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Your fantasy Iron Chef episode

..wherein you get to be a judge. Pick up to four chefs, in combinations of one or two.

Mine's Mario Batali and Tony Bourdain vs. susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken. Imagine the food- and Bourdain would be there more for entertainment value because Batali is a force unto himself. But hey- it's my fantasy show.

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  1. Thomas Keller and Eric Ripert v. Juan Mari Arzak and Ferran Adria

    1 Reply
    1. Well, sadly, my fantasy would no longer be possible, but I would have liked to have seen Madeleine Kamman challenge Julia Child.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Normandie

        Mmm. Kamman was so rude where Child was concerned. I would have liked to see Julia mop up the floor with her.

        1. re: jmckee

          I'm afraid you'll have to fill me in on that one, j. (If you care to, that is.)

          1. re: Normandie

            In "Appetite for Life", a biography of Child, Kamman is quoted as saying, among other things, that she would "teach that dame how to cook." She appears to have been extremely jealous of Child's success, taking any opportunity to bash her. Julia just ignored her.

            1. re: jmckee

              kamman called julia a "dame"? ha ha, how "classy" of madeleine! i'm picturing some gun moll with a cig hangin' out of her mouth, toting a shotgun! (this is her cousin, the "jane from hell's kitchen" http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v28...

      2. I'd love to see a Mario vs. Lydia battle. I would pay money to see it if they changed the rules and made it a blind tasting.

        1 Reply
        1. re: DDR4040

          Do you feel a blind tasting might alter the outcome, DDR?

        2. Gordon Ramsay vs. Eric Ripert. Secret ingredient: Rice.

          Mario Batali vs. Marco Pierre White. Secret ingredient: Garlic.

          4 Replies
          1. re: paris221966

            I'd love to see that garlic battle, paris.

            I was thinking last night when I posted about the secret ingredient I might like to see MK and JC do battle around.

            There's a part of me that would like to see "a secret ingredient" basis set aside, and instead see Madeleine and Julia go head to head on five dishes from among French cuisine standards. But then I know you'd be limiting, to a certain degree at least, the latitude for creativity.

            So if i were to pick a secret ingredient for these two ladies, I think it would be cream.

            1. re: Normandie

              >>>So if i were to pick a secret ingredient for these two ladies, I think it would be cream.<<<

              ....or *mud* -- considering their personal history of animosity (mostly coming from kamman, i understand). now *that* is a "food fight" for some reality tv viewing! SPLAT!

              1. re: alkapal

                Gosh, I just saw your comment and jmckee's, and I'm beginning to think I must be the only person in the world who's not up on the MK-JC dish (oops, ha ha, get it, al? "dish").

                I don't know what happened betweened the two of them, but since it's fantasy, anyway, I just like to dream about judging (read: scarfing down) the various roasts, soups, pastries and potatoes these two ladies could whip up (ooops--ha ha--get it, al--"potatoes"..."whip up"....?).

                I'll settle down now. I'm hungry, in case you can't tell.

                1. re: Normandie

                  you be punny, girlfriend!
                  now, go eat!!

                  i didn't know about the hissy-fit either until i started a thread a while back about funny julia quotations. someone posted about their feud on that thread (or i *think* it was that thread). here's the thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/447709

          2. along your lines, ewsflash, here is a thread on fantasy "reverse throwdowns." http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/605558

            1. I'd like to see the three longest tenured Iron Chefs from the Japanese show (Chen Kenichi, Hiroyuki Sakai, Rokusaburo Michiba) take on the original three from the American show (Batali, Flay, Morimoto), in the Japanese Kitchen Stadium, under the Japanese rules, with the Japanese production crew and commentators. The theme ingredient would be sweet corn. You could do a mixed panel of American and Japanese judges to keep it fair, but I don't think the Iron Chef America crew would stand a chance.

              6 Replies
              1. re: danieljdwyer

                team u.s.a. would win that battle.

                1. re: danieljdwyer

                  You're right- that would be fantastic to watch.

                  1. re: danieljdwyer

                    USA would win with sweet corn. Batali would do several pasta sauces using corn as a regional Italian peasant ingredient, Flay would do a Southwest spin, probably with poblano chiles, and Morimoto would do corn dogs, with authentic corn coating and an American flag on a toothpick atop the dish. Corn just might be the most authentic American ingredient, used in every regional cuisine... chowder, bread, southern, BBQ, Mexican, etc.

                    What threw foreign visitors on the Japanese set were ingredients not familiar or popular outside of the Asian region. Natto? The sexual glands of a Sea Horses? I kid here, but it's an interesting concept proposed.

                    1. re: tastyjon

                      I picked corn because of the neutrality of the ingredient. Two of my favorite episodes in the original series used corn as the theme ingredient.
                      If memory serves me correctly, in the first of the two, Michiba faced a French trained, Japanese born chef, a former student of Joel Robuchon. One of the judges was French actress Julie Dreyfus. The assumption of the judges and commenters going in was that Michiba was at a distinct disadvantage. The battle was close, but Michiba prevailed (as he did more frequently than any Iron Chef from either series, aside from Yutaka Ishinabe, who was Iron Chef French for only the first season).
                      In the second, Sakai faced an American trained, Japanese born chef, a student of Wolfgang Puck. Sakai mopped the floor with his challenger (as he also usually did, having a nearly identical record to Batali, and a much better record than any other Iron Chef aside from his predecessor and Michiba).
                      Given a level playing field, I don't think the chefs from Iron Chef America stack up to those from the original. I would say that Batali is on the level of the Japanese Iron chefs. Morimoto was widely considered to be a great talent, an improvement over the less than inventive Koumei Nakamura, but not fit to carry the knives of Michiba.
                      While I think Flay is a great talent, I don't like what he does at all on Iron Chef. His cooking is surprisingly one note (his dishes are Southwestern more often than Kenichi's were Chinese), and he seems entirely incapable of constructing winning dishes that are not meat centric. Under the American rules, he can get away with using the theme ingredient as more of a condiment, but, under the Japanese rules, points are lost for this. While the food at his restaurants is inventive, a lot of what he does on the show just isn't particularly original.
                      Batali and Kenichi match up well, as both have a tendency to put spins on dishes they know well and have cooked before, but get away with this by having a knowledge of a startling number of dishes and techniques. Michiba is inventive, though stays within the bounds of tradition far more than does Morimoto. The problem is that Morimoto's experimentation falls flat almost as often as it succeeds. Sakai was perhaps the most inventive of them all, and his experimentation never seemed to result in failure. Most of the time that the judges did not like one of his dishes, it seemed to be either an issue of timing, or of the judges' palates being unaccustomed to the heaviness of French cooking.
                      All of this goes out the window if Steingarten is one of the judges. His undying love for Batali and Flay makes it hard for him to judge against them.

                      1. re: danieljdwyer

                        i can't see american judges favoring the flavors of corn concoctions from michiba, sakai, kenichi over those american chefs for whom corn is a natural "native" ingredient used in so many applications, from corn pone, corn cakes, chowders, candy corn (*_*)....

                        the japanese chefs would have lots of fin fish and corn concoctions. yeah....not so much in the flavor department. *although,* that being said -- corn and crab go together, and corn and scallops..... the natural sweetness of the shelled creatures does complement the sweetness of corn.

                        1. re: alkapal

                          If Flay served me corn pone (which probably would not taste like sweet corn, as it would be mostly dried corn, and he'd top it with something like spicy pork), I wouldn't be happy. I love corn pone, but Iron Chef is supposed to be about new and unusual dishes, not things I make at home.
                          I don't remember any fin fish being used in either sweet corn battle on the original show (other than in dashi). The dishes all featured corn as the true focus, with little or no meat or seafood of any kind. Something like corn and crab is a crab dish.
                          It would be a divisive episode. That's for sure.

                  2. robuchon vs ducasse would be the ultimate battle

                    1. Heston Blumenthal vs Adria
                      Ramsay vs Marco Pierre White
                      David Chang vs Jamie Oliver
                      Keller vs Boulud

                      1. An episode where the contestants have absolutely no idea what the secret ingredient is going to be, that would be awesome.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: MattInNJ

                          I absolutely agree with you on that. See them having to come up with the recipes on the fly.

                        2. You know what? I'm going to take Tony out of the game and substitute Morimoto. He's a real chef, still.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: EWSflash

                            Chef Tony? The guy from the infomercials?! That would be an awesome episode! :P

                            1. re: MattInNJ

                              Har de har har. You so funny. :-)

                              Or maybe a Magic Bullet Throwdown...

                              1. re: EWSflash

                                THAT I would pay to see. Nothing but infomercial products can be used.

                          2. Batali v Bayless. Batali is without doubt my favorite, but after what Bayless did on that Masters show, it would be great to see what he could do.

                            1. Graham Kerr/ Paula Dean or
                              Martin Yan/ Alton Brown would be interesting , too.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: helena handbasket

                                "helena handbasket." i LOVE it! just BEAU-Ti-FUL!!!

                              2. Elizabeth David v. Nigella Lawson (classic "class v. sass".) J. Steingarten v. D. Arpaia (so they could take their judges' table spats where they really belong: to the stadium floor.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: annabana

                                  I'll watch anything wih Donatella in it.

                                2. Grant Achatz vs. Jonathan Benno battle truffles
                                  Tom Colicchio vs. Marco Canora battle soffrito
                                  Gavin Kaysen vs. Tim Hollingsworth battle red wine
                                  Suzanne Goin vs. Jeremiah Tower battle san francisco
                                  Ruhlman vs. Bourdain would be funny
                                  I'd like to see Jeffrey Steingarten get beaten by Ronald Mcdonald in battle french fries.

                                  1. Batali vs. A Mexican Grandma, secret ingredient masa. I think it would be interesting to hear the commentary and analysis :D

                                    1 Reply