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Iron Chef America (Part 1)


bpearis
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Congratulations to eGullet's own Michael Laiskonis for a job well done in his "battle" with Mario Batali. It ws a very interesting episode. While Batali did well, to say that he was more "original" than Laiskonis is ridiculous.

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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Of course, I'm bound to keep the details of my participation and anything else I know confidential. I can say, however, that this was one of the toughest projects I've ever undertaken. Twenty four hours later, and I'm still exhausted.

... though i was bummed that you lost michael.  why did batali have to win?  :angry:  its not fair.  you should've won.  :raz:

Well, Michael may have lost on points (originality, whatever that means :hmmm: ), but he certainly acquitted himself well. Honestly I can understand why the judges would have had a hard time choosing - both chefs (and their crews) performed admirably. Michael, you done yourself proud!

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Gee thanks....I was looking forward to watching it on the west coast.....now I know who won...Damn east coasters and your stupid time difference!...but maybe I should have not clicked on the thread....oh well

Hey Chris, we already know whether you got the "Monster Kitchen" gig. Whana know how it turned out? :laugh:

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I believe that Mario's dishes were more creative in that he had to work with two ingredients that he rarely to never works with in his resto's and I find that creativity comes from unfamiliarity. Michael's dishes were nice but looked to be a little less "exotic". Mario is unstoppable ( is there anything he can't pull off). I thought that Michael having Pichet in his corner was a guaranteed victory ( there I go doubting Mr. Batali again). I am still puzzled as to how Michael could screw up the chocolate (sheets)? I bet it will take him a while to let that one go.

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Mario did a great job, although he barely used any of the ingredients in a few of his dishes. At least the judges said they couldn't taste them. My issue is not so much that Mario won. It is that there was such a wide margin based on originality. So what if he doesn't typically make dishes like that? It doesn't mean they were original. I think Michael's problem was that his dishes were perhaps a little too spare on the plate. All I know is that I think I would have preferred to eat his dishes, myself.

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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Of course I was tuned in to tonights show, and I enjoyed it very much! It was great to actually see Michael move (instead of still photo shots in magazines) and hear him talk. I know that might sound strange but having read his words for so long with no voice........it was exciting for me to see him come to life.

Just some personal thoughts on this show: I noticed the judges repeatedly commented that they didn't taste the chocolate or coconut in Mario's items so I thought that was going to count against him more. Verbally I thought they seemed to praise Michaels work more (at least thats how it seemed edited to me).........and then the score turned that around. What a supprise.

Sorry you West coasters! It's not just who wins, it's how they played the game.

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just wondering, how did he screw up the chocolate sheet? 

While breaking my relative silence, I don't want to go into any of the 'behind the scenes' stuff. As for my tempering mishap, yes, a huge blow and I don't want to make any excuses, but... One, temperature, time, and patience. Two, that marble was awfully tiny and I didn't have the sense to adapt under the gun. And three, dry ice condensing all over chocolate? Ouch.

My nerves and stress aside, it was fun and Mario was both nervous and empathetic of my position. It was an awesome experience, but if ICA offers me a rematch, I'm in.

Thanks for all the supportive comments!

Michael Laiskonis

Pastry Chef

New York

www.michael-laiskonis.com

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It doesn't surprise me that Mario's bigger plates and more plus more ingredients won the judges over. He was certainly "bolder" in his concoctions. It seems that he had the BB, bigger and bolder advantage going for him, it is Iron Chef America afterall. I don't really have any criticisms to Mario Batali's dishes. There were creative and seemed to "work" at a certain level and certainly for a certain type of customer,

Of course given my background and palate I would prefer to consume your dishes. As I said before grace, simplicity, elegant, smooth...

This one is a real toss up for me in a certain way. It's almost like who's better Fred Astaire or Gene Kelley? It's more of a question of who I do prefer for this contest.

I prefer Fred Astaire. My vote is for you Michael.

EDIT: to add that I think if the judges were French the results would have been different. Change that to I know they would be different.

Edited by chefzadi (log)

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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great show. i was thouroughly impressed with both. what a great job. i'll have to say i think the "new rule" of 3 savory dishes saved mr. Batali. As soon as i heard the words "new rule" i thought "uh-oh", because i always get shafted by those damn "new rules".

new rule: no desserts on monday. everyone sleep in. :wink:

...and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce it tastes alot more like prunes than rhubarb does. groucho

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if they offered you a rematch michael, it should be only pastry. no "new rule" stuff. now in that situation, i bet you'd win. anyways, great job to both you and batali. what kind of chocolate was beneath that potato puree? never knew you can put potatoes and chocolate together.

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Man, what a show! I couldn't keep up, it was a whirlwind!

The show was really well executed. I realized quickly that the comedy of the original japanese version was removed and in it's place was a true, down-to-the-wire contest rivaling any one-on-one sporting event like tennis. Sure I missed the nutty translations but this version raised the standard for me. I really was blown away by the action!

I was going in thinking Michael was a shoo-in, but Marios creations slowly built into some pretty interesting dishes. I kept waiting for a mole to materialize, but no! Then take into account the failure of the sheet setting, enforcing the "anything can happen" atmosphere, and you have one hell of a close call.

Much praise for both contestants, the producers and I hope to see more of these.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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I agree with Wendy that is is nice to actually see Michael move and hear him speak instead of just seeing his face in a magazine. I am sorry he lost and do feel he was the better chef.

Although , I do feel anyone who wears shorts in a kitchen ( Batali ) or wears a tight dress ( Batali's female sous chef ) while working on food and is a professional, should have lost. ( I did find it funny ( and well deserved ) when Mario's sous chef with the tight dress/ skirt, was flinching when the hot oil was shooting out from the fryer while she was deep frying the churros :biggrin: )

A tight skirt/dress is great for the night club or a date, but not for kitchen stadium. - unless she was trying to catch someone's eye :blink:

Jason

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I was surprised that Mario won after the comments made by the judges. I was particularly surprised that Mario got one more point on taste after the comments from the judges.

I have to say, though, that watching Mario go at it on Iron Chef is immensely entertaining. The banter between him and Alton is fun to watch.

* AB drinks one of those "Guiness Pub Draught" beers, with the nitrogen cannister in the bottom of the can.

* AB wonders what Budweiser would taste like with one of those...

<AB> . o O (Like shit, still, I should think.)

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just wondering, how did he screw up the chocolate sheet?  i know this is a bit off the record but, one of his sous chefs there, pichet ong..how do you pronounce pichet's name. is it pi-shay or pi-shet?

It's pronounced pea - shay.

Clay Gordon

president, pureorigin

editor/publisher www.chocophile.com

founder, New World Chocolate Society

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Well, it seems one of the elements they've kept intact from the Japan version is that the judges rip the IC a new one during tasting and then give him the win anyways.

Does Mario ever lose his cool? Last night when he was asking for the toasted coconut and one of his chefs told him he had thrown it out it didn't seem to phase him. And then him casually strolling over to the ingredient table and humming something when there were just a few minutes left?

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Funny Jason, I had the same thoughts about the clothing. I think the formality of our uniforms belong ON in a professional kitchen. I don't think it's advances our professions respectiblity to blur the lines between home attire and professional attire.

I must disagree, Wendy. I think what advances any profession's respectability is the quality of the work produced, otherwise it is window dressing. I don't care how a person dresses so long as the dress does not directly effect the quality of the work. If Mario is more comfortable wearing shorts and he cooks better as a result than I say, let him wear shorts!

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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If you've spent your life working in a kitchen you know the struggles we have getting paid respectively for our skills. A persons appearance does effect perceived value, preconceived notions of an industry.

Granted there are highly respected individuals in many highly respectable professions that dress against the preconceived "norm" and they get away with it with-out anyone passing judgment on their appearance. They are our eccentric doctors, lawyers, computer geeks, etc... But you have to admit if everyone in the whole profession/in all professions were to dress similarly it would impact the image of that profession. It's casual Friday going too far...............and in time companies have reeled in employees finding that too casual of attire can lead to casual work.

I can understand Mario taking a unique stand and wearing his "style" as a statement, he is the leader/star of the show. But I think it takes away from his impact/eccentricity to have his staff wearing what ever they want too.

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I thought this was one of the best IC competitions I've ever seen. And I think Michael got screwed by the new rule requiring 3 savory dishes, when he obviously focuses on desserts in his daily work. And I was extremely impressed with how well he rose to the occasion anyway.

Both of the chefs did a great job. We've seen competitions before when the dishes weren't particularly imaginative, given the ingredients; we've seen competitions where it was much eaier to root for one above the other because of behavior issues. This competition had none of that, and I'd be happy to watch these two go at it again. Good show!

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I don't think Michael got screwed by that rule at all. If it went the other way, Mario would have been ata huge disadvantage since he doesn't really do pastry at all. Michael has a strong background in savory cooking. In fact some of the most interesting threads I've read on eGullet stem from Michael discussing mixing of sweet and savory boundaries. I think it was a fair battle with a debatable outcome. Michael acquitted himself very well, but then so did Mario.

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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