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January 1

"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 Cat Cora
Bobby Flay
Jose Garces
Masaharu Morimoto
Michael Symon
Culinary Commentator Alton Brown
Floor 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
Web foodnetwork.com/ica
Airs 10p Sun, Food
Available In High-Definition Where AvailableStreaming Online

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Flay/Comerford vs. Batali/Lagasse: Super Chef Battle
January 3

The Chairman has dispatched two of his warriors and one special guest superchef to Washington, DC to pick up his latest challenger, Chef Cristeta Comerford, for what will go down in history as a momentous occasion in Iron Chef history. And this time, the secret ingredient is of national importance. And so is the special guest.

We start with Alton Brown given a) an envelope that says "Open Later", and b) instructions to head with his superchefs, Iron Chef Mario Batali, Iron Chef Bobby Flay, and superchef Emeril Lagasse, to meet Chef Comerford at her kitchen in Washington, DC. The address... 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. The White House.

First, Comerford introduces the team to First Lady Michelle Obama, who has planted a vegetable garden on the South Lawn, using it as a tool to teach children about healthy eating. To that end, she will present the secret ingredient for today...

The Theme Ingredient: ANYTHING from the White House garden, including several varieties of vegetables and fruits, and Presidential honey. In addition, the Chairman has sources sustainable American proteins including pork shoulder, heritage turkey, oysters, bay scallops, goat cheese, and cider vinegar

And the envelope that says "OPEN LATER"... "Chefs: the First Lady has spoken, and soon you will return to Kitchen Stadium to produce a fantastic meal that will inspire America." Iron Chef Flay will team with Comerford, while Iron Chef Batali will cook alongside Lagasse. "Please gather your ingredients wisely, because more surprises await you in Kitchen Stadium."

Batali and Legasse use a little bit of strategy, taking the tomatillos before Flay can get a change, while Flay & Comerford grab a bunch of greens and, as First Lady Obama mentioned, "one or two sweet potatoes".

Okay, now to business...

The Crib Sheet:
Tommy Kurpradit, sous-chef
Anne Burrell, sous-chef
Southwestern/Modern American COOKING STYLE Italian/New Orleans

Back in Kitchen Stadium, Comerford is apprised of the rules...

The Rules: Each team of chefs must create a five-course meal, with each course utilizing the theme ingredient, within 60 minutes. In addition, each chef team's menus must reflect the melting pot of American cuisine and Mrs. Obama's message of freshly sourced, local, healthy eating. 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 team of chef that best articulate the theme ingredient through their dishes wins.

The battle clock is set at 60 minutes, which will start when Alton, with full heart and empty stomach, utters the words of his dear Chairman.... "Allez cuisine!"

And the Super Chef Battle is underway! Pork and turkey are vanishing from the altar and the chefs are getting started.  Also, joining Kevin Brauch on the floor is "Chopped" host Ted Allen. Ted will comment on Flay & Comerford, and Batali & Lagasse will be monitored by Kevin. Team Batali is going to work on two separate dishes and one collabo. Team Flay wants to put the ingredients at the forefront.

Tonight's Judges
- Food writer Nigella Lawson
- Actress/artist Jane Seymour
- Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin

Comerford is zesting citrus into her battle, which goes into a blast chiller, while Lagasse is making himself some dirty rice. Flay has cherry tomatoes for a barbecue sauce. Batali is slicing some icicle radishes.

Ten minutes into the battle, and Flay & Comerford have broken down cauliflower and made an apple gastrique. In the Batali-Lagasse party, we've sliced sweet potatoes and grated celery root. Anne, meanwhile, is cooking a carrot beignet. Tommy is countering with a scallop mousse. Batali also douses some local quail with some White House honey. And someone's making chicory coffee... has to be Lagasse.

And the ICE CREAM MACHINE is on!

"Fifteen minutes have elapsed." Lagasse is making a remoulade in his food pro, while Batali is working on a romanesco. Tommy is harvesting oysters, while Batali is making a ravioli mixture. Flay & Comerford are making a potato-wrapped oyster with scallop mousse.

On the other side, Lagasse is stuffing his turkey with some of that dirty rice. And it's being tied for a roast... No, it's a roulade being fried. Batali is making a grape puree, while Flay is working on Japanese eggplant, and Tommy is pulling collards out of the pressure cooker. Batali is making a pear caponata, while Flay has got his hands on his secret weapon: corn.

Flay wants Comerford to use her Filipino heritage. She says that she and Flay are representing what "America is all about right now."

"Thirty minutes have elapsed."

The turkey roulade is out of the fryer in the Batali-Lagasse kitchen... and it's a little overdone. Cooked turkey temperature should be between 160 and 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Their turkey... 110 or 115. Looks like they're going to braise finish that. Meanwhile, Flay is working on a masa batter for a tamale. Collard green tamales. Comerford is working with some sungold tomatoes, while Lagasse is frying oysters three ways. And Anne's beignet batter has some milk.

And we have another surprise. The spirit of giving is a part of this Super Chef Battle. As a spur to greatness, the Chairman and Food Network will donate $25,000 to the charity of the winner's choice.

We find that Batali has burned something else... the icicle radishes. Flay & Comerford are simmering cranberries with honey, while Flay is handing off his tamales for the steam. Lagasse is getting a few oysters "happy" Batali has busted out the lardo. If you could put love in a physical form... it would be lardo. That succulent ham by-product.

And it looks like the beignet is going to be served with a cafe brulot. Alton can't freaking wait for this.

"Twenty minutes to go."

It looks like Tommy is struggling with that dough that chilled hard in the blast chiller. It's breaking up something fierce, while Batali and Anne are finishing that ravioli. Lagasse's oysters are going into their crusts. Tommy's tart dough is finally into the oven.

"Fifteen minutes to go."

Batali has started plating, while Tommy is finishing his ice cream with milk, which is getting loaded at 13:30. Batali & Lagasse have already started plating the caponata. And Lagasse is happy with his turkey. Comerford is pouring out her broccoli soup. Flay is making a tempura of lobster. And the sweet potato tart still needs to happen. Time is crucial right about now.

In the Flay/Comerford half, we have fried oysters and meringue, while Batali & Lagasse have lardo-wrapped quail, and heirloom carrot beignets. Things are moving quickly. The tart shells are finally out of the oven, but Comerford needs to get the sweet potatoes down. Batali has plated his sweet potato and goat cheese raviolo. So far, they have pasta, oysters, caponata, scallops, and turkey... that's five. Flay & Comerford have clams, calamari salad, tamales... and a wild finish. Flay & Comerford have a eggplant/carrot/lobster, potato-wrapped oyster, clam, barbecue, and we're still waiting for that tart with ginger ice cream. It's under the salamander with a meringue. They're making a baked Alaska! Batali & Lagasse have the scallops/radish, oyster trio, sweet potato raviolo, quail, turkey, and the beignets with chicory coffee. Now it's all about making it look good.

"One minute to go." We're raging up until the finish line... and our kids will be talking about this to their kids one day...

"Five seconds... three... two... one..." And Super Chef Battle is not just history... it's LEGEND.

Judgment (Batali/Lagasse): L: "We wanted to focus on the garden as much as we possibly could, and then build some proteins around that." B: "Each of the dishes will have one giant aria behind it, and then a couple of high notes and low notes."

- Scallops with Radishes and Fennel Salad
- Oysters "Lagass-a-feller" (Oyster and Salad Trio)
- Sweet Potato & Ricotta Raviolo
- Duet of American Birds (Quail with Honey and Turkey Roulade on Caponata)
- Sweet Carrot Beignets with Cafe Brulot

Judgment (Flay/Comerford): F: "We were determined to use as many of the vegetables and make them the stars of the plate as possible. We didn't want anything to go to waste."

- Fennel and Apple Salad with Oyster
- Fresh Garden Salad with Lobster
- Broccoli Clam "Chowder"
- All American BBQ (Pork, Tamales, Cauliflower Gratin, and Pickles)
- Sweet Potato Tart with White House Honey

This was truly an American feast to behold. Hopefully the message was not lost on us, as we as Americans learn to eat locally, freshly sourced ingredients, and prepare them as to eat well.

But to business. One team must taste the bitter stench of defeat. The other must rise like the cream to the top of the pile. So whose cuisine reigns supreme?

Taste 27 27
Plating 15 12
Originality 13 11

... 55-50 in favor of Iron Chef Bobby Flay & Chef Cristeta Comerford. This Super Chef Battle even had super close scoring. Both teams drew even in taste, so it was the aesthetic value that would eventually win the day for the Iron Chef and his Washington counterpart. Flay can rest easy knowing that he sent Comerford back to the White House with the belt.

And to make Flay & Comerford's victory even sweeter, The Chairman and Food Network will donate $25,000 to Citymeals on Wheels.

Until next battle, we bid you good eating.

To see this episode in its entirety, go to www.foodnetwork.com/ica.