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Everything posted by Danika

  1. Your mention of Korean ingredients reminded me of a video I came across the other day when I was searching for some spices and the places in NYC to get them http://www.blip.tv/file/2811492. The chef has mentioned the Korean red chilies and has also told some uses of the same. The chilies are supposed to have a very mild flavor unlike the searing taste that is associated with chilies. I think you are not alone in the quest for such ingredients since more and more people are realizing that the next trend in cuisines is the strong Asian influence. Let me know if you find this useful!
  2. Admittedly a nail biting final! I had been rooting for Chef Mehta throughout the series and had screamed myself hoarse in his support at the cost of being called his PR agencyJ. Too bad that Chef Mehta lost but I was happy about the fact that the judges really appreciated his talents. I agreed with Judge Donatella when she pointed out that Chef Mehta and Chef Garces together made a complete Iron Chef combination. Chef Mehta is amazingly creative and has a knack to create innovative flavor combinations which Chef Garces lacks completely. Chef Mehta has the ability to hit these culinary highs which are unmatched which complements Chef Garces’ insipid yet consistent style. So what one lacks the other makes up for it. I guess it is a hint to Food Network to pair them to make an Iron Chef team!
  3. His graceful behavior is evident from the fact that he has never bad mouthed anybody nor has he looked down upon anybody’s preparations. He lets his food do the talking. Another thing that I like about him is that he has never played a victim just to get some audience sympathy. He has had numerous occasions where he could have complained as other contestants often do. Take for example the time when Chef Mullen wrestled the leg of lamb leg out of his hand or when Chef Mullen blocked the ice cream machine and left it unclean. I completely appreciate Chef Mehta’s spirit of taking everything in his stride. That is proof of his graceful behavior and proof of the confidence he has in his own abilities. This chef is unquestionably talented and humble.
  4. Actually Chef Mehta did explain his actions regarding the ice – cream machine but maybe you missed that part. During the previous challenge when Chef Mullen had used the ice – cream machine he had left it unclean in spite of knowing that Chef Mehta was going to use it after him. Chef Mehta just gave him the taste of his own medicine so I don't know why anyone should feel bad for Chef Mullen.
  5. I agree with you. In fact the same thing happened in the Indian round. Chef Mehta had cooked the most delectable Indian feast and the judges were totally impressed with his efforts. They went on to declare that it was delicious and had all the right flavors. They criticized Chef Garces’ food majorly because it lacked any Indian taste to it. He had served Dal with zucchini! I agree that he had innovated but the outcome of innovation should be balanced flavors. I don’t know how they thought a touch of Zucchini could balance anything in a Dal. So there is no bias towards anyone but an attempt to increase the entertainment value. Now there is nothing wrong in editing a reality show to increase the entertainment value but they need to stop misleading people!
  6. That’s a good observation. Also the idea is to see how adaptable these chefs are to the other foreign cuisines. I think the reason they have introduced these different cuisine rounds is because they want a chef who can cook in all these cuisines and yet have a distinctive style with which he cooks the dish. I think the final 3 contestants have proven that they can hold their own in any cuisine. Chef Garces did a great job in the Japanese preparations in spite of being known for his Mexican style though I am not convinced about his win in the Indian cuisine. At the same time Chef Mehta did exceedingly well in the Mexican round. The Tamarind Braised Pork was not an authentic Mexican dish but had all the Mexican flavors to it. I think the last two episodes are going to be really exciting to watch and the final will be between Chef Mehta and Chef Garces. My vote is reserved for Chef Mehta from the very beginning!
  7. I could not believe that Chef Appleman was asked to go, especially after he had won the first round in that episode. If you ask me, I was thoroughly disappointed with the judges’ knowledge of Indian food. They made some weird comments about not serving yogurt with food, and then they also said something about beef not being a very common ingredient in India. To top it all, they decided to announce Chef Garces, who had served undercooked dessert and a Daal with Zucchini on it, as the winner! Since I am a Chef Mehta fan I was obviously rooting for him to win. His preparations were definitely authentic and he had captured the essence of India on that platter. His plating was superb and uncluttered. I felt like taking a bite of the Puri and the Halva which he had served on the traditional banana leaf. Judge Donatella did mention that he had not innovated at all but the challenge did not call for the chefs to innovate! My next favorite was Chef Freitag. I mean her platter did look a little crowed but I was impressed with her potato slices trick in the Saffron Rice. It was neat. She was the only one besides Chef Mehta who had brought the whole Indian theme together.
  8. Guess you have not been watching the shows closely! The recent episode showed Chef Mehta as the winner and not Chef Garces! Running a restaurant successfully and winning a competition are two different things. A competition needs presence of mind, an ability to handle pressure and a killer instinct. Chef Mehta has exhibited all these skills. In the 4th episode, where the chefs had to shop for themselves, Chef Garces was sweating at the shopping mall because shopping under pressure is not his thing! Chef Mehta, on the other hand, knew exactly what he wanted and made a dash for all those things. He had organized his thoughts and got his act together as soon as he was in the kitchen. Mexican food is not Chef Mehta’s domain but he was able to execute the challenge smoothly and went on to win the round! Also I don’t see any other chef being very innovative with his food. I cannot imagine anyone serving a dish in a “take-out” container, the way Chef Mehta did in the last episode. I feel being innovative is a major part of being a successful IC. By the way, in case you don’t know, Chef Mehta is not only successful in the competition but also runs a fantastic restaurant called Graffiti.
  9. I agree! The only 2 people who have shown consistency in their performance on the show so far have been Chef Jehangir Mehta and Chef Jose Garces. Both have been complimented for their cool head (Judge Donatella complimented Chef Mehta and Alton Brown complimented Chef Garces) So we know that they can perform well under extreme stress. As Alton Brown keeps saying, a good chef can never have a bad day in the kitchen and Chef Mehta and Garces make their bad days work for them. Chef Appleman may be talented but because of his childish attitude he's making himself really unpopular. I feel being popular with the audience is also an important aspect of the show. The judges felt Chef Crenn’s preparations were really poor. It just shows that anyone can get eliminated at any point of time. Chef Trevino has been consistently skimming the bottom of the list for the last 2 episodes. This seems to be a trend with chefs who eventually get eliminated. I feel that the next episode, which has a double elimination in it, will give us a better picture of who will be in the final round and I do hope Chef Mehta makes it.
  10. I am not a big fan of Chef Nate Appleman but he did pretty well this time. Chef Mehta, the winner of this battle , also impressed me with his preparation especially the tamarind braised apple pork which looked mouth watering. I am really impressed with his consistency but I agree with the judges that he should just let the ice – cream machine be for a while. I think, in case of Chef Mehta, there is more than what meets the eye. I agree with Brad Farmerie’s comment that he is someone to look out for. The first time he won was because of his authentic curry and rice preparation but since he has grown up eating that, it was obvious that he could cook it well but this time around he made a Mexican preparation and excelled at that too. That says a lot about his talent. A lot of chefs commented that this was a tough battle. Perhaps because it had more to do with food flavors, specific cuisines and how well each of them could bring the flavors together
  11. Jehangir Mehta’s approach was different and gutsy. We know his plating skills are amazing. It would have been a cinch for him to create another fancy plate but he chose a different concept. I thought he nailed the challenge in terms of his understanding of American sensibilities. Gourmet take-out is a cool concept and very American. I find that Jehangir Mehta is one of the most interesting chefs to watch on the show because he’s unpredictable and wacky and more importantly his food is good. I’m sure his Thai Curry must have been good too. Just because Jeffery disliked it (and the others were too afraid to disagree) doesn’t mean it was bad. In the end, it all comes down to pandering to the judges’ palates. Jehangir Mehta decided to do his own thing (not flatter the judges) that’s what makes him stick out of the crowd. Besides like Alton Brown said while announcing the results, the judges thought Jehangir Mehta's take-out idea was and I quote "a brilliant presentation and a strong play to break out of the pack". I like Freitag too but I think her only flaw is that she’s too safe all the time. My other favorite is Chef Mullen.
  12. Episode 3 was awesome! All the chefs were thrown off the deep end by the chairman this time. The second test of this episode was definitely the toughest challenge the chefs have faced so far. None of them specialize in West Asian cuisine yet for their first test they had to recreate Thai, Korean, Vietnamese and Chinese dishes. This was the easy part. In the second test they had to create a completely new dish that was a hybrid of Asian flavors (which they had sampled in the first test) and American culinary sensibilities. Of all the chefs on the show Chef Jehangir Mehta has proven to be the most daring and imaginative of the lot, while Chef Seamus Mullen and Amanda Freitag are clearly battling it out at the top. Brad Farmerie was a very talented chef but I knew he would be knocked out. That said; I can’t believe that only one Chef wins at the end of the show! All of them are so talented. However, if I had to pick a restaurant to eat at I would pick Seamus Mullen’s Boqueria Flatiron, Jehangir Mehta’s Graffiti or Jose Garces’ Amada. I would pick Chef Mullen’s Boqueria Flatiron because his food looks well though out and balanced, I would pick Graffiti because I love the way Chef Mehta experiments with food and because his preparations always look so good and I would pick Chef Garces’ Amada because he comes across well.
  13. I can’t help feeling that the people at NIC are giving Chef Jehangir Mehta an unfair ‘villain’s edit’ for the season’s second episode. His posts about the show on his personal website indicate otherwise. On winning the first test he said his mantra ‘was to draw attention with simplicity and precision’. He just seems very focused. He has also posted recipes on his website. I watched a video (on his website) on how to make thyme roasted potatoes and I have also tried his Prosecco Lychee Martini recipe. Both the recipes turned out amazingly well! Simple and delicious. I like him and really hope he wins.
  14. I watched that episode. It was Morimoto against Chef Jehangir Mehta. I always support the dark horse so I was hoping Mehta would win. Besides I thought he made the most versatile use of the ingredient. It’s hard to beat coconut scallops topped with deep fried coconut chips, coconut flavored cotton candy and marshmallows. He’s got some interesting recipes on his personal website too (www.jehangirmehta.com). They seem simple enough to prepare (Going to try making some thyme roasted potatoes tonight). Morimoto’s noodles looked mouth-watering as well. *sigh! I need a snack!
  15. Thank god you didn’t pick the contestants then. If you had, then all of them would have been pizza chefs… Haven’t visited public or double crown but I have visited Graffiti and I liked it. I visited it after Jehangir Mehta’s performance on Iron Chef America and was surprised to find Mehta taking time out to explain his preparations to us… Maybe you tried the wrong dish (not a big fan of eclectic cuisine?). Most of his food tends to be light so if you like your food to be heavy on the carbs then you may not like the place. With a Zagat rating of 26, Graffiti must be doing something exceptionally good. If I had to pick one out of the group I would pick Garces or Mullen. Appleman is too political.
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