Monday, October 15, 2007

The "Next Iron Chef" - episode 2

RANT: I have to say it and get it off my chest. Chef Sanchez, why do you think the rules apply to everyone else, but not you? Maybe, you have a hearing problem. You just don’t hear that time is up. Maybe, you are just a whiner. That would be my guess. You are not Iron Chef material!!!!

That said, I can now get on with the rest of the story. I really enjoy this show. I am always sorry to see someone have to leave. (That would not include Chef Sanchez) I like the competition and the camaraderie among the chefs. The chefs seem to have a good time until the JUDGEMENT.

The themes for episode two were Simplicity and innovation. In the first challenge, the chefs were supposed to produce one bite that revealed everything about their culinary style and personality. Since John Besh won the last competition, he was allowed to select his ingredients first. John sauntered to the table and then invited everyone to join him. They were to make six plates. The reason for the six plates, they were to judge each other.

John Besh made a seared scallop with truffle and Jerusalem artichoke.

Chris Consentio made ahi tuna cured in olive brine, basil and tomato juice.

Aaron Sanchez only got one bite plated, so that is all he was judged on. He made ceviche, which John Besh said was perfect.

Gavin Kaysen made a clam dish, which John Besh said tasted flat after eating the ceviche.

Michael Symon made a lamb tartare with citrus zests and heirloom tomato and Greek yogurt.

Jill Davie had some issues with her dish. She ran out of time and kind of threw everything on the plate. It was also commented that her bite had a peanut butter and jelly flavor.

Morou made duck with orange and cumin. His bite was very tender.

And the winner is Michael Symon with three votes.
On to the second challenge.
Do you have this gadget in your kitchen? The elimination challenge focused on gadgets and chemicals. Michael Symon commented that all of his career, he has tried to take chemicals out of food and now they were asking him to put chemicals in his food.

A company named PolyScience came up with innovative gadgets for the chefs to play with.

Some of the Gadgets:
‘Anti-Griddle’ freezes sauces and purees instead of heating them. You can either freeze the sauce or puree solid or have a crunchy outside and creamy centers.
‘Vacuum Packaging System’ makes ‘Food Saver’ look like a toy.
‘Smoking Gun’ can be used as either a finishing tool to add smoke or used a marinate to add that smoky flavor.
‘Thermal Circulating Baths’ are really quick ways to cook.

The contestants had to use 2 chemicals and 3 gadgets. They had ninety minutes to explore the gadgets and present a dish. This is the elimination round.

And the judging begins. First up is John Besh. He prepared a cold potato soup, a summer truffle tapenade and a warm potato soup. The judges were not impressed. His next dish is roast duck and something covered with parmesan crust. The judges still don’t seem impressed.

Next is Gavin with a fricassee of sweetbreads, Hamachi crudo and three kinds of beets. The judges still weren’t impressed.

Chris made a duck breast smoked with spice and the saour shaving cream with razor clams. At last, the judges start to take notice.

Michael made a deconstructed tomato salad. Two of the judges liked it. Andrew doesn’t seem to like much of anything. His next dish was a truffle salad with compliments applied liberally to Donatella.

Morou made a lobster sashimi with pickled plum and a braised beef cheek dish. He said he was inspired by the immersion cooker.

Jill made a potato and cod creation that just didn’t pass muster.

Aaron pan roasted a sable fish and sweetbreads. Verdict: needed more salt.

Everyone gathers in front of the judging panel.
First save: Aaron (luckily for him, the judges only see the finished product and not the kitchen attitude.)
Next save: Morou
Next: Michael
Next: John

That left three, Chris, Gavin and Jill. They still haven’t mentioned a winner. The next save is Chris and ‘oh by the way, Chris you won.’

That leaves Jill and Gavin, neither one is looking very confident. Gavin, you are safe and Jill, you are leaving. That’s it for the ladies.

Next week will be a double elimination. That increases the chances that the whiner will go home.

The episodes continue:

Episode 3 - October 21
This episode focuses on resourcefulness. The chefs take it outside. They select ingredients for one another from a collection of wild ingredients. With very little in the way of supplies or cooking equipment the challenge is to create an amazing meal.

Episode 4 – October 28
The chefs travel to Germany. The challenge: create under pressure. The chefs will prepare the ultimate first class meal for passengers of Lufthansa’s new luxury double-decker plane, the Airbus A 380.

Episode 5 – November 4
There are three chefs left. They fly to Paris for the next challenge: lead and inspire. The inspiration part of the challenge is to create dishes that ‘Explain America’ for a party held by Craig Stapleton, the U.S. Ambassador to France. The leading part of the challenge should be interesting. All of the sous chefs are French and do not speak English.

Episode 6 – November 11
The Grand finale challenges the two remaining chefs to attain greatness in the kitchen stadium. There will be a panel of surprise guest judges. The winner will be an ‘Iron Chef’ and begin his reign on the new season of ‘Iron Chef America’ starting on November 18.

Do you have a favorite?

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