For the last few weeks, 10 chefs have
been grilled on the skills and knowledge needed to be an Iron Chef.
One by one, they cooked. One by one they were judges. One by one,
they left, until there were only two remaining: pastry chef Jehangir
Mehta and Latin chef Jose Garces. At the end of the hour, one of
them will be the Next Iron Chef.
TEST #13: IMAGINATION
Both chefs have won three tests, but the
only win that matters now is a win in Kitchen Stadium. Let's take a look
at the tale of the tape...
The Crib Sheet:
Tim Spinner & Chad Williams, sous-chefs
Maiki Le & Andres Vazquez, sous-chefs
Chicago (by way of
Mumbai, India (by way of
New York City)
Joining the judging panel
tonight are three members of Iron Chef royalty: Iron
Chefs Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto, and the winner of
the last season of Next Iron Chef, Mike Symon.
The challenge, produce
five dishes that exemplify the ethnic melting pot of
The Theme Ingredient:
ribs & racks of cow, buffalo, and pig.
This is for the title.
You can't buy it. You can't rent it. You have to earn
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 the final test is on!
Garces' strategy is to get all of his meat in several
pressure cookers to simmer them and get them to a
In the first 20 minutes
of battle, Mehta have formed ground pork patties while
making saffron rice. He also has curry yogurt spare
ribs. Garces is making rounds of buffalo ribeye while a
dough is in the stand mixer. But he's having problems
searing his meat on the grill.
While Alton has been
talking to the judges, Mehta had malbec wine and sugar
on the heat, while Garces is working with pinto beans
and chanterelle mushrooms.
And Chef Mehta wouldn't
be Chef Mehta without... ICE CREAM MACHINE!
"Thirty minutes have
elapsed." Garces' side has barbecue sauce, while Mehta's
side has a malfunctioning pressure cooker. Garces has
made a honey-herb mustard rub, coated his grilled pork
loin, and put it in the oven, while Chef Mehta's baby
backs are out of the pressure cooker, apricots have been
added, and the dish is being finished in the salamander.
"Fifteen minutes to go."
Chef Mehta's already
plating his apricot pork rib on cole slaw. He also
continues to plate while the buffalo is stuck inside the
pressure cooker. Those dumplings will not have the
secret ingredient in them.
Mehta's pork and bacon
burgers are on the grill, while Garces' baby back ribs
have been hit with the spicy barbecue sauce. With ten
minutes left, Garces has yet to plate. He calls for
In the meantime, Mehta
has brushed his chocolate wine reduction onto a plate,
and the pork burger is plated with apricot ribs. Garces
has plated his pork loin, and he has meat ready for his
"Five minutes to go."
Mehta's pressure cooker
is finally open. The buffalo that was inside is going on
TOP of those dumplings.
"One minute to go."
Going over plates now,
Garces has baby back ribs, pork loin, carnitas, the
tartare with ribeye, and his flatbread. Mehta has
dumplings, ribs, burger, spare ribs, and the buffalo
steak. He'll close with the avocado ice cream on steak
tartare. All the hopes and dreams are going to come to
"Five seconds... three...
two... one..." And that's it, the competition is OVER!
Judgment (Mehta): "I think America
makes up different cultures, different countries, and that's how we are
traversing through the meal, with different cultures pushed onto your plates."
- "Smothered" Buffalo Dumplings
- Pork Burger with Chipotle Mayo
- Indian Style Spare Rib with Saffron Palau
- Buffalo Steak with Chocolate Malbec Sauce
- Buffalo Tartare with Avocado Sorbet
The consensus is that Mehta tried to do too many
things and it ended up hurting more of his dishes than helping.
Judgment (Garces): "I was born and
raised in Chicago. I couldn't think of a better place that exemplified the
American melting pot"
- Buffalo Tartare with Kobe Sirloin wit Buffalo
Rib Steak Cooked Au Poivre
- Carnitas Taco
- The German: Pork loin crusted with mustard & herbs
- Beef Short Rib Pizza with Balsamic Marmalade
- Baby Back Ribs with Spicy Barbecue Sauce
Garces used a variety of techniques with a
variety of ingredients, and the end result speaks to that and his highlight of
the secret ingredient.
Jeff thinks that the Iron Chefs favor Garces.
Donatella says that each chef lacks something that the other has. Anya thinks
that Mehta's presentation was weak and Garces' dishes were monotonous. Morimoto
says that being an Iron Chef means to be challenged to be creative. Mehta has a
lot more experience, and that will tip the scale to his favor. Jeff adds on that
Morimoto wins in KSA because of said creativity. Symon adds, "He's able to be
creative because he's a master technician and a master of fundamentals." If you
create and you fail, are you creative or are you a failure? That question will
determine who the next Iron Chef is.
And now, the moment of truth. Either Jehangir
Mehta or Jose Garces is going to be inducted into a pantheon that only has a
handful of members worldwide.
The Next Iron Chef...
JOSE GARCES! And the new Tetsujin ascends to the
Ten started the journey. For nine of them, the
road has met its end. But for Chef Jose Garces... Iron Chef Jose Garces... the
journey is only just beginning. and if we have chosen wisely, then it will be a
journey made bright by lots of delicious victories. Congratulations to you, wear
the jacket well.
Until his momentous first
battle as an Iron Chef... We bid you good eating.
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