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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
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Morimoto vs. Chauhan: Battle Leek
April 4

The Challenger: Chef Maneet Chauhan, who began her culinary journey in India, where she paid her dues in several elite restaurants. In the late 90s, she graduated with honors from the Culinary Institute of America. She now heads the kitchens of Indian-Latin fusion restaurants Vermilion in Chicago and New York. Tonight, she will cross knives with the dean of the Iron Chefs, Masaharu Morimoto.

Ladies... Prepare for battle.

The Crib Sheet:
Joe Heppe & Ipshita Pall, sous-chefs
Jamison Blankenship & Ariki Omae, sous-chefs
Indian/Latin Fusion COOKING STYLE Neo-Japanese

The Theme Ingredient: leeks.

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 Leek begins! Morimoto begins with Australian Wagyu beef. The leeks have two parts to them, the tough bottom, which has a flavor akin to cucumber and scallion, and the leaves, which is more of a cabbage flavor.

Jamison is working on a blue-cheese mixture. Morimoto is sauteing his beef with some onions and garlic. Joe is working on a skirt steak from a Wagyu beef. Chauhan is wrapping leeks in cheese cloth and putting them in a broth for a soup. Chauhan is also making a sweet-and-sour leek with chaat masala and tamarind paste. She also breaks out a bass.... and Jamison's blue-cheese leek mix is going into the ice-cream machine.

Morimoto is also adding veal stock to his beef.

"Fifteen minutes have elapsed." Over the break, Morimoto has cut rounds of puff-pastry, made sushi rice, and prepared caramel sauce. Chauhan is making an anchovy mixture, toasting cumin seeds, and doing something with mango.

Tonight's Judges
- Chef Suvir Saran (Devi & American Masala)
- TV host Kelsey Nixon ("The Next Food Network Star" and "Kelsey & Spike Cook" on Food2.com)
- Chef and TV host Martin Yan ("Yan Can Cook")

Morimoto is breaking out the kombu kelp for a later application, while Morimoro is adding XO sauce to the sauteed leeks. He is also making an akamatsu and a yellow jack. The akamatsu is being covered with the XO mix and going into the steamer. Meanwhile Chauhan is making a dough, while Joe is cutting citrus supremes. Morimoto also has some tuna out, some toro, some maguro. Those will be paired with ... something. Meanwhile, Jamison is making a leek dessert, while Chauhan is making curry rice.

"Thirty minutes have elapsed." Chauhan is going to be candying something, while Morimoto is working on a Chinese soup with shanton in it. Morimoto also has blanched leeks and puff pastry in his leek-pineapple dessert, and Chauhan is burning leeks, straining leeks, and making a caramel.

Chauhan is making pastry rounds for her pani puri. Morimoto is starting to plate. He has tuna sushi with leeks, while Joe is adding ginger and watermelon to a dish. Chauhan is peeling shrimp, while Jamison is removing his blue-cheese ice cream. Chauhan is making a kheer rice pudding, while Morimoto is making his second dish, a sashimi salad. Chauhan has a chutney and a pani puri and something wrapped in jicama.

"Fifteen minutes to go." Plating has begun full force. Chauhan is working on a leek and gin cocktail, spiced leek, and a shrimp and bass. Morimoto counters with a wagyu stew, a leek and caramel tatin, and the strings of leek out of the fryer.

Morimoto is plating four right now with his sashimi salad. Chauhan has a pani puri with a tamarind mixture and a quinoa kheer. She is also making a dessert plate. Omae is straining his leek ask. What's that for? No one knows. Chauhan has her trio down, while Morimoto is finishing his steamed akamatsu.

"Five minutes to go." Chauhan is pouring her cocktail, a "leeky-tini", and her skirt steak and chutney. Morimoto has his goof on a tarte tatin with the blue-cheese ice cream on top of julienned leek. Chauhan has her stew, her pani puri. "One minute to go." Morimoto opens with sushi, then sashimi, akamatsu, wagyu stew, and the tarte tatin. Challenger has skirt steak, stew, pani puri, quinoa kheer, and her trio. And just in time...

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

Judgment (Morimoto): "In Japanese cooking, leek is not that typical, so I'm not that familiar with it. I was thinking that it's more like scallion. I took a bite of one and noticed that it was sweet, so I wanted to highlight that sweetness."

- Leek and Toro Trio
- Shima Aji (Striped Jack) with Leek
- XO Steamed Fish and Leeks
- Wagyu Beef and Leek Stew
- Leek Tarte Tatin with Blue Cheese Ice Cream

Judgment (Chauhan): "Celebrating spices and celebrating cuisines of both India and Latin America."

- Trio of Leeks (Leek Ceviche, Leek and Watermelon Salad, and Leeks in Boquerones) with a Leeky-Tini
- Leek Calderida with Shrimp and Bass
- Leek Pani Puri
- Leek Marinated Skirt Steak with Leek Chutney, Leeks with Karahi Masala, Panch Phoron Leek Chutney, and a Palate-Cleansing Jicama Roll
- Trio of Leek Desserts (Leek Red Quinoa Kheer, Leeks Poached in Wine, Chanachur Garam Brittle with Leek

Morimoto seemed like he was firing on all cylinders. Can Chauhan possibly overtake him? Whose cuisine reigns supreme? The verdict...

Taste 27 19
Plating 14 10
Originality 15 11

... 56-40 in favor of Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. Welcome to Blowout City, population Maneet Chauhan.

Until next battle, we bid you good eating.

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