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Wylie vs Mario


moosnsqrl
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I am curious to hear what others thought of the Iron Chef battle between Batali and Dufresne. I couldn't decide if the judges just didn't "get" WD's cuisine. I know, it's silly to even care or second guess, given the hype and staged nature of it all, but I watched this particular battle with more interest than most because of the decidedly different styles.

I've eaten Mario's food but have not [yet] been to WD50 so I have no idea (apart from the obvious use of the circulation tanks and a few chemicals) if what he did was typical or representative of his cuisine, but I also had the feeling that the judges weren't of the molecular gastronomy fan club .

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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It was clear that the one woman judge did not understand the Sous Vide method.. When she tasted the Talapia she commented that it was "overcooked" and "mushy"... Sure it might have been mushy, but to say it was overcooked is incorrect..

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I am curious to hear what others thought of the Iron Chef battle between Batali and Dufresne.  I couldn't decide if the judges just didn't "get" WD's cuisine. 

I would imagine from reading his work, that Steingarten "gets" Dufresne, but that doesn't mean that his dishes were tastier than Batali's. Wylie won in originality but lost in taste... which is where it really counts.

"If it's me and your granny on bongos, then it's a Fall gig'' -- Mark E. Smith

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Worst ingredient ever--Tilapia sucks...ground beef or turkey would have been far better.

Anyway, I think you have to get WD, a lot of his food hits every part of your palate in one bite. I think his stuff was a little too out there for the judges, but I was impressed at what he pulled off in an hour.

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It was clear that the one woman judge did not understand the Sous Vide method.. When she tasted the Talapia she commented that it was "overcooked" and "mushy"... Sure it might have been mushy, but to say it was overcooked is incorrect..

The people I watched this with picked up on this, too. (They have personal experience with the sous vide method from my experiments). But anyway, I found this to be a very good battle, very representative of Wylie's cuisine. I found myself being able to predict Wylie's dishes even in the very early stages.

Getting back to Daniel's observation, I find that woman judge hard to watch. I know I'm being judgemental, but I really don't think she should be on the show. She just doesn't exude any class to me and just rubs me the wrong way.

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While we are taking judges off the show I would take the other guy off too.. Just leave Steingarten on.. I would like to see food critics and writers judging.. Maybe even Alton Brown.. But certainly not the two they are using..

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Getting back to Daniel's observation, I find that woman judge hard to watch.  I know I'm being judgemental, but I really don't think she should be on the show.  She just doesn't exude any class to me and just rubs me the wrong way.

My wife absolutely can stand her, agreed would like to see more actual food critics and/or chefs. Just not Rachel Ray

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Getting back to Daniel's observation, I find that woman judge hard to watch.  I know I'm being judgemental, but I really don't think she should be on the show.  She just doesn't exude any class to me and just rubs me the wrong way.

My wife absolutely can stand her, agreed would like to see more actual food critics and/or chefs. Just not Rachel Ray

I was quite concerned when she mentioned that she had never even tried tilapia before. Granted it is not the most exciting fish in the world but it is on many menus these days and carried in most fish stores. This woman seems like the Harriet Myers of food judges to me...

NYC is filled with qualified critics, why can't food tv get some better talent?

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I thought that this was a pretty good battle with a terrible, though visually interesting ingredient (live fish). Both chefs acquitted themselves well. Clearly Wylie was more original and got scored accordingly. Whose tasted better? I couldn't say, although given the judges reactions to some of Wylie's dishes it was clear who was going to win. I had to laugh at the interchanges between Steingarten and the other two judges. It was worth wathcing the show to see WD's techniques in action as well as those interchanges.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

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I'm glad I'm not the only one that thinks the judges except JS sucked! I didn't even catch what qualified the chick to be a judge but she was probably the worse one I've ever seen. I kept thinking lady go back to snarfing McDs as you obviously enjoy that type of er "cuisine" more. That is one of the reason I don't like Iron Chef America. The other is I can't stand Cat Cora or Bobby Flay. So I pick which shows I will watch. ICA just seems boring compared to IC. I don't know if its the palates of the judges or just the cooking itself. But no one seems to come close to the originality of IC. I for one would be interested in tasting some of the wierd ice creams. Then again I'm not stuck on the fact that ice cream should be sweet etc. I'll be interested in watching the shows where Chris our fellow eGulleteer is a judge. It'll be nice to have another judge that appreciates food.

On topic wise. I have never eaten either chef's cuisine but wylie's cuisine seemed just gimicky. Kudos for his creativity but the ingredients and combinations he used seemed to me like they would lack flavor. Seeing him on ICA I'm not sure I would enjoy going to his restaurant more then once. Maybe I just don't get his cuisine either? Mario's approach is more something I would enjoy.

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ricardo lady is the hands-down worst of the bunch.

the lady you all are mentioning does come a close second

also one of the thing that upsets me the most is that the challenger doesn't get to pick the challengee...

its like pre-selected for them

I don't know if this was the format earlier also (ICJ) but it did provide an interesting twist

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While this may be a little bit off topic, I think that the American Iron Chef is a terribly produced show. The cheesiness factor in the japanese version was at least honest and had a bit of charm. The american show's attempt to copy the cheesiness keeps all of its bad characteristics without retaining the good ones. Whoever produces that show is a butthead.

That said, I'd like to note that I personally dislike Wylie's cuisine. My personal opinion is that he is a technically skilled chef who simply has more misses than hits. I agreed with the judges' assessment of his cuisine from my own personal experience at WD50.

Another note - I suspect that even fresh Tilapia is simply not a good match for sous vide. Wylie made a bad call in using a technique for that technique's sake, and should have known better.

Finally, its nice to have people who are not professional eaters in the judges' booth. Personally, I couldn't stand any of the judges and their interactions with the chefs was stiff and uncomfortable...personally, I'd put the chefs somewhere else so they wouldn't just have to stand there while their food is being picked apart.

This was the first american iron chef I've seen and, bad production calls aside, I enjoyed seeing these chefs do their thing, and Alton Brown is probably my favorite TV food personality.

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Cmon Gulleteers.....You are much more sophisticated than that.....

OF COURSE...the requirements to be a judge on the show have nothing to do with qualifications.

Its all about PR and media savviness/connections.

Everyone knows only Steingarten was the only qualified Judge for last nights show.

The queer eye dude was only picked for media recognition and the PR woman for connections.

Clearly, I am not opposed to them being Judges on ICA but just not that show.

I think one of the biggest achilles heels of the show is that they have random judges (at least I am assuming they do), and sometimes, the judges dont fit the style of the chef.

There are much more qualified people to judge last nights show.

Senor RW Apple for one....

I havent liked everything I have eaten at WD but the sucessful dishes were fab and required some element of intellectual thought to understand the flavor pairings.

It only makes sense to at least pick people who are receptive of the style of cuisine.

The woman *wasnt* receptive to Wylies cooking style which is fine but that ought to make her ineligible to judge last nights show. I dont think the fact that the judges are predisposed to having some interest in the cuisine of the chef would be "shilling", if anything...it would make the opinion much more meaningful.

Can you Imagine the the Devi guys (Suvir et al) being on the show and one of the judges doesnt like Indian food or spices ?

Apologies to the women, I am not being sexsist but duuuuuuuuuuuuude.... she just didnt get it.

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I thought this episode was fun to watch - especially considering the theme ingredient. All I could think was, "I wonder if anyone is going to make a gourment filet-o-fish ala McD's."

I know everyone's picking apart the judges for their qualifications, but for me, part of the fun of the show is having people express their tastes, regardless. Doesn't anyone remember the original Iron Chef Japan's judges? You had singers, politicians, actors, artists, sumo wrestlers, baseball players. None of them had the food credentials of Jeffrey Steingarten (whom I love to see judging because he tells it like it is), but they were still all part of the fun of the show.

Without having actually tasted any of the dishes, I think I would also have agreed with the outcome. Wylie's dishes looked fascinating, but Mario's probably enhanced the flavor (!) of the fish more. Either way, it was fun to watch. :)

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It only makes sense to at least pick people who are receptive of the style of cuisine.

The woman *wasnt* receptive to Wylies cooking style which is fine but that ought to make her ineligible to judge last nights show. I dont think the fact that the judges are predisposed to having some interest in the cuisine of the chef would be "shilling", if anything...it would make the opinion much more meaningful.

Can you Imagine the the Devi guys (Suvir et al) being on the show and one of the judges doesnt like Indian food or spices ?

Apologies to the women, I am not being sexsist but duuuuuuuuuuuuude.... she just didnt get it.

That was kind of how I felt about it, and why I started this thread. Obviously I was unable to taste the food so I wasn't meaning to impune their decision and I did notice that WD won the originality points (no huge surprise there). Based on some of the chatter, the looks on their faces as each dish was being described, body language as they tasted, I was already giving WD a snowball's chance in hell after his first course. I just wondered if I was alone in that sense.

And your Indian analogy was spot-on. I understand that some people have a low tolerance for spiciness and that's OK but I certainly wouldn't pick them to judge a chili contest; and that's what I think happened last night. No slight to Mario, though. I would happily eat anything he cooked, any day. Even tilapia.

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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Ted Allen at least knows something about food. His comments are intelligent and show a broader understanding of food, different cuisines and cooking techniques. That woman judge is just awful. My six year old niece has a better palate.

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I have a slightly off topic question, related to the show. 

Isn't tilapia a fresh water fish?  I thought you shouldn't eat freshwater fish raw, because of parasite problems, yet there were several raw dishes on that show.

Good point...maybe the judging problem will take care of itself. :wink:

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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I'm not surprised with the way the judging went - Wylie's food was the closest to dishes on the Iron Chef Japan, fairly out there, and I'm not surprised it didn't play quite as well on the American palate. Still, I would have liked to have tried it, just because I couldn't imagine how some of the combinations would work.

I agree with the consensus on the woman judge, but in general I enjoy seeing Ted Allen as a judge. On some episodes, he was literally the only one who mentioned anything about how the food actually tasted. I will agree that he was not at his best in this battle.

But as long as we're ragging on judges, the Japanese woman judge annoys me no end. If there's even a little oil on the food, it's always judged "too greasy". It makes me want to show her what REAL greasy food is!

Marcia.

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

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I'd have to agree with purplewiz on that one Japanese woman judge. She's rather annoying. And Wylie is the closest to ICJ that we've seen yet.

I think my only really big complaint with the ICA chefs, is that there's not enough use of guts and offal of the theme ingredients. Damn it, I want to see the livers, intestines, eyeballs and fins used! I think the worst was Flay's turkey dinners where all he did was use the turkey breasts.

But that's for another thread. :D

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To me the best person that was ever on ICA was Lo.. The female chef who beat Batali.. I think she is the only person who understands the contest.. She used the secret ingrediant entirely. She beat Batali handily... If you want to speak about the real game, its to highlight the secret ingrediant.. The closest anyone came to Lo was chef came was Dufrene, making noodles from the talapia.. But there were no broths, no foams, no real dishes that displayed the flavor of the fish.. The fish could have been substituted with veal, chicken, or beef.

Sure Dufrene's style is original to begin with, but did he really push himself in this event.. For him, his performance was rather tame.. I think he was more focused on the originality of his method, then his taste..

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The one thing that really surprised me was the presentation scores. If I remember correctly, Mario eeked out Wylie by a half-point or so, which seems ludacris to me. Wylie had some really stunning plates last night, wheras Mario seemed to be taking his ala rustica approach.

I think at my next gig I will just soak all my plates in saffron syrup so people can ooh and ahh over the color, as if you have to be some kind of wizard to throw saffron in water.

That woman judge is consistanltly horrible; rude, ineloquent and seemingly inexperienced when it comes to fine dining. Why is it she's always the one with the tough piece of protein that she just...can't...cut? Admittedly, there have been far worse judes on ICA than her. Take for instance the actor from the Sopranos, who while judging Morimoto's offerings plainly stated "I don't eat nothin raw that don't hit the plate dead. My mama taught me that." Also, we're are spared ICJ's actersses de jour with their stunning insights like "The crab is dancing in my mouth! I'm so happy!"

I have to agree that Sous Vide is not always a great road to take, but after transporting and setting up all that equiptment, I would have cooked whatever the secret ingridient was in it! I would have made hamburger sous vide and beef noodles, if that's what I was given...

Edited by Sethro (log)
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Isn't tilapia a fresh water fish?  I thought you shouldn't eat freshwater fish raw, because of parasite problems, yet there were several raw dishes on that show.

Most tilapia is farmed, so parasites tend to not be as likely a problem as they are with wild fresh water fish.

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