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Iron Chef America (Part 2)


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Robert Irvine and Tyler Florence vs Cat Cora and Paula Deen according to TiVo.

dear god

Clearly there is no god.

"Gourmandise is not unbecoming to women: it suits the delicacy of their organs and recompenses them for some pleasures they cannot enjoy, and for some evils to which they are doomed." Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

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Imo, it's worth it to catch the rerun just for the last 20 minutes or so--then you can see Symon's take on 'turducken'--a deconstructed stuffing topped with a poached duck egg, a puree of chicken livers, and turkey cracklings! He had me at the duck egg. :wub:

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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anyone have anything to report about the battle last night? i went to bed early zzzzzzzzzzzzz

Symon won with a score of something like 51 to 43.

shel

Sometimes I think it's unfair to even comment/judge based on a 2-D observation with no olfactory or gustatory input. Last night, Symon's food was so obviously superior to Moore's, unless there was a giant coating of umami on the latter's and the former's was poisonous, there should have been no doubt. I just don't think the challenger had the chops - not to take away from Michael's food, mind you - just a clear-cut victory if ever there were one.

Symon didn't laugh enough to suit me, though. I know he was taking it all seriously, not wanting to start out with an "L" but I do love his almost-maniacal cackle.

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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anyone have anything to report about the battle last night? i went to bed early zzzzzzzzzzzzz

Symon won with a score of something like 51 to 43.

shel

Sometimes I think it's unfair to even comment/judge based on a 2-D observation with no olfactory or gustatory input. Last night, Symon's food was so obviously superior to Moore's, unless there was a giant coating of umami on the latter's and the former's was poisonous, there should have been no doubt. I just don't think the challenger had the chops - not to take away from Michael's food, mind you - just a clear-cut victory if ever there were one.

Symon didn't laugh enough to suit me, though. I know he was taking it all seriously, not wanting to start out with an "L" but I do love his almost-maniacal cackle.

"Screaming Mimi" as Anthony Bourdain calls it. And having had the fried chicken livers at Lolita ... I was about ready to lick the screen when I saw he was preparing them.

Goodness those dishes looked good.

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I know the ICs have to plan their dishes and cook totally on the fly, but I truly wish FN would post some of their recipes, if they manage to retain/codify one. If something looks outstanding, I try to take notes while the chef is preparing the dish, but you know how hit-or-miss that can be. I would love to have been able to replicate some of the dishes on TNIC.

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Claudia Greco, planning and cooking on the fly is what I thought the Iron Chefs were doing, too. But after a little web research, I discovered this isn't the case. This is what Amatuer Gourmet said about ICA and the advance notice of the potential secret ingredient: Amatuer Gourmet

And MSNBC story at slashfooddotcom.

mcohen, I feel your angst. :huh:

Edited because I can't spell, my punctuation is bad, my grammer is even worse, and it takes more than one pass for my thoughts to gel. :wacko:

Edited by Jane Die (log)
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Claudia Greco, planning and cooking on the fly is what I thought the Iron Chefs were doing, too. But after a little web research, I discovered this isn't the case. This is what Amatuer Gourmet said about ICA and the advance notice of the potential secret ingredient: Amatuer Gourmet

This was revealed (unintentionally?) on the original Iron Chef America, Making of . They spotlighted the food buyer, Jill Novat who buys the Iron Chef's special ingredients. There is one scene in which the shopper is buying lotus root from Morimoto's shopping list, and says that might be a clue to the secret ingredient.

Iron Chef is WWF with food. I've never understood why people act surprised when the curtain goes up, except for that reason.

"Gourmandise is not unbecoming to women: it suits the delicacy of their organs and recompenses them for some pleasures they cannot enjoy, and for some evils to which they are doomed." Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

MetaFooder: linking you to food | @foodtwit

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Claudia Greco, planning and cooking on the fly is what I thought the Iron Chefs were doing, too. But after a little web research, I discovered this isn't the case. This is what Amatuer Gourmet said about ICA and the advance notice of the potential secret ingredient: Amatuer Gourmet

This was revealed (unintentionally?) on the original Iron Chef America, Making of . They spotlighted the food buyer, Jill Novat who buys the Iron Chef's special ingredients. There is one scene in which the shopper is buying lotus root from Morimoto's shopping list, and says that might be a clue to the secret ingredient.

Iron Chef is WWF with food. I've never understood why people act surprised when the curtain goes up, except for that reason.

Can't place where I'd heard/read this (I think it was the Making Of ep), but my understanding is that there is a tiny bit of "surprise" to the secret ingredient: the chefs are told of *two* potential ingredients ahead of time, and can plan two sets of menus accordingly. But yeah, there's certainly no way entire phalanxes of chefs, sous, and prep cooks can hit the ground running the way they so obviously do without having a plan preformulated.

In contrast, I had the sense that the final challenge in The Next Iron Chef did seem to be a spontaneous one, so I think Besh and Symon did a particularly bang-up job on that (even if it wasn't necessarily an earth-shattering ingredient).

Christopher

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Claudia Greco, planning and cooking on the fly is what I thought the Iron Chefs were doing, too. But after a little web research, I discovered this isn't the case. This is what Amatuer Gourmet said about ICA and the advance notice of the potential secret ingredient: Amatuer Gourmet

And MSNBC story at slashfooddotcom.

mcohen, I feel your angst.  :huh:

Edited because I can't spell, my punctuation is bad, my grammer is even worse, and it takes more than one pass for my thoughts to gel. :wacko:

While the IC Japanese chefs had NO inkling whatsoever about the secret ingredient, I've known for a while that the IC Americzan chefs are given a short list ahead of time of what the secret ingredient might be - which always annoyed me thoroughly. Then, too, in the beginning, the challengers always had the ICA chef they'd be going up against (I guess so the IC could fit all the tapings into his busy schedule), which REALLY ticked me off so much, I've refused to watch it until the TNIC competition. (In Japan, all the chefs were brought in on a Sunday morning, and they taped several episodes back to back. Even if only, say, two IC Japan chefs were selected for battle, all four came in and were prepared to tape. All day.)

The IC Japan set was completely broken down after the taping and rebuilt every week, with the gas lines, etc., being re-laid weekly (!!!) It was damn near stadium size, which is why they had the electricity of a live audience, and ICA is so flat - a small studio atop the Chelsea Market, home to FN. That, too, really kills the energy of ICA for me.

Plus, unlike the energetic and inquisite floor reporter Ohta and color commentator "Fukui-san", Kevin Bruach never seems to do his homework and find out anyrthing about the more exotic ingredients. Hey, if you know in advance that they're going to use, say, natto, then find OUT about the freaking natto! What are it's properties? How is used? What's it made of? What makes it hard to handle? Brauch is large useless and clueless. Either get a real food floor reporter, or send Alton down on the floor.

And, as much as I respect Alton, he really does have to learn to pronounce ricotta. It really is NOT "ree-COAT-ah", anymore than "AL-ton" is "AWL-ton." (That, and Gordon Ramsay's "riz-ZOTT-o" and "PIE-lah" for paella drive me wild.)

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While the IC Japanese chefs had NO inkling whatsoever about the secret ingredient, I've known for a while that the IC Americzan chefs are given a short list ahead of time of what the secret ingredient might be - which always annoyed me thoroughly. Then, too, in the beginning, the challengers always had the ICA chef they'd be going up against (I guess so the IC could fit all the tapings into his busy schedule), which REALLY ticked me off so much, I've refused to watch it until the TNIC competition. (In Japan, all the chefs were brought in on a Sunday morning, and they taped several episodes back to back. Even if only, say, two IC Japan chefs were selected for battle, all four came in and were prepared to tape. All day.)

I'm sorry, but I'm not sure where you are getting all of your information. According to the Iron Chef book, the IC Japanese chefs were given a secret ingredient list as in the American show. This was not true at the very beginning of the run (when Ishinabe was IC French, and that information is courtesy of him, from that same book), and that may be what you're thinking of. There are multiple references in that book as well as on the show itself to the planning meetings that would take place on both the ICs and challengers' part once they had their secret ingredient clues.

It's been widely reported (though I suppose I don't have a primary source for this) that the Iron Chefs on the Japanese show were pre-selected for the challenger, just as in the American show. I suppose this should be obvious from the practical standpoint (Morimoto had to fly from New York to Japan for taping, and it seems implausible that he'd do so for nothing.) It is often cited that the footage of the Iron Chefs rising into the stadium is "stock" footage and that the selection of the Iron Chef is always shot so that only that chef is seen (because the others aren't there.)

None of this ought to be surprising. Iron Chef America didn't spring out of a vacuum. The New York Times reported that the producers, first thing, were flown to Japan for an "indoctrination session" with Fuji during which they watched hundreds of episodes of Iron Chef Japan. The MSNBC story reports that the "rule book" is based on the one used in Japan.

The secret ingredient list -- the evidence here is what's reported in the media as well as testimony from the challengers. From this, we can say that the number of items on the list is not fixed. It's been reported as two (Grimes' New York Times story on Flay vs. Bayless), three (multiple times, including firsthand testimony from challengers), five (the "official" number derived from the Japanese show, according to MSNBC), and six (Chicago Tribune story that closely follows challenger Graham Elliott Bowles from the initial phone call to final judging controversy).

Two final comments:

First, I have always hated the widespread analogy linking Iron Chef to professional wrestling. The participants of professional wrestling -- that's their job -- they make their living as actors in a fake, scripted competition. With Iron Chef, the participants take a modest amount of time out of their real professional lives to do the show. The chefs and judges are real people; some are egullet members. We're talking scores and scores of people who do not depend on the Food Network or Iron Chef for their livelihood. Every participant who has ever commented on the show has said it's real. Most have been enthusiastic about the experience and have said they would do it again. The very existence of this show is dependent on the goodwill of an external, well-connected professional community to provide participants. It defies plausibility that this would be the case if the show were largely scripted by the network as far as the battle, the outcome, etc. Nobody to my knowledge has ever come close to demonstrating that the show is not essentially what it claims to be. At worst there is the possibility of individual judges, for whatever reason, being less than honorable. But that's an unfortunate danger with any such event (Olympic boxing, skating, gymnastics, etc.)

Second, as I said on the Next Iron Chef thread, we're all working off the same sources here -- books, TV, news. Sure, I'm always interested if somebody says something about the show that I didn't know, based on a source that isn't widely accessible. But there seems to be a lot of "knowledge" out there that isn't supported.

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I'm sorry, but I'm not sure where you are getting all of your information. According to the Iron Chef book, the IC Japanese chefs were given a secret ingredient list as in the American show. This was not true at the very beginning of the run (when Ishinabe was IC French, and that information is courtesy of him, from that same book), and that may be what you're thinking of. There are multiple references in that book as well as on the show itself to the planning meetings that would take place on both the ICs and challengers' part once they had their secret ingredient clues.

Yep, I watched ALL the episodes aired in the States, way back to the Ishinabe days, before there was the secret ingredient list. And, yes, when they had to fly Morimoto in for a special battle much later on in the series, of course Fuji TV could be expected to utilize him to the fullest. But the three original IC America chefs are all NY-based (except Morimoto, who schleps between NY and Philly), and the original episodes of ICA made no bones about pre-selecting the IC for the given challenger. It was a lot more interesting when the Japanese challengers had to think their way through selecting an IC, and then hope the secret ingredient wasn't a special favorite of the IC, who might have some expertise with it.) Those original scenarios were a lot more challenging and provided a lot more dramatic tension. Hey, I loved it every time the dread Kandagawa/Ohta faction tried to take out Morimoto or Sakai, only to find that their old-school Japanese guy had to work with, say, foie gras. ""Ooooooo! Nan desk'! Say it isn't so!") :biggrin:
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Yeah, I imagine none of this is news, and I never really thought there was a tooth fairy, or Santa Claus. But honestly, I've only devoted a very small portion of my time to uncovering the awful truth about anything on the television. I assume most of it is bogus, and provided for entertainment purposes only. ONLY.

And I'm not bashing the chefs or the judges or the announcers or camera crew or the rest of the crew. But I do think it not inappropriate to call it culinary wrestling, or boxing as I previously stated (which would lend more credence to the actual validity of the battles, yeah? though god knows there's never been a legitimate sporting event rigged. Not one. Not ever.) I'm sorry I used the word "rigged".

I don't care. That's just sum of it. I do not care. I've got my own stinking fish to fry. :cool:

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Symon didn't laugh enough to suit me, though. I know he was taking it all seriously, not wanting to start out with an "L" but I do love his almost-maniacal cackle.

Agreed- that laugh is the reason I wanted him to win the competition in the first place. hope we get to hear it more as he settles in.

That turducken was brilliant.

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All I know is that Paula Deen and Cat Cora are teaming up against Robert Irvine and what's-his-name on ICA. What on earth is going on at the Food Network???

Wow. I'm watching this right now and I think the only thing that could salvage this dessert battle would be if Paula Deen started screaming "Tell me 'bout the rabbits Robert! Tell me 'bout the rabbits!" and he snuck up behind her and planted a slug right behind her ear.

Jerry

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All I know is that Paula Deen and Cat Cora are teaming up against Robert Irvine and what's-his-name on ICA. What on earth is going on at the Food Network???

That. Was. An. Abomination.

If I were Mario Batali, I'd be well on my way out The Network's back door.

And I would be frantically pulling every picture of myself off the walls, and every reference to me out of the files and shredding them as fast as I could, so that no one ever again could associate me with *that*.

FN CANNOT sink any lower. It didn't even have one-glass-too-many-of-wine-let's-watch-a-trainwreck-for laughs value.

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

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Cora keeps losing despite the endless lowering of her competition: it's embarrassing for all of us, and screams tokenism.

Cat Cora has a better won/lost record on ICA than Morimoto:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_resul...on_Chef_America

shel

Based on the figures listed on the wiki link, Kat Cora's loss percentage is at 33.33%, while Morimoto's loss is at 29.16%. And the quality of opponents Morimoto had to do battle are more skilled. Kat Cora's skills, as Iron Chef, is a joke.

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Cora keeps losing despite the endless lowering of her competition: it's embarrassing for all of us, and screams tokenism.

Cat Cora has a better won/lost record on ICA than Morimoto:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_resul...on_Chef_America

shel

Based on the figures listed on the wiki link, Kat Cora's loss percentage is at 33.33%, while Morimoto's loss is at 29.16%. And the quality of opponents Morimoto had to do battle are more skilled. Kat Cora's skills, as Iron Chef, is a joke.

Wikipedia is wrong as of 11/26/07 at 10:20 EST. The record shown in the table is Morimoto's record from the Japanese version of the show. (Actually, to my count, Cora's record is the only one shown correctly on that table.) On the American show Morimoto is at exactly 0.500.

It is not obvious to me that their quality of competition has been very different, though that is subjective, and I defer to more knowledgeable people in that regard:

(Wins by the Iron Chef are bold)

Cora: Alex Lee, Neal Fraser, Sam Choy, Kerry Simon, Dotolo & Shook, Walter Scheib, Michael Psilakis, Joey Campanaro, Elizabeth Falkner, Walter Royal, David Myers, Mary Dumont, Alexandra Guarnaschelli, Mark Tarbell, Irvine/Florence.

Morimoto: Rob Feenie, Roberto Donna (x2), Aaron Sanchez, Tom Douglas, Michael Symon, Christophe Eme, Patricia Yeo, Homaro Cantu, Linton Hopkins, Tim Love.

Notes: Morimoto went 1-1 against Donna, and his win was guaranteed by Donna essentially forfeiting by not completing his dishes. The battle against Eme was arguably uneven as Eme was short-staffed. Morimoto-Sanchez was a tie.

Edited by Leonard Kim (log)
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All I know is that Paula Deen and Cat Cora are teaming up against Robert Irvine and what's-his-name on ICA. What on earth is going on at the Food Network???

That. Was. An. Abomination.

I couldn't agree more. I literally sat there last night, dumbstruck, as to how it could possibly get any worse. Was it me or did the judges seem WAY TOO lenient when it came to the judging of the dishes? Tyler's Buche de Noel was a complete disaster and the thought of combining processed cheese food with chocolate had me gagging.

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the thought of combining processed cheese food with chocolate had me gagging.

Yeah, there's just something rather unnatural about pairing Velveta and chocolate. I'm not sure if the problem was compounded by the addition of caramel, white chocolate and nuts or not. Call me a candy snob, I don't care how many bows you tie on it, or how much red sugar you stick it in, it was an unappealing mess I just didn't want to try. And, if you watched the judges they weren't to eager to try it either. I was, however, interested in trying Tyler's Gingerbread cakes and Robert's Cranberry Clafloutie.

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