vs. Morimoto: Holiday Ice Battle
In 2000, culinary titans Bobby Flay
and Masaharu Morimoto met for the first time in their first Iron
Chef battle at Webster Hall in New York City. That round went to
In 2001, they met again, this time at
the Fuji TV Studios of Kitchen Stadium in Tokyo. That battle... went
to Bobby Flay.
Tonight, as Kitchen Stadium America
is set to celebrate the holidays, the two Iron Chefs will meet one
more time to decide once and for all whose cuisine reigns supreme...
and it's going to be ICE COLD.
Today, not only will the chefs have their culinary cohorts with them,
but they will also seek the help and advice of Studio Okamoto, one of
the premiere ice sculpting studios in all of New York City, a
father-and-son operation of Takeo and Shintaro Okamoto. You see, the
superchefs' creations will be served atop vessels of pure ice. Let's
look at the teams...
The Crib Sheet:
Josephine Pacquing & JC Pavlovich, sous-chefs
Shintaro Okamoto & Benjamin Grasso, ice sculptors
Jamison Blankenship & Ariki Omae, sous-chefs
Takeo Okamoto & Thomas Brown, ice sculptors
The Theme Ingredient:
several bottles of eggnog.
The Rules: Each chef must create a five-course
meal of sweet, savory, and frozen concoctions, 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 Eggnog is on, and
both chefs have started by assembling their ice teams.
Morimoto is using pictures and explaining what plans he
has for his vessels (including one with a steaming
apparatus, apparently). Flay has one of his dishes to be
served family style, so that's going to require a larger
Now, about the
ingredient... Eggnog is stirred custard... Egg, milk,
and flavoring. That makes it incredibly versatile.
Morimoto is starting with chicken, while Flay is
starting with a flour mixture. And Morimoto, as he has
done in a past holiday battle in Japan, is making a
poached chicken in a vessie. which, if you haven't seen
this before, is a pig bladder.
"Fifteen minutes have
elapsed." Morimoto has eggnog rub on chicken in a vessie,
hamachi filleted, and eggnog and egg yolk mixed. Flay
has a pasta dough and eggnog concoctions, and... up in
the altar, ice vessels continue to be crafted. Flay also
has a ganache, strawberry, and brioche. Morimoto has a
tempura, his own ice carving, and a hamachi cured in
- TV host Chris Harrison ("The Bachelor" and "Hollywood
- Lifestyle expert & restauranteur Donatella Arpaia
("Cooking in Heels")
- Restaurant editor Andrew Knowlton (Bon Appetit
Looks like Flay is
working on a pumpkin pie sort of thing, while Morimoto
has lobster and... A5 wagyu beef. It has a colder
melting point, so it can be served colder and still be
melt in your mouth. Flay has curry stock, tomatoes,
and... ICE CREAM MACHINE! Looks like a coconut sorbet.
Flay is also working on a bread pudding with chocolate
Anglaise. And Morimoto has his first vessel to
inspect... Looks like we're getting the thumbs up there.
Flay has a custard and Morimoto is countering with a bit
of a Japanese corn dog.
"Thirty minutes have
elapsed." "THIRTY?!" Yes, Morimoto. Thirty. Flay has a
bread pudding, coconut sorbet, and lobsters. Over at Ice
Station Morimoto, we have A5 Wagyu beef and an
eggnog-mascarpone mixture for a dessert. Flay is
finishing his pasta and starting on passionfruit.
Morimoto has eggnog & bonito flakes, eggnog corn dog,
and eggnog tempura. The Wagyu has been dipped into
hot eggnog dashi broth and then cold broth. And did we
Sous-chef Jamison on
Morimoto's side is working on what looks to be eggnog
tiramisu. And Morimoto's eggnog has an LED attached.
Wow. Flay has lobster in a tomato curry.
Morimoto's also smoking something with his charcoal,
while Takeo is finishing an ice block for said purpose.
It takes a while for Alton to put two and two together,
but when he does... wow, it's almost... Flay wants to go
home right about now. Josephine is also working on a
tiramisu. It's actually a trifle.
Morimoto has started to
plate with ice with LEDs among other things... "Fifteen
minutes to go." ... and Flay is plating tuna and crab
tartare, eggnog trifle, and eggnog curry. Morimoto has
lobster tempura with eggnog aioli and the hamachi
smoking... in ICE. Also, he's got blended eggnog, Thai
iced tea, and boba, a salad, and an eggnog-sake punch.
Flay has eggnog pumpkin pasta, bread pudding, and he's
starting to plate the curry with jasmine rice.
And disaster on
Morimoto's side, the punch bowl sprung a leak.
Meanwhile, the trifle has a nice color on it and the
coconut sorbet on Flay's side will be served in its
Morimoto has a smoked
hamachi, assorted hors d'oeuvre, tempura, Wagyu, the
chicken in vessie, and the eggnog tiramisu. Flay will
counter with the tartare, pumpkin eggnog pasta, lobster
with curry, trifle, and bread pudding. And the tiramisu
on Morimoto's side... now has green tea on it. His udon
noodle dish is almost done as well.
"Three minutes to go."
Morimoto's finishing his tiramisu with a little tree.
Flay is marrying his dishes with the ice sculpture.
Morimoto's salad is going to be paired with the hamachi...
And the signature
sculptures are coming down with a minute to go. Flay has
wings. Morimoto has a Buddha.
"Five seconds... Three...
Two... One." EVERYTHING OFF, EVERYTHING DOWN. Ice Battle
Eggnog is OVER!
Judgment (Morimoto): "I enjoyed
working with the ice and the eggnog. I used eggnog for sweetness. I tried to
incorporate it with other ingredients like white miso and sesame seeds, and pair
it with compatible fish and proteins. I thought the ice was beautiful, so Takeo-san,
thank you very much."
- Assorted Hors d'Oeuvres
- Ice Smoked Hamachi with Tomato-Mozzarella Salad
- Wagyu Shabu Shabu Beef with Eggnog Sauce
- Lobster Tempura with Eggnog Flan
- Inaniwa Udon with Chicken
- Assortment of Desserts (Green Tea Tiramisu and Dehydrated Vegetables and Egg
Nog White Chocolate Dip)
Judgment (Flay): "Eggnog... Very
tricky ingredient, Chairman. It's not really an ingredient, it's something
that's made out of other ingredients. In this case, I just used it as an
enhancer more than anything else. And Shintaro really captured what I like to do
- Raw tuna & Blue Crab Salad
- Eggnog & Pumpkin Ravioli
- Lobster Eggnog Country Captain
- Eggnog Trifle
- Eggnog Bread Pudding
Both chefs and both ice teams really made
this one of the all-time classic battles in the 18-year-history of Iron
Chef. But one team has end up a winner. Remember, the judges also judge
the ice sculptures...
Whose icy cuisine reigns supreme? The
... by one point... 53-52 in favor of
Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. Flay's dishes did taste
better than Morimoto's, but the Silver Tetsujin's
overall creativity and innovation was more than enough
to make up the difference.
And so, the grudge match
between giants has been settled... for now. Until next battle, we bid
you good eating.
To see this episode in its entirety, go to