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Mar 15, 2009 10:02 PM

ICA: Flay v. Kinch (Battle Cabbage)

Why was there a "farmer" on the judging panel?

And how ridiculous was it to have the "farmer" dressed in denim overalls? What farmer today looks like that? 50 years ago, maybe. Today? A modern farmer is as much a scientist dressed in a pair of Dockers and nice pressed shirt as anything else ... Sheesh.

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  1. The overalls were a silly touch. I liked the concept of having a farmer be a judge, especially with a secret ingredient being a vegetable, however. I wonder if the farmer was more of an agribusiness person or if he is a true farmer (from Ohio, I think they said).

    What a battle. I love David Kinch and Manresa and everything he prepared looked incredible. I'm hoping he does a dinner at Manresa where he prepares the dishes he made on the show.

    Bobby Flay's plating really looked amateurish compared to Kinch's and he had two dishes of basically a hunk of meat + cabbage. They looked pretty boring.

    I would have loved to see Kinch v. Morimoto. I think that would have been a much more interesting battle.

    6 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        The spread in scores was similar to that in the Italian cheese battle which Mario won.

      2. re: farmersdaughter

        farmersdaughter: I was left BREATHLESS by last night's competition, and this show has never done that to me. What an ass-whuppin'. And on his debut appearance!

        Here's a link to a SJ Merc article about it, where it mentions Kinch has ruled out your suggestion: '"There's nothing we make in this restaurant that we make in an hour," he said.'

        1. re: sailorgrrl05

          I think we will see an Iron Chef dinner being offered. There will be demand for it, the food costs are almost nothing, and it can be done in an hour!

          1. re: sailorgrrl05

            I saw that article, but one can still hope . . . I'll keep my fingers crossed.

            1. re: farmersdaughter

              I would love to be able to try that cabbage quenelle and that "napoleon"!!!

        2. The overalls and bowtie is obviously Lee Jones' schtick, it's not like ICA had a wardrobe department that decided to dress him like that. Here's his website where he is dressed the exact same way ->

          David Kinch gave what I thought was one of the most remarkable performances ever by an ICA challenger. His stuff looked and sounded exquisite and - not that I really pay that much attention to the "competition" angle of the show - I don't recall ever seeing a challenger run rings around the "Iron Chef" to quite the same degree. With cabbage!

          I have never been to Manresa but sure want to go now.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Frodnesor

            I found the "farmer" ingratiating, frankly; everything he tasted was "exquisite" or "perfect", except for one dish involving chestnuts IIRC. I just didn't feel he offered anything as a judge, unlike the picky, snobbish judge from Saveur mag...

            During the mid-program chat with the judges, Farm Boy said something to the effect that "cabbage is under-appreciated in America." I dunno, I found that comment absurd, frankly. Now, if he'd says chayote squash was under-appreciated, I'd have likely agreed, but cabbage?

            Anyway, fun episode. I felt bad for Chef Flay -- his had his brussel sprouts handed to him by Chef Kinch.


            1. re: Frodnesor

              If the Test Kitchen boss gets by with a bow tie, why not the grower of specialty vegetables?

              1. re: Frodnesor

                Long time no see Frod. Anyways, it's pretty much pop warner vs NFL. Flay was totally outclassed and it showed. I could cook at least half the dishes from Flay's array. This is not a testament to my skills but more of Flay's lack thereof. I can safely say that I couldn't make a single Kinch dish even if I were given the recipe.

                I would highly recommend Manresa when you go to the Bay Area. You know I'm a huge fan of NYC high end dining but Manresa, in terms of cuisine, beats them all. I thought the flavors there were much more original and delcious than what I had at TFL. Definitely one of the the top dining experiences in the country.

                A well deserved win for Kinch.

              2. For those that don't know, Farmer Lee Jones is the owner of Chef's Garden farms. He supplies produce/microgreen/etc to the like of Thomas Keller, Charlie Trotter, etc. They don't pick your vegetables until you order them to maintain high quality and freshness.

                1. Note to Chowhound: Can this be consolidated into the original thread on this subject?


                  1. Fun episode. I always miss Jeffrey. Attire of judges isn't incredibly important to me.