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September 27
October 11

"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
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
Airs 10p Sun, Food
Available In High-Definition Where AvailableStreaming Online

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Morimoto vs. Amoroso: Battle Branzino
October 18

The challenger: Chef Anthony Amoroso, a Modern American chef who spent many years after graduating culinary school honing his craft in many of the top kitchens in New York City. Today, he's the executive chef at Michael Mina in the Bellagio in Las Vegas. He hopes to roll the dice against another chef who honed his craft in the Big Apple, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto.

Prepare for battle.

The Crib Sheet:
Fumihiko Sakaguchi & Takeshi Omae, sous-chefs
Matthew Accarrino & Lincoln Carlson, sous-chefs
Neo-Japanese COOKING STYLE Modern American Seafood

The Theme Ingredient: fresh farmed branzino fish, or loup de mere.

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 or her 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!"

Battle Branzino is on in Kitchen Stadium, as both chefs start by breaking down the fish into the many pieces that each will work on. Morimoto is breaking down the fish himself, saving the bones for a later application. Amoroso... not working with the ingredient at all, just prepping some other things. Morimoto's bones are going into the oven for some roasting. Amoroso's going for a 3-2-1 flour/fat/moisture. Morimoto's countering with a pesto to Amoroso's guacamole... and Matt has some fish out finally.

"Fifteen minutes have elapsed." Morimoto has sliced sashimi on kombu kelp, some piece sauteeing with Tokyo scallions, and some fish is ground with some sausage. Amoroso just pulled out the fish while working on guacamole, a fennel cream, and a 3-2-1 dough. Over the break, Morimoto got his branzino/pork mix out of the food pro, potatoes added to the saute, and a whole branzino has been washed. Amoroso has his own vegetable saute going on going into a convection oven.

Tonight's Judges:
- Relations director for Academia Barilla Mario Rizzotti
- Culinary journalist Akiko Katayama (Food Arts Japan)
- A man who needs no introduction, Jeffrey Steingarten

Back on the floor, Amoroso has pureed his agar-agar, and he'll be cutting that into a gel, while Morimoto is working on more sashimi, this time in a radial fashion in an earthen pot. We're just waiting on some soup.

"Thirty minutes have elapsed." The Iron Chef has a branzino sausage and pieces in corn starch. Amoroso is catching up with smoked and grilled/marinated fish. Morimoto's pounded corn starch branzino is frying, while the sausages are in water, while additional pieces are being marinated in soy sauce. Amoroso counters with fennel cream & vegetable branzino, and a pot of sugar is being caramelized.

Saka is working on a vinaigrette, while Omae is working on a fish & potato mix. Morimoto's got a possible caviar to make, while Amoroso counters with a batter of sorts. That and a fish/potato puree. Morimoto is stuffing a whole fish and wrapping it in konbu with the chives and basil pesto. That is going into a pile of rocks. Meanwhile, Omae is working on a presentation of branzino with a rice bowl, seaweed, and egg.

"Fifteen minutes to go." Plates on both sides are go. Morimoto is making up the pesto caviar using a widget designed for said purpose. He also has a branzino sausage being fried and a whole fish stuffed, wrapped in kombu, and buried in rocks. Amoroso counters with a branzino smoke, a branzino & potato brandade, and a quite active food mill.

Iron Chef has a salad with a soy sauce panzanella, clam juice and branzino stock is being whisked with butter, and the branzino sashimi marinated in kombu is unwrapped. Challenger has combined his branzino mill with vegetables and more fish frying. The 3-2-1 dough is out for a pot pie.

"Ten minutes to go." Morimoto is plating his branzino mousse with branzino chips and branzino sausage. Amoroso is plating his crudo, while Lincoln is loading up the pot pie into the oven. So that's one dish a piece. Amoroso has a quenelle of branzino with caramelized blood orange. The panzanella is out on the Iron Chef fish with the sashimi of branzino. Amoroso is plating his chorizo.

"Five minutes to go." Two dishes a piece. Amoroso now has a trio of branzino. Morimoto's soup is now down on the other sashimi dish, so that'll cook through ever so slightly. The whole branzino is coming out of the pile of rocks, but it's going to stay there for the presentation. Amoroso has beer-battered fish with the waffle fries. That, the crudo, the tartare, the smoked piece, and the trio will be five. Pot pie will be six, maybe. Morimoto is going to counter with the panzanella, the soup, a trio of his own, a rice bowl, and the whole fish in the rock slide. Now it's all about finishing it up.

"Five seconds... three... two... one..." Battle Branzino is done. Put it down, walk away.

Judgment (Amoroso): "We wanted to try and showcase branzino, as many as we could technique-wise."

- Branzino Crudo
- Branzino Tartare
- Smoked Branzino
- Trio of Branzino (Escabeche, Saute, Croquette)
- Branzino Pot Pie

Judgment (Morimoto): "I like branzino, but it's not common to Japanese cooking. It actually comes from the Mediterranean, so I used a lot of Italian ingredients, but I had to stay true to my technique, so my dishes today are mostly Japanese with some mostly Mediterranean influences."

- Branzino Panzanella Salad
- Branzino Brandade
- Smoked Branzino
- Branzino Soup
- Whole Roasted Branzino

The challenger went with technique, but the Iron Chef decided to go out of the box. Who'll carry the day? Whose cuisine reigns supreme? The verdict...

Taste 23 24
Plating 12 13
Originality 12 12

... 49-47 in favor of Challenger Anthony Amoroso. An epic battle in Kitchen Stadium ends with the challenger squeaking past the Iron Chef in taste and plating. Truly an upset for the ages.

Until next battle, we bid you good eating.

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