Liken: Battle Blue Cheese
Chef Kelly Liken, who was headed for a career as a
physicist when she graduated #1 in her class at the
Culinary Institute of America. She headed west to head
up the seasonal American restaurant in Vail, CO, that
bears her name. Keeping up with a growing trend, most of
her ingredients are locally sourced. But how will she do
against the newest of the Chairman's mantle, Iron Chef
Prepare for battle.
The Crib Sheet:
Matt Limbaugh & Hunter Smith, sous-chefs
Dave Conn & MacGregor Mann, sous-chefs
The Theme Ingredient: Roquefort,
Gorgonzola Dolce, Cabrales, and Maytag varieties of blue cheese.
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, empty stomach, and
apparently his dancing shoes on,
utters the words of his dear uncle.... "Allez cuisine!"
And Battle Blue Cheese is on! As you
know, Blue Cheese is symbolized by the presence of mold in the cheese.
And looks like we're heading to frozen
"Fifteen minutes have elapsed." Over the
break, Garces started on macaroni, bacon, and buffalo tenderloin, while
Liken started on hazelnuts, egg whites, and butternut squash in chopped
- Actor Lou Diamond Phillips ("La Bamba")
- Sustainable food expert Anya Fernald ("The Next Iron Chef")
- Italian specialist Mario Rizzotti (Academia Barilla)
At the halfway mark, it looks like the
battle is being joined with Garces working with escarole and Roquefort,
peaches and chorizo, and apple chutney. Liken counters with apple
crisps, Roquefort balls, and frozen yogurt.
"Fifteen minutes to go." Liken has
tempura shrimp, Asian pear, and beef tenderloin. The Iron Chef has a
microgreen salad, crystallized sugar on Gorgonzola, and a maple-glazed
quail. Plating has begun on both sides with both sides starting with
blue cheese croquettes.
Liken thinks she forgotten something.
What could it be? Who knows.
"Five seconds... Three ... two... one...
" Battle Blue Cheese is history.
Judgment (Liken): "I really wanted to
weave the cheese in and out throughout the meal as opposed to just bombarding
you with a whole ton of that really intense flavor all at once."
- Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio with Cabrales
- Butternut Squash Soup with Roquefort Croquette
- Tempura Prawn with Maytag Salad
- Pork Tenderloin with Cranberries and Cabrales
- Fig and Asian Pear Crisp with Roquefort
Judgment (Garces): "We took the
origin of each cheese and I used that as a backdrop and direction for each of
- Roquefort-Stuffed French Toast
- Cabrales and Jamon Iberico Salad
- Maytag Stuffed Quail with Macaroni and Cheese
- Four Cheese Buffalo Tenderloin
- Gorgonzola Duo (custard and apple chutney with a schmear)
Both chefs with their share of hits. This
is going to be a close one. Who's cuisine reigns supreme?
... 53-48 in favor of
Iron Chef Jose Garces. Though Chef Kelly Liken had the
edge in originality, it was taste and plating that
ultimately won the day for the Iron Chef, who continues
to pave his way in Kitchen Stadium.
Until next battle, we bid
you good eating.
To see this episode in its entirety, go to