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Iron Chef America
Season 9
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Previous Episodes
January 2

"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
Mark Forgione
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 & Fujisankei Communications Inc. for Food Network
Origins Kitchen Stadium America, Food Network Studios New York
Web foodnetwork.com/ica
Airs 10p ET Sun, Food

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Flay vs. Hughes: Battle Canadian Lobster
January 9

The Challenger: Chef Chuck Hughes of Montreal, the owner of Garde Manger, where he celebrates his love of classic Canadian comfort food within this international metropolis. When he's not whipping up food for the masses, he's whipping up food for his family and friends on his Cooking Channel series, "Chuck's Day Off". Today, he'll face off against the king of Food Network, Iron Chef Bobby Flay, in a battle that will have sister food channels - and sister nations - squaring off.

Prepare for battle.

The Crib Sheet:
Christine Sanchez & Renee Forsberg, sous-chefs
Jean-Francois Methot & James Baran, sous-chefs
Southwestern COOKING STYLE Contemporary Canadian

The Theme Ingredient: live Canadian lobster from the waters off of Forchu, Nova Scotia.

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 their 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 Canadian Lobster is ON! Lobster is a delicate meat, and this is considered to be the lobster of all lobsters, so expect a lot of applications. It's less sweet than the Maine variety, and not as mushy.

Flay starts with a basic mirepoix, while Hughes is using brute force to crack his lobster. Renee is working lobster mushrooms, while JF is working on carrot juice and littleneck clams in aromatics. They also have some wide fries for a "poutine".

"Fifteen minutes have elapsed."  Flay is working on mango with honey & pepper, pasta dough, and lobster roe. Hughes counters with beer batter, Yukon gold potato chips, and lobsters & clam.

Tonight's Judges
- TV food host Stefan Gates ("Cooking in the Danger Zone")
- PR specialist Karine Bakhoum (KB Network News)
- Food writer John T. Edge

Chef Hughes is making his own mayonnaise, while Chris is redoing the lobster roe... and it's not going in his butter. Renee is roasting mushrooms. JF is grating horseradish into his tomato stew, while James is working on a roux. And do we see a crustacean crepe in the mix?

"Thirty minutes have elapsed." Hughes is making a risotto, a carrot butter, and onion rings. Flay counters with corn sauce, mango puree, and deep-fried lobster. And Hughes is back in the altar grabbing more lobster. Flay's pasta dough is turning into a papardelle. Meanwhile, Flay is frying okra, and Hughes is making a cocktail of sorts. It's a Montreal Bloody Mary.

"Fifteen minutes to go." And Flay has a look of horror on his face over, of all things, lobster. Flay has fried lobster, pasta noodles in tomato sauce, and the wild-rice waffle is waffling. Hughes, on the other hand, has lobster mushroom risotto, lobster gravy, and jerk lobster.

Hughes has his cocktail, a Montreal Caesar with Lobster and a lobster roll stuffed into a roll with chips. Flay has a lobster gumbo with shell from the grill and a blue corn stick. The waffle comes out well, now to toast. They also have the pasta. Hughes is finishing his poutine.

"Five minutes to go." Hughes' lobster jerk is out, and he's also plating a knuckle salad. Flay has a salad of his own. JF has the lobster risotto. Flay has a grilled lobster. Still a lot of cooking and plating with "One minute to go." The wild-rice waffle is a curry. That'll be five. Hughes has five of his own, and Hughes is not happy with the jerk. 

"Five seconds... three... two... one... " And Battle Canadian Lobster is history. Put it down and walk away.


Hughes: "You know it's gonna go by fast, but it goes by a lot faster than you think. This is a little taste of Montreal."

- Lobster Roll and Caesar
- Lobster Poutine
- Lobster & Onion Ring Salad
- Lobster Mushroom Risotto
- Jerk Spiced Lobster

Flay: "The Canadian lobster has a nice hard shell, which means that the meat will be nice and sweet and very firm, and to me that's the perfect lobster."

- Crispy Lobster Salad
- Grilled Lobster Tail
- Freeform Lobster Lasagna
- Red Curry Lobster
- Lobster Gumbo

Hughes's panel goes from sort of lightweight to knockout in lightning speed, a great work of the "workingman's dishes" theme. Flay went out of the box on his panel of dishes. He had some hits and misses, but there was always a level of unbalance. So we have a classical panel versus something out there. Whose cuisine reigns supreme?

Taste 21 22
Plating 11 11
Originality 9 12

... 45-41 in favor of Challenger Chuck Hughes. Both went for the haute-cuisine approach in their presentation, but Chef Hughes bested the best in taste and originality, which gives him the win today.

Until next battle, we bid you good eating.

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