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Starchefs International Chefs Congress 2008


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Morimoto continued

then the skin...

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He started by the mouth.

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He cut with care.

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Morimoto edged around the head.

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His sharp knife held true.

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Once past the head, he started to pull...

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...using more force...

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...until he was able to pull it completely down to the end of the tail.

to be continued...

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Morimoto continued...

With the skin off, Morimoto worked around the head, removing the ribs, the collarbone and then the gills before turning his attention to the internal organs of the fish.

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This is the back of this Japanese monkfish. Morimoto is cutting in front at this point.

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His concentration was great, all the while speaking and avoiding distraction from the likes of myself and other photographers milling about trying to get photos of this fascinating demonstration.

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The audience watched in rapt attention. My son is wearing the yellow shirt with the computer in his lap, dutifully and accurately taking notes.

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Morimoto's assistants begin to work, cleaning the various offal elements of the broken down fish.

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They are cleaning the fish's gills.

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Various fins and internal organs from the fish.

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The part of the monkfish most of us are most familiar with.

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More preparation of the gills.

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Gills.

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Morimoto Chef de Cuisine Jamison Blankenship looks on to monitor the progress of the gill cleaning.

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Morimoto begins to remove the last vestiges of the fish.

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He finally cuts the cheeks from the lightened fish carcass.

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The delicate and delectable cheeks.

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The dissection is completed.

to be continued...

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Wow! It makes me feel very inadequate having been proud of myself for gutting a few sardines...

docsconz--Your reporting on this (and other) event is always excellent, but I feel this year you've reached a higher level because of the help of your son. I think you need to get each of your sons a nice lap desk, so they can cart them around as they work as your transcribers. :biggrin:

(Hey, free food, how can they not want that job?)

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Wow!  It makes me feel very inadequate having been proud of myself for gutting a few sardines...

docsconz--Your reporting on this (and other) event is always excellent, but I feel this year you've reached a higher level because of the help of your son.  I think you need to get each of your sons a nice lap desk, so they can cart them around as they work as your transcribers.  :biggrin:

(Hey, free food, how can they not want that job?)

Thanks, Rona. There is no doubt that my job was made easier and better with my son there and taking notes. I was happy that I had the opportunity to bring him. I very much enjoyed doing this with him. Unfortunately, we had to miss the last day as I had to bring him to start college.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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It was then hung from a pole. Morimoto said that monkfish "are difficult to cut on a board," because "they don't have enough bones."

Thanks for the great report and the photos.

A common explanation you will get in Japan is "because they are watery with a moisture content of 80% or greater and the skin is slimy."

Peter the eater: Not seven stones but seven tools of the monkfish. :biggrin:

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It was then hung from a pole. Morimoto said that monkfish "are difficult to cut on a board," because "they don't have enough bones."

Thanks for the great report and the photos.

A common explanation you will get in Japan is "because they are watery with a moisture content of 80% or greater and the skin is slimy."

Peter the eater: Not seven stones but seven tools of the monkfish. :biggrin:

While that was Morimoto's exact phrase, it may have been stated as such from language difficulties. Morimoto does speak English, though from what I have seen and heard to a fairly limited extent. At least publicly, he does not appear to be all that comfortable with the language. Of course, his English is miles ahead of my Japanese. :laugh:

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Morimoto continued

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With the liver placed inside the cleaned stomach to contain it while being blanched, the Iron Chef moved on to the fileted loins.

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To provide umami, he took "natural MSG" containing seaweed strips...

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...laid the filet strips on top and rolled them up sushi style.

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In the meantime, the blank eyes of the carved up monkfish continued to stare out at the audience.

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Morimoto took the seaweed wrapped filets and placed them on a bed of hot racks spread in a hotel pan.

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More hot rocks were poured on top of the rolled fish.

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The pan was placed in a 400º F oven to bake.

to be continued...

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Do any of you remember this Anglerfish episode of Iron Chef?

I don't specifically. I did love the themes of those original Iron Chef shows. I can see how this Morimoto demo reminded you of this fascinating episode.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Morimoto continued...

The stomach with its livery contents was now poached and tightened.

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Morimoto sliced monkfish skin.

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He then added that to a bowl along with sweet Japanese tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella.

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He sliced the liver, added that to the bowl then began plating a variant of Caprese Sald, by adding olive oil, soy sauce, salt, pepper, nasturtium and yuzu.

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to be continued...

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Morimoto continued...

The Iron Chef moved on to the gills, brushing them down and chopping off the tips.

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The gills are dredged in flour then deep-fried by Jamison Blankenship.

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The hot gills are rolled in a spice mix containing cumin, chili powder, coriander and several others.

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They are served with a flower on top, with the gills to be eaten like chicken wing drumsticks.

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Unfortunately, I didn't get to taste any of these dishes, but I would have been particularly curious about this one.

to be continued...

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Morimoto continued...

The saga continued as Morimoto sliced the stomach with the liver inside for another dish.

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He put the stomach/liver into a bowl along with radish and ponzu sauce.

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The result was one of the more simply plated dishes of his presentation. I like the symmetry of the green and white radish and the similarly colored harlequin pattern of the plate.

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to be continued...

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Morimoto continued...

Morimoto started the next dish with dashi in a cast iron pot on the cooktop, then put the egg sac and remainder of the liver in.

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After straining in miso so that it did not clump, Morimoto poured in heavy cream.

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The cream was followed by saké and salt, which he added with a resounding "Bam!" before letting it stew.

Morimoto added some radish to garnish the top of the stew.

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to be continued...

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Morimoto continued...

Morimoto made a monkfish liver puree with which he made a type of ponzu, squeezing in yuzu juice.

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Taking more of the raw loin, he sliced it thinly...

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...then placed it on a plate, upon which he added chopped chives and some of the skin...

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...before finishing it with chunks of liver, the liver ponzu and drizzling some hot oil on top.

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to be continued...

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Morimoto continued...

Morimoto returned to his seaweed wrapped monkfish loin that he had placed amongst hot rocks and put into a 400º F oven.

Steam erupted as Morimoto poured water over the hot rocks.

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With the steam dissipating, Morimoto removed the loaf.

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Carefully removed from its stony bed, Morimoto placed the loaf on a cutting board and began to open it with his knife.

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Plated with some of the hot rocks, a squeeze of yuzu finished the plate.

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Iron Chef Morimoto with his six plates completed in under an hour.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Doc, I'm thoroughly enjoying this report. Thank you so much for doing it.

I've got to think that Morimoto throwing in "Sake and salt with a resounding 'Bam'" must have nearly brought the house down.

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Thanks, Daniel & Kerry. I'm glad that you have enjoyed it so far. I am having fun reliving it here.

Morimoto did get more than a few chuckles with his "Bam!" though I suspect he may have received more from a different audience.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Peter the eater:  Not seven stones but seven tools of the monkfish. :biggrin:

Thanks my friend, I don't want to propegate misinformation! :biggrin:

I had to think hard where that mix-up came from -- there's a book about a fellow Canadian architect called The Seven Stones. Oops.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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For those who may be interested in seeing more of Morimoto's presentation see Starchef's website for a podcast summarizing it more succinctly than I did. There is also a description of Morimoto's technique for breaking down the monkfish with photos by Michael Harlan Turkell and a recipe for Blowfish Carpaccio with Monkfish Liver Ponzu Sauce very similar to the one he did at the Congress.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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There was time for a quick lunch after Morimoto's session as the workshops were set to start.

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My son and I had some very simply prepared Alaskan sablefish right out of the CVap at the Winston Industries booth, then had some more prepared a bit more elaborately by Barton Seaver at the Alaska Seafood Booth. The WI sablefish was, in fact, cooked for Chef Seaver to finish. Both were delicious. I wish I had easier access to this quality of fish where I live!

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In addition we had some tasty lamb burgers prepared by Chef Franklin Becker.

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John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Quick visits to the workshops:

Wylie Dufresne: The Evolution of a Dish: An Interpretation of Eggs Benedict

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This was another packed workshop. Wylie expounded on his riffs on various comfort foods using Eggs Benedict as his prime example.

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John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Iacopo Falai:Fatto in Casa: Developing a Practical In-House Bread Program

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Falai addressed the benefits of and practical aspects of running an in-house bread program such as he does at his three restaurants. He focused on making a pan dolce 5 different ways for the hands-on component of his workshop.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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