vs. Goldman: Battle Chocolate & Chiles
On a special
night-before-the-Big-Game battle, one of the Chairman's
superchefs is going up against... the Ace of Cakes.
Something tells me that the frosting is about to fly.
Let's bang a gong up in here.
Chef Duff Goldman is known to his legion of fans as Food
Network's "Ace of Cakes", reigning supreme on his
reality series of the same name. He heads up Baltimore's
Charm City Cakes. But is he more than the sum of his
ingredients? That we are about to find out as he calls
out Iron Chef Michael Symon. He says... Bring it.
Prepare for battle.
The Crib Sheet:
Cory Barrett & Derek Clayton, sous-chefs
Shawn Aoki & Jesse Llapitan, sous-chefs
The Theme Ingredient: chocolate
between 58% and 71% cocoa liquor and several varieties of chilies,
including savinas, Hawaiian long habaneros, anchos, poblanos, green
infernos, and Thai bird chilies. The Chairman reveals via satellite.
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 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 Theobroma cacao and capsicum
is on! Symon starts by rubbing down some pork butt with cocoa powder,
cayenne, and salt. Duff also has a Kobe beef. He also has lobsters. The
pork butt is hitting the pressure cooker with a variety of chilies. Duff
is adding chili threads and chocolate to the Kobe loin. And the Iron
Chef... has disappeared. He's at the judges table trying to buy some
votes from the ladies... What the hell... Meanwhile, Derek is working on
a cocoa pasta dough. Chef Duff is making a chili Swiss meringue.
"Fifteen minutes have elapsed." Chocolate
stouts being exchanged as a peace offering. Derek is dicing pineapple.
Iron Chef is also making a citrus marinade with cayenne. Challenger
counters with Wagyu ribeye, salsa, and duck breasts.
- Food writer Nigella Lawson
- Actress Jane Seymour ("Freeloaders")
- A woman my sister affectionately calls Mrs. Bobby Flay, actress
Stephanie March ("Law & Order: SVU")
Chilies are being diced all over the
place, as Duff is going to pipe his meringue into tin cups. Looks like a
steam job. Yellowtail is being broken down on the IC side. Chef Duff...
drills a chile out of seeds.
"Ice cream, you scream."
"Thirty minutes have elapsed." Symon has
loaded chocolate crumble into the blast chiller, hamachi is out of
cocoa-citrus marinade, and a mix of passionfruit, sugar, passion fruit
juice, and corn starch is in the works. Duff has countered with Wagyu
beef into the convection oven and a chocolate-chile infused tuile dough.
The lobster gets hit with cream and chile threads. Symon has stuffed
chilies with pepper-jack cheese and has plated his hamachi. Shawn is
pouring a little uni soup mixture going into the oven. The meringue is
now out of the oven, while the Iron Chef is pairing hamachi and uni.
That plate is done. Derek is cutting some supremes, while Cory has a
cake out. Shawn is slicing up some duck. chef Duff is cooling a few
peppers in what looks like a margarita without some tequila.
"Fifteen minutes to go." Symon is slicing
up his pork butt, while Duff's tuile is out and curling. The Iron Chef
has his chocolate-beer-infused mole, grilled poblanos, and melted
chocolate with eggs & lime juice. The challenger has a mix of curry
powder, cream, and saffron to mashed potatoes and has piped it onto a
plate. Melted chocolate has been added to a blend of tomatoes and
parsley. Shawn is working on a frisee slaw, while the Iron Chef is
cooking some chocolate pasta. Chef Duff is goofing on a lobster
thermidor, filling dried cacao pods with the lobster mixture. Duff,
meanwhile, is frying scallops in cocoa butter. Symon counters with
With seven minutes left, Chef Duff has no
plates on his side. Symon is plating his pasta and pork butt, so that'll
be four. Chef Duff is starting to plate with duck and frisee salad,
Wagyu beef, couscous in chocolate, and... not much else yet. Iron Chef
is plating his fifth, a chocolate crumble. Duff has two more dishes to
plate. Symon for all intents and purposes is done. Duff has his meringue
down, and with less than a minute... uni and chocolate pudding... and
chile relleno. That looks like a battle.
"Five seconds... Three ... two... one...
" Battle Chocolate & Chile is done.
Judgment (Goldman): "First thing I
thought of was mole. Too obvious. It's Iron Chef, we want to kick it up a little
bit. At the same time, we're not doing a sous vide foam essence cut by a laser.
Everything that you will see has something a little old school. It's got a nice
twist on it."
- Seafood Duo (Sea scallop and uni brulee)
- Chile Relleno
- Lobster Thermidor
- Kobe Rib-Eye with Chili Poached Egg
- Chile Swiss Meringue
Judgment (Symon): "I think chocolate and
chiles go very well together, but it's all about finding the balance of them
with the rest of the food."
- Yellowtail Crudo
- Chocolate Pasta with Chile Ragu
- Coffee & Chocolate Braised Pork Belly
- Chile Chocolate Cake
- Dark Chocolate Sherbet
A lot of chocolate, and a lot of simple,
straight-forward recipes. But whose reigns supreme? The verdict...
... 56-48 in favor of
Iron Chef Michael Symon. As a result, he gets to wear
Chef Duff's Charm City Cakes hat with pride. Even though
Chef Duff is defeated, I have a feeling that he'll be
back someday to exact a little culinary revenge.
Until next battle, we bid
you good eating.
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