is roughly
new to American shores, but is popular in French,
Moroccan, and Mediterranean cuisine. It's a member of
the bream family. It's relatively small. The flesh is
white to light pink. It's becoming the darling of New
York-based chefs, and it's the "it" fish of the moment.
Excoffier is basting his
fish in white wine while his team is making potatoes,
which are being sliced into a bowl with more wine in it.
Meanwhile, JC is making a "piquillo paint". He'll also
roll up the fish tamale style. Excoffier has made fish
stock to counter. Meanwhile, most of the dorade is
standing by on both side. Flay also has cauliflower
cooking in stock, tomatoes in a skillet, and his
signature oils. Excoffier has rounds and tarts of dough
into the oven.
"Fifteen minutes have elapsed."
- Food author Michael Ruhlman ("The Elements of Cooking")
- Journalist Jenna Wolfe ("Sunday Today")
- Culinary editor Andrew Knowlton (Bon Appetit magazine)
Challenger is sauteeing some of the belly of the
fish while making a pate-a-choux. The Iron Chef is countering by finalizing his
fish count. JC's knifework is on display as he reduces a mango to a brunoise,
while Excoffier is breaking out cockles. He'll be making a dorade/crabmeat
tartare as well.
"Thirty minutes have elapsed."
The home team is making dorade in
cornhusks and pounded out flat. The away team is making stock, searing,
and pureeing fish. Excoffier is also making cucumber balls, watermelon
orbs, and a tomato salad. Flay has sauce after sauce after sauce.
Excoffier is cutting his fish fillets into diamond shapes, and Flay is
making some cockles on his own. His lobster that he was parboiling since
the beginning of the battle is now out and being cut into a salad. And
Excoffier is using his grill to grill the fish whole, possibly the best
way to enjoy the fish.
"Fifteen minutes to go." Iron
Chef is pan-searing and butter-poaching his fish and the fish tamales
are standing by. Challenger has grilled, pureed, and chopped his fish.
It all has to hit plates soon. Over the break, all of Flay's sauces are
done. Excoffier has blended his vegetables for perhaps a gazpacho. He's
also made deep-fried mussels and a curry sauce. Flay has a batter for
frying and his pounded out waiting for its final destination.
Remember Excoffier's diamond dorades?
They've been spiced and encrusted and now they're being sauteed on a
honey sauce with seven minutes to go. He's finally plating that with
cockles. Flay is also sauteing the fish in soy vinaigrette. Excoffier is
plating his scaled potato dorade. Dorade tartare with gazpacho is also
down. Flay is plating his cioppino stew and carpaccio.
"Three minutes to go." Flay's skin-on
fish is going on cucumber sauce. Excoffier is visibly shaking while
plating whole fish. And the fish mousse with porcini and potato dorade
is also down. Flay wants his paint for his fish.
"One minute to go." Excoffier has the
tartare, diamond fish, whole fish, potato fish and deep-fried item...
but where's the souffle? Flay has deep-fried fish... skin-on fish,
butter-poached item, corn-husk tamale, and the carpaccio. And the clock
is winding down with Excoffier finally plating his souffle.
"Five seconds... three... two.. one..."
And Battle Dorade is OVER! Put it down, walk away.
Judgment (Excoffier): "My approach is
to try to show you a different way of preparing the fish, and different sizes
and different tastes."
- Dorade Tartare with Gazpacho
- Caramelized Honey Dorade
- Curried Dorade Souffle
- Dorade with Potato Scales served with Asparagus and Mushroom Mousse
- Grilled Dorade with Herbs
Judgment (Flay): "I thought the dorade was
a beautiful ingredient, and I wanted to enhance the natural flavor and texture
of the fish."
- Hot Dorade Ceviche
- Dorade Grilled in Corn Husks
- Butter-Poached Dorade with Cioppino
- Crispy Dorade Fillet with Sour Orange Vinaigrette
- Dorade with Cauliflower Sauce
Excoffier's food starts out a little
difficult to eat. It might've been too much of one dish or too little of
another. As for the Iron Chef... it's classic Bobby Flay. Brash, loud,
bold... but essentially with few techniques, fish with three sauces.
But whose cuisine reigns supreme? The verdict...
... 48-46 in favor of
Iron Chef Bobby Flay. The Frenchman may have had the
better plates and the better ideas, but in the end, it
is taste where the Black Tetsujin has made his margin of
Until next time, we bid
you good eating.
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