Morimoto vs. Tila: Battle Seaweed
Chef Jet Tila, a third-generation chef whose grandmother
taught him the fundamentals of Chinese cooking. Today,
his expertise is on display at Wazuzu at Encore Las
Vegas, where he shares his love of Pan-Asian cuisine. He
currently holds the world record for the largest
stir-fry. Today, he takes on another Pan-Asian expert
known for honing his craft in America... Iron Chef
Prepare for battle.
The Crib Sheet:
Jamison Blankenship & Ariki Omae, sous-chefs
Kittiphong "Kitt" Xaiyasiha & Masaru "Matsu"
The Theme Ingredient: several
varieties of seaweed, including but not limited to sea beans, ogo, nori,
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 Seaweed - a battle that AB has
been secretly and personally dreading - is ON in Kitchen Stadium!
Seaweed is a natural source of many things in Asian cuisine, chief among
them, Omega 3s, umami - that savory flavor of glutamic acid - and MSG.
Morimoto has a lot of proteins on his
side, mainly fish, but Tila is actually using more vegetables than
anything. Jamison is working on three flour concoctions for the Iron
Chef. Three different doughs for three different seasons. Matsu, on the
other hand, is working on a scallion oil and an ogo-wakame mixture.
- "Gastronaut" Stefan Gates (The BBC's "Cooking in the Danger Zone")
- Actress Julie White ("Transformers: Dark of the Moon")
- Senior chef instructor at the Art Institutes Michael Fernandez
"Five seconds... three... two... one... "
And Battle Seaweed is history. Put it down and walk away.
TASTING & JUDGMENT
"Being a Pan-Asian restaurant, we really wanted to bring the best of myself and
my chefs. We wanted to really bring you what seaweed could be, but represent it
in all these Pan-Asian cultures."
- Crab & Seaweed Poke
- Seaweed Gazpacho
- Shikai "Stained Glass" Maki
- Crispy Fish and Seaweed with Mango Salad
- Chinese Seaweed Drunken Noodles in Lobster Stir-Fry
"With seaweed, it's very difficult to make one dish after another and have it be
different, so my main theme is one of umami."
- Yellowfin Tartare with Nori Paste
- "Manhattan Style" Seaweed Chowder
- Kombu and Sake Steamed King Crab
- Seaweed Roast Chicken with Seaweed Carbonara
- Sushi, Temaki, Tea & Seaweed Doughnut
When Tila wasn't over with the seaweed,
it was under. But he really hit a home run with the Lobster and Chinese
Seaweed noodles. Morimoto goes one step further - as always - in his
tradition of borderless Japanese cuisine, particularly with his pasta
dish. Whose cuisine reigns supreme?
... 55-50 in favor of
Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. No creature great or small
could withstand the awesome power of the original
Tetsujin, though Tila made it a close battle to watch.
Until next battle, we bid
you good eating.
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