vs. Carter: Battle Okra
Chef Robert Carter, who earned his culinary stripes at
Johnson & Wales in Charleston, SC. While going to
school, he earned his pay as a personal chef. He ended
up opening a business called Rent-a-Chef. When he's not
doing that, he heads the kitchen at the Peninsula Grill
in Charleston. Today, he draws the ire of fellow
Southerner Iron Chef Cat Cora in her return to glorious
battle after maternity leave.
Prepare for battle.
The Crib Sheet:
Matthew Hudak & Scott Drozd, sous-chefs
Chelsea Wright & Graham Dailey, sous-chefs
The Theme Ingredient: Several
varieties of okra, including but not limited to red and green types.
Difference in flavor? Not a one.
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 Hibiscus esculentus is ON in
Kitchen Stadium! Okra is a close cousin of the hibiscus and to the
mallow family, where we used to get the oozy gooey stuff for
marshmallows. This is called the mucilage, and it is also the slimy
stuff inside the okra.
Carter wants to use a squab stock, while
Cora wants to use it like a gumbo and a jalapeno popper. She also wants
- Sustainable food expert Anya Fernald ("The Next Iron Chef")
- Farmer Lee Jones (The Chef's Garden)
- PR specialist Karine Bakhoum (KB Network News)
"Five seconds... three... two... one... "
And Battle Okra is history. Put it down and walk away.
TASTING & JUDGMENT
"It was like being at home."
- Beef Carpaccio with Fried Okra
- Oysters & Okra Three Ways
- Okra & Country Ham Spoonbread
- Squab on Okra Griddlecake
- Okra & Fig Cobbler with Tomato Ice Cream
"I really wanted to stretch the imagination of okra. It gets a bad rap
sometimes, and I really wanted to show it's a really versatile vegetable and it
can be used in many different applications."
- Okra Popper
- Chicken Liver Mousse with Okra Marmalade
- Deconstructed Gumbo
- Korean-Style BBQ Short Ribs with Okra Kimchi
- Okra Churro with Okra Sorbet
Carter was very creative with a versatile
use of a not-so-versatile ingredient. He used the language of Southern
food without treating it as a cliché. Cora uses the skill of an Iron
Chef to take the vegetable on a trip around the world. Both chefs
celebrated okra to the fullest, but whose cuisine reigns supreme?
... 51-44 in favor of
Iron Chef Cat Cora. Inside her comfort zone beats a
heart of iron that bests the challenger in all three key
Until next battle, we bid
you good eating.
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