Morimoto vs. Chauhan: Battle Leek
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
Ladies... Prepare for battle.
The Crib Sheet:
Joe Heppe & Ipshita Pall, sous-chefs
Jamison Blankenship & Ariki Omae, sous-chefs
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
"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.
- 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
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
... 56-40 in favor of
Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. Welcome to Blowout City,
population Maneet Chauhan.
Until next battle, we bid
you good eating.
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