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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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Flay vs. Thiam: Battle Papaya
June 20

The Challenger: Chef Pierre Thiam. Based in Brooklyn, he moved to America from his native Senegal. He heads the kitchen at Le Grand Dakar, where he hopes to introduce African cuisine to the American palate. Tonight, he calls out Iron Chef Bobby Flay.

Gentlemen... Prepare for battle.

The Crib Sheet:
Matthew O'Brien & Peter Hansen, sous-chefs
Herve Malivet & Hamidou Dabre, sous-chefs
Southwestern COOKING STYLE West African

The Theme Ingredient: Several varieties of papaya, including Mexican, Solo, Strawberry & Green.

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 Carica papaya is on! And the papayas are flying already! Flay is starting with pork shoulder and the three sweet kinds of papaya. Thiam is opting for the green one, not sweet at all, and the cleanest blackeyed peas in America right about now. Is it possible that he's using papaya to tenderize the meat? Several commercial tenderizers use the enzyme therein. The black seeds inside of the papaya are completely edible and in fact, a lot of times they're the best part. Matt, in his first time in KSA, is blending those seeds, mirin, and sweet onion, while Flay looks to be making a rum cake. The challenger's blackeyed peas are getting pureed, while Hamidou finally works on something other than a green papaya. 

"Fifteen minutes have elapsed." Over the break, Flay starts his pork shoulder with honey and papaya, his lobster, and his papaya-seed dressing. Thiam has... no proteins, but he's been building some flavor combinations with green papaya.

Tonight's Judges
- PR news lady Karine Bakhoum (KB Network News)
- Former challenger Chef Art Smith ("Back to the Family")
- Food reporter and master sommelier Alpana Singh ("Check, Please")

Flay has at least one dessert, papaya upside down cakes. And another.... with simple syrup and papaya... in the ICE CREAM MACHINE! Thiam is going Asian with cellophane noodles and tuna. Flay is in a sudden panic with his cakes... but they look fine.

"Thirty minutes have elapsed." Herve is using the vacuum chamber as an anti-vacuum for a speed pickle. Flay is cooling his cakes and working lobster, Serrano ham, and pork shoulder. Thiam has a lot of green papaya, some coconut soup, and not much else. And Iron Chef Flay has... halibut. Hamidou is rolling spring rolls, while Thiam is frying blackeyed pea fritters. Flay squeezes a whole papaya on a steamed halibut.

"Fifteen minutes to go." Flay is making carnitas, stuffed blossoms, and... an uneven simple syrup. Thiam layering papaya for a Napoleon or a lasagna. Hamidou is slicing tuna thinly. Those two are coming together for another roll. And the pressure cooker is blown on Flay's side at long last. Thiam's fritters... burned. And the pressure cooker... is not coming off easy.

"Ten minutes to go." Flay has halibut and lobster, but no idea how to present it. Thiam is starting to bring it together with new fritters and spring rolls, but no one is ready to plate as of yet.

... spoke too soon. Flay is plating his halibut, his squash blossoms, and his cake. Thiam is plating sushi and a soup. So far, it's four plates on the Iron Chef side to the challenger's two.

"Five minutes to go." Thiam is serving fritters in a cone. Flay's cake is being dressed. Thiam's getting pickled and a strawberry salad. He also has a sushi, soup, and spring rolls. Flay has... "Three minutes to go." Thank you. We have lobster, carnitas, cake, blossoms, and the halibut. Looks like both chefs are done, but Flay is going to end the battle by serving up his ice cream. Right into the donut hole on the cake.

"Five seconds... Three ... two... one... " Like it or love it, Battle Papaya is history.

Judgment (Thiam): "Most of the dishes you'll be having will have a Senegalese origin to it."

- Accara (Fritters) and Papaya Sauce
- Papaya and Tuna "Sushi"
- Papaya and Coconut Soup
- Green Papaya Spring Rolls
- Papaya Confit Salad

Judgment (Flay): "I tried to bring out the natural essence of the flavors of the fruit and at the same time pair it with things that would enhance it."

- Papaya-Filled Squash Blossom
- Lobster with Papaya Mango Butter
- Steamed Halibut with Crushed Papaya
- Papaya Red Chile Carnitas
- Papaya Upside Down Rum Cake with Papaya Sorbet and Papaya Strawberry Salad

So we have simplicity versus complexity... Proteins versus not... Sweet versus savory. Which will win out in the end? Whose cuisine reigns supreme?

Taste 30 25
Plating 14 11
Originality 15 13

... 59-49 in favor of Iron Chef Bobby Flay. One point shy of perfection!

Until next battle, we bid you good eating.

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