Out to the Ball Game
Last week, the search for the next
American Tetsujin began with 10 super chefs. Two of them - Marcus
Samuelsson and Spike Mendelsohn - were forced to do battle against
one another for the right to stay in the contest, but in the end,
Spike's dish didn't measure up. Now nine remain in the kitchen.
CHAIRMAN'S CHALLENGE #2: Transformation
Today's challenge takes us to San Diego,
at Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres. The challenge today...
transforming ballpark grub.
You will have 15 minutes to search the
stadium for whatever you can find - there's even a Food Network cart -
then return to the Park at the Park to start cooking. You'll have an
hour to create a next-level ballpark food maneuver, two dishes. The two
worst dishes will face off against each other at home turf in the Secret
Officiating today, Cy Young Award-winning
Padres legend Randy Jones, who lends his name and talents to a barbecue
establishment on the premises.
Geoffrey and Beau, as winners of the last
Chairman's Challenge, will have an advantage in this one. They will have
an additional five minutes. They're going to need every bit of those
minutes, because if you remember last week, Beau is nursing an injured
ankle, and Geoffrey just moves like an old woman.
A lot of running in this challenge.
Put it down and walk away. This challenge
- ALEX: Sausage & Peppers, Lemon Sherbet.
The sandwich hit it out of the ballpark, while the second is a bit of a
- GEOFFREY: Sunday Brunch at the Ballpark - Avocado One-Eyed Susan with
Cajun Shrimp Toast, Gazpacho with Mustard Crema. It's good food, but
it's not really ballpark grub.
- BEAU: Deconstructed Corn Dog with Grilled Shrimp; Deconstructed
Cheesesteak. The first dish is a little rich, while the second is
- ANNE: Brisket Lettuce Wrap; Chicken & Kielbasa Sloppy Joes. The dishes
are good but not great.
- ELIZABETH: Remodeled Cheesesteak; Remodeled Corn Dog. The first dish
is playful. The second is a little clunky, and there's more Iron
Chef-worthy ways of treating the ingredients.
- MICHAEL: Tilapia Polpette & Shrimp Cioppino; Sausage & Peppers. The
fish cake feels like San Francisco Giant. The sandwich with the raw egg
feels more like Cleveland Indian.
- MARCUS: Shrimp Tostadas & Fish Taquitos; Pork Sandwich with Fries. The
dishes tell the right story, but Marcus tends to overdo it.
- CHUCK: Shrimp & Pork Meatball Sub; Tilapia Corn Dog. Mike is not
feeling the shrimp. The second dish is the game winner for him.
- ROBERT: Hot Burg; Deconstructed Fish Taco. The first is a wonderful
combination, but the second is less than the sum of its parts.
And now, to the judgment chamber. Seven chefs
will be assured of a spot in the next round.
The winner of this competition... ALEX!
Her dishes were PERFECT. Joining her, Chuck and Elizabeth. Right in the
middle of the pack... Anne, who was playing it safe; Beau, who was
neither here nor there; and Marcus, who overdid his dishes to the point
where the judges are now going to ask him to decide which two to taste
before judgment should this happen again.
That leaves Robert, Geoffrey, and
Michael. There was one component wrong with all of their dishes.
Geoffrey was seen as blowing off the theme of the challenge. Robert
didn't take the time to taste his dishes. Michael was Dr. Jekyll & Mr.
Geoffrey... lives to cook another day.
BARELY. Which means that Chef Michael Chiarello and Chef Robert Irvine will face off against each other in...
SECRET INGREDIENT SHOWDOWN #2
The secret ingredient today is...
PEANUTS. You will have 30 minutes to create one dish featuring the theme
ingredient. The best dish survives. The worst dish leaves broken and
Judgment (Robert): Peanut-Crusted Halibut
with Peanut Hummus
Peanuts are normally used in Asian food, but in
these French preparations, they work well. They pair well with aromatics, but
the hummus was thick, even though Judy wanted more of it.
Judgment (Michael): Peanut Pesto
Fettuccine with Tomato Salad
Peanuts come up much further than pine
nuts in the pesto. The technique comes through. The tomato salad
cleanses the palate. But there was half of the plate not representing
the secret ingredient.
You can make an ingredient shine without
hitting someone over the head with it. One chef showed more technique
and more skill, while one chef had the better balanced dish.
It looks like this decision is going to
split the panel.
The panel is split, BUT... Chef Robert Irvine...
will NOT be the next Iron Chef. Michael Chiarello survives to cook
another day. Goes to show you that the smallest detail can affect the overall
plate... But we're not done yet, as AB lets everyone know that fact. It may be
small, but if you can't beat it now, how are you expected to beat it in KSA?
And then... there were eight.
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