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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 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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Symon vs. Spike: Battle Prosciutto
March 7

The Challenger: Chef Spike Mendohlson, who got his start at 13 in his parents' restaurant. From there, he went to the Culinary Institute of America and Le Cirque in NYC, incorporating French, Vietnamese, and his own style into his burger eatery, The Good Stuff Eatery in Washington, DC. Today, he locks chef's knives with Iron Chef Michael Symon.

Prepare for battle.

The Crib Sheet:
Cory Barrett & Derek Clayton, sous-chefs
Michael Colletti & Brian Lacayo, sous-chefs
Mediterranean COOKING STYLE Farm Fresh

The Theme Ingredient: several rounds of prosciutto, including cotto, 18-month crudo, and 24-month crudo.

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 Prosciutto is on! Some things you need to know about this ingredient. The cotto is cooked ham. The 18-month is a lot redder with a lot more moisture, while the 24-month has a higher salt content. Prosciutto is not cooked, and is often served raw. It has to be smoked if you want to cook it.

Cory is working on a dough, perhaps a pasta. Derek is making a cooking stock of aromatics. Spike is working truffle shavings, while both teams of sous-chefs are working on the 18-month. Cory vacu-presses the dough to speed up the moisture-taking process, while Spike is pouring the juice of maraschino cherries into a pan for sauteeing with prosciutto fat. And the smoker... is going. Symon has gone off with the 24 and the cotto, the latter he was working the skin off. Challengers also have the pineapple, while the Iron Chef has candied prosciutto. And I hear rumors of prosciutto ice cream. "Why would you use truffle shavings..." Mike Symon, always the gentleman, as he shaves his own truffles.

"Fifteen minutes have elapsed." Symon is boiling lobsters, making polenta, and blending spinach. Spike has asparagus, onions, and tomatoes sauteed, figs blended with balsamico, and poached eggs.

Tonight's Judges
- On Air Reporter Lisa G. ("The Howard Stern Radio Show")
- Restauranteur Paul Tyler
- Entrepreneur Nina Griscom

IC is straining his spinach puree, while his polenta is bubbling away and his lobster is chilling. The challenge is browning some ham, and his seared cube is going into the maraschino juice. Derek is working with speck, which is related to prosciutto. And it looks like we have a fritter on that side. The challenger's eggs are coming out of poach, while Derek is frying off some prosciutto while the IC is slicing some foccacia and Ohio goat cheese. Derek is splitting open lobster tails, wrapping them in 18-month prosciutto. And the spinach mixture is serving as a vessel for egg poaching. Why? "I will not eat them, Sam I am." OH!...

"Thirty minutes to go." Challenger has an asparagus-bell pepper salad, candied pineapple, and cotto bricks. The Iron Chef has poached green eggs, peaches blending, and mission figs. And Spike is about to work on a striped bass. Cory is working on a pasta cut. Both sides have figs out.

So far, the Iron Chef has spaghetti with prosciutto, lobster with prosciutto, green eggs & ham, and the polenta. Spike has the cherry-cooked ham, striped bass, smoked ham, and that's about it at the 24 minute mark.

"Ice cream, you scream." Prosciutto Ice Cream with milk and brown sugar. He's also making some cracklins out of the ham fat. Michael is making a vinaigrette out of prosciutto. Probably for the salad. IC has added dried speck to his clams. Challenger has a striped bass down in the heat.

"Fifteen minutes to go."

Spike is combining pineapples with cherries, slicing 18 month prosciutto, and blending cantaloupe. Symon is working on corn prosciutto, spaghetti with clams, and the prosciutto cracklins with 10 minutes left. Symon has started to plate his foccacia, while Spike is plating his salad and his eggs with prosciutto. Symon will have lobster prosciutto, clam spaghetti carbonara, green eggs & ham, prosciutto ice cream, polenta, and those fried numbers in the chiller right now. Spike is goofing on the ham-pineapple tradition, alongside the striped bass with salad and prosciutto vinaigrette, eggs with prosciutto, a fake on a bellini with prosciutto-rimmed classes, prosciutto figs, and pasta. And they're flaming a baguette for some reason, but it may be for naught...Nope! He makes it!

"Five seconds... Three ... two... one... " Battle Prosciutto is history.

Judgment (Spike): "Prosciutto is really a great ingredient on its own, so I really didn't want to mess with it that much. I applied classical pairings and just put my riff on it."

- Prosciutto and Figs
- Country Style Prosciutto
- Prosciutto Steak & Poached Eggs
- Spaghetti with Smoked Prosciutto
- Striped Bass with Prosciutto

Judgment (Symon): "My approach was to show the versatility of prosciutto."

- Prosciutto and Figs
- Spaghetti with Prosciutto & Clams
- Prosciutto Wrapped Lobster
- Green Eggs & Ham
- Corn & Prosciutto Fritter and Brown Sugar Ice Cream

What Spike did with the play on the ham & pineapples, Symon countered with the prosciutto ice cream. But whose cuisine will reign supreme? The verdict...

Taste 28 22
Plating 13 11
Originality 14 12

... 55-45 in favor of Iron Chef Michael Symon. Despite the fact that Chef Spike served up a superior cocktail, Iron Chef Symon puts up winning numbers in all three categories.

Until next battle, we bid you good eating.

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