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November 8

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

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Flay vs. Morimoto: Holiday Ice Battle
November 29

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 Morimoto.

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
Southwestern COOKING STYLE Modern Japanese

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 vessel.

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 salt.

Tonight's judges:
- TV host Chris Harrison ("The Bachelor" and "Hollywood 411")
- Lifestyle expert & restauranteur Donatella Arpaia ("Cooking in Heels")
- Restaurant editor Andrew Knowlton (Bon Appetit Magazine)

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 mention charcoal?

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 shell.

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 with food."

- 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 verdict...

Taste 24 28
Plating 15 12
Originality 14 12

... 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.

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