Fraser: Battle Cauliflower
Strange things are
afoot in Kitchen Stadium. Today's challenger has asked - and has
been granted by the Chairman - special dispensation to attempt
something never before seen in this venue.
But first, we go to
Huron, OH, where farmer Lee Jones has picked only the finest
quantities of today's secret theme ingredient. He has traveled
to KSA in New York City to personally deliver it to his
Chairmanship so that he may personally inspect it for quality.
Chef John Fraser, who abandoned his medical pursuits for
a culinary career. Today, he heads the kitchen at
Dovetail in New York, which has been given three stars
by the New York Times. Today, he decides to operate on
Iron Chef Michael Symon.
Gentlemen... Prepare for battle.
The Crib Sheet:
Cory Barrett & Dan Clayton, sous-chefs
The Theme Ingredient: Several
varieties of cauliflower including purple, orange, white, and Romanesco.
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 Brassica oleracia is on! As
for the special dispensation... Chef Fraser is working ALONE. Usually
the chefs are granted two sous-chefs to assist him or her in battle.
Today, Chef Fraser has asked (and has been granted permission) to go it
Back to the secret ingredient. Four
varieties do not vary in taste, but the white cauliflower is the boldest
in what we consider to be cauliflower flavor.
And as soon as the Iron Chef finds out
that he's going up against one chef and one chef only, Symon decides to
dismiss HIS sous-chefs as well! In the 17-year run of "Iron Chef", this
has only happened once before. Now it's happening again, first time on
American soil, it will be mano a mano.
"Fifteen minutes have elapsed." Over the
break, Symon has loaded champagne on a stove, blended cauliflower into
the oven. Fraser has a cauliflower/onion tart, scallop mousse, and
something in the immersion circulator.
- Farmer Lee Jones (The Chef's Garden)
- Actress Julie White ("Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen")
- "The dean of the Iron Chef judges" Jeffrey Steingarten ("The Next Iron
Tempura is the order of the day on
Fraser's side. Symon is starting to plate early, which wouldn't make
sense under normal circumstances, but this is a far-from-normal battle.
Fraser is also plating. At the halfway mark, Fraser is starting to
sweat, perhaps regretting coming in here solo. Fraser has cut his
cauliflower sausage into rounds and is frying, poblano & shallots are
being poached in heavy cream, and Romanesco and chanterelles are plates.
Symon counters with champagne-poached oyster and... not much else.
With 20 on the clock, Fraser is boiling
some more cauliflower while Symon is making a fritter for his second
dish. That'll be his dessert. He's also making a fritto misto. "Fifteen
minutes to go." Time is quickly ticking away. Fraser is frying white
cauliflower core, while Symon is plating his fritto misto into a bowl,
and pasta is in the water.
Over six minutes left. The core is being
plated. Fraser also has a tart, while Symon has spaghetti with bacon &
cauliflower with parmesan cheese. Fraser has parmesan on his side as
"Three minutes to go." Symon has a salad
with squab, and his spaghetti. Fraser has tempura with apple & Greek
yogurt. And Symon... "DONE!" You're kidding me. "One minute to go."
Fraser is still going at it. He's going to fight all the way to the end.
"Five seconds... Three ... two... one...
" Battle Cauliflower, the strangest battle in KSA, is in the books.
Five dishes each, let's eat.
Judgment (Fraser): "I wanted to make
cauliflower the star of every plate. I'm trying to let the cauliflower be the
protein on each plate."
- Cauliflower Tempura
- Cauliflower Sausage
- Cauliflower Tart
- Ham Glazed Cauliflower Core
- Cauliflower Pudding
Judgment (Symon): "To use everything
up on that altar and give it the respect it deserves. I wanted to use everything
from stems to leaves to the whole kit'n'kaboodle."
- Oyster with Cauliflower Zabaglione
- Fritto Misto
- Linguine with Cauliflower Carbonara
- Squab & Roasted Cauliflower Salad
- Cauliflower and Almond Fritters
Fraser used to working by himself. Symon...
not so much. Both chefs got the job done, but who'll get the W? Whose
cuisine reigns supreme?
... 49-44 in favor of
Iron Chef Michael Symon. Sometimes if you want to do
something right, you better do it yourself, but if you
come to town... you better make certain you have backup.
Until next battle, we bid
you good eating.
To see this episode in its entirety, go to