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Super Chefs _ Iron Chef America [spoilers]

d
dolly52 Jan 3, 2010 06:47 PM

I was sure Emeril Lagasse and that other guy I don't like would win over Bobby Flay and the White House chef. I can't believe the three skinny ladies have much of taste buds going for them.

  1. d
    dolly52 Jan 12, 2010 08:06 PM

    Not White House vegetables, what a farst.

    9 Replies
    1. re: dolly52
      JohnE O Jan 14, 2010 07:56 AM

      Agreed Dolly. I just read that none of the food in this battle was from the White House garden. I guess they're still concerned about the high lead levels. Kind of a fraudulent concept to promote the WH garden as the theme ingredient and not use any of it in the battle.

      1. re: JohnE O
        The Dairy Queen Jan 14, 2010 08:05 AM

        What? Where did you read this?

        We saw them gather the produce, then they showed us, on camera in kitchen stadium, the (somewhat wilted) baskets of produce that they'd shown them gathering in the White House Garden.

        I was guessing they supplemented that produce because, otherwise, where did Team Flay get the cauliflower for their "mac and cheese" dish? They made such a big deal of, during the White House garden scene, Flay turning to Batali, "Did you take BOTH of those cauliflower?"

        If Team Batali took all the cauliflower, where did Team Flay get theirs?

        But are you saying they didn't use any of what they gathered?

        V. disappointing, although, why should I be surprised because I know it's a lot less "spontaneous" than they lead us to believe...

        ~TDQ

        1. re: The Dairy Queen
          JohnE O Jan 14, 2010 08:31 AM

          Here' s one of about 3 articles I've read:

          http://www.chicagotribune.com/feature...

          1. re: JohnE O
            LindaWhit Jan 14, 2010 09:30 AM

            And that also notes that it *was* filmed in TFN's Kitchen Stadium studios in NYC as several of us were saying upthread (Flay had alluded to about a "long drive home" for Cristina Comerford if they lost - or maybe she made that comment). Didn't think they had built a whole separate KStadium near the White House.

            1. re: JohnE O
              The Dairy Queen Jan 14, 2010 10:10 AM

              Geeze. When I will stop being shocked by how much of ICA is staged?

              Well, I still want to know where Team Flay got the cauliflower. According to the story JohnE O linked, even though they didn't use the exact produce they picked from the WH garden, they used the same kind produce they gathered. If Team Batali took all the cauliflower, where did team Flay get cauliflower?

              ~TDQ

              1. re: The Dairy Queen
                LindaWhit Jan 14, 2010 10:22 AM

                TDQ, I think ALL of the produce was bought in NYC, where Kitchen Stadium is. I think it was an editing error in that TFN left that part of the produce gathering from the WH garden in the show.

                1. re: LindaWhit
                  The Dairy Queen Jan 14, 2010 11:04 AM

                  No, I think you misunderstand me. (Or, I misunderstand you. Could be. Very tired.)

                  I get that the actual produce cooked was purchased in NYC, not what they picked from the WHG. But, I dispute that they used "only the same types of fruits and vegs picked from the garden"...

                  According to the article: "Instead, the chefs used replacement produce, though only the same types of fruits and vegetables picked from the White House garden."

                  What I'm saying is, I didn't see Flay pick any cauliflower from the WHG; I saw him complain that Batali took it all. Yet, I saw him cook cauliflower. So, ICA's claim that "Instead, the chefs used ... only the same types of fruits and vegetables picked from the White House garden" seems bogus to me, too. I supposed they'll hedge and say, well, picked by anyone from the garden, which means "that grows in the garden."

                  Bogus. V. disappointing.

                  ~TDQ

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen
                    LindaWhit Jan 14, 2010 11:22 AM

                    Ahhh, I see what you mean. Yes, I remember Batali took all of the cauliflower. Obviously a LOT of leeway given.

              2. re: JohnE O
                rockandroller1 Jan 14, 2010 11:34 AM

                Well, that solves that mystery. I thought they took the Acela train up there or something.

        2. r
          rotochicken Jan 5, 2010 02:08 PM

          If the mandate was essentially to inspire America to eat and cook better more healthful food - and it essentially was - then it was largely a disaster.
          Sure it would be great if more people insisted on better produce and/or grew some themselves. However, when it comes to cooking is deep frying cherry tomatoes, breaded oysters, breaded lobster, breaded calamari, turkey roulade, breaded carrots (beignets), and who know what else, the type of inspiration America needs to eat better? I was shocked at how many things got tossed in the fryer. For the typical home cook deep frying is wasteful and far less healthy than alternatives. I can't believe, given the mandate, that a dish of 3 breaded fried oysters with a heavy sauce and a few slivers of veg was a dish. You can't tell me some sort of fresh oyster veggie salad wouldn't have been better. And that perfec tlocal quail? Yeah, lets wrap it lardo! Delicious yes, inspiring us to eat more healthfully? Um...no. Or a heritage turkey stuffed with organic veg tossed into the fryer - this is America's inspiration to eat better food? Tragic. Those perfect carrots you just picked? Go ahead, grate them, bread them, fry them, and dump sugar on them! Go for it, eat healthy America. You can't tell me a fantastic low-fat carrot cake with really perfect sweet carrots wouldn't have been delicious.

          16 Replies
          1. re: rotochicken
            The Dairy Queen Jan 5, 2010 02:24 PM

            Hmmm...excellent point, although, I would say that, except for the deep fried cherry tomatoes (that was part of the re-interpreted chowder on Team Flay's side, I think), nearly everything you're mentioning was put forth by Team Batali, which was the team that lost. A lot of the stuff on the Flay side looked lighter and more healthful, although, it's really hard to say without seeing the actual recipes. For instance, a little cream and cheese in that cauliflower gratin would be fine. The pickled radishes are fine. Etc.

            But, your point is an excellent one. It was hardly an exercise in light cooking overall. Cooking with fresh ingredients and fresh produce is only part of the equation for eating healthfully.

            While I suppose everything is relative, if your current diet is fast food, I think even Team Batali's menu is an improvement. But, I suspect (and hope!) that most of the audience for ICA aren't eating McD's 3 meals per day...

            ~TDQ

            1. re: rotochicken
              ChefJune Jan 5, 2010 09:17 PM

              Have you ever cooked quail? It has ZERO fat and needs to be wrapped in some in order not to come out dry and stringy.

              and if you have a recipe for "fantastic" low-fat carrot cake.... pardon me, but that's an oxymoron.

              1. re: ChefJune
                Ruth Lafler Jan 5, 2010 10:06 PM

                You're right -- most carrot cakes have more fat and calories than "regular" cake. I didn't hear anything about the point of the challenge to be "healthy" in terms of being low fat, low calorie, etc. The challenge was to highlight the vegetables, period. Vegetables are an important part of the diet, and have other health properties beyond being low in fat and calories (vitamins, micronutrients, antioxidants, fiber, etc.). It was quite clear to me that Flay/Commerson did a better job of making vegetable-centric dishes, and thus deserved to win.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler
                  r
                  rotochicken Jan 5, 2010 11:03 PM

                  Respectfully completely disagree with both of you. It is quite clear the point of the White House Garden is to promote a healthier diet. It is also quite clear the Garden wouldn't be highlighted in a show for a reason not related to that mission. I do not have the recording or transcript but I am certain the mandate was more than 'showcase veggies'. It had some component of inspiring America to eat better through the use of those fine ingredients (for example, secondarily from:

                  http://michelleobamawatch.com/2010/01...

                  "The First Lady’s message for Americans to eat fresh, local, and healthy foods took center stage as seasoned chefs competed to win $25,000 for their charities."

                  Or from Huffington Post:

                  "With the point being to spread the word on Obama's campaign to promote organic, healthy eating for children, the challenge itself was never a big secret."

                  )

                  On that level they failed for the most part, though the winning team did that much better (which is why I think they won).

                  Of course I've cooked/had quail and of course I know carrot cake can be loaded with fat - on the other hand this is a challenge and a competition for world class chefs meant to inspire us to eat better. They weren't forced to use an ingredient they would feel the need to then wrap in fat. They weren't forced to fry an ingredient that is incredible fresh (oysters). And is highlighting a vegetable in a dessert best done by deep frying it? Your argument is Anne Burrell couldn't have made a delicious carrot dessert that wasn't fat laden?

                  The point was to inspire America to eat better and we saw world class chefs dropping turkey roulade, oysters, tomatoes, and carrots into a deep fryer and wrapping poultry in fat. Isn't America inspired by those thoughts already? Shouldn't the inspiration be the opposite of that? Isn't the message then that even world class chefs with garden fresh organic veggies and local organic meat think food is better deep fried or wrapped in fat?

                  Not trying to rant (failing) - I know places like Ubuntu fry stuff and make doughnuts etc. for special occasion dinners, which this certainly was. On the other hand, it was just too much - fried oysters, fried roulade, and lardo wrapped meat were all completely - completely - unnecessary and contrary to the point of highlighting veggies that are organic and local in a healthy way.

                  1. re: rotochicken
                    v
                    Vladimir Estragon Jan 5, 2010 11:48 PM

                    Well, I would have to say that if you are looking for healthy eating, if you are looking for cooking that emphasizes vegetables, you shouldn't be calling Mario and Emeril, or Bobby Flay either, for that matter. In most high-end restaurant cooking, vegetables are an afterthought, not the main event. I also got the impression that it's been a very long time since Emeril has cooked the line.

                    1. re: Vladimir Estragon
                      rockandroller1 Jan 6, 2010 04:04 AM

                      ITA about Emeril. And while I've never been a big fan of his, I was quite frankly worried about him watching the episode. The red face, the constant mopping up of sweat. He actually looked heavier and more unhealthy than Mario, which is no easy feat. I worry about his heart. And he seemed to constantly be seeking approval from Mario like he was his mean big brother. Presenting the oyster dishes to ask him if he liked it ok - Mario just seemed to be like, um, yeah, great, let's GO, talking about how afraid he was that he was going to let the team down by burning the turkey, and the whole turkey fiasco itself. He seemed almost like the little brother who always gets beat up on, trying hastily to fix his mistake so that big brother doesn't start walloping on him. I got it, I got it, we'll just baste it here, no problem, I can fix it! It was kind of weird and sad.

                      I agree with those who have pointed out how little Mario & Emeril cooked was healthy. I think there is a place for fat in the diet and fried things, but these guys have enough skill that they should have been able to cook a little more healthfully and lighter. Maybe if Emeril had spent less time on his fancy chicory coffee dish and put some innovation into things (I mean, fried oysters? dirty rice? really? he could cook these things with his eyes closed), the menu would have been a little better. And I was surprised at Mario burning not just the radishes, but IMO the scallops also appeared badly cooked. Way too dark on one side and not done on the other side, despite what the one judge liked about it, does not seem like the proper way to cook a scallop.

                      1. re: rockandroller1
                        LindaWhit Jan 6, 2010 05:04 AM

                        I see it as Flay and Batali were the Iron Chefs, and Commerford and Lagasse were their seconds (albeit very highly rated chefs as seconds!). Which is why Emeril might have been deferring a bit to Batali, even though they were cooking together.

                        1. re: LindaWhit
                          rockandroller1 Jan 6, 2010 06:07 AM

                          I agree, but it didn't seem like deferring, it seemed more like bow & scrape. Also, they said up front what their strategy was, which was each person cooking 2 dishes on their own and then 1 collaberative dish. I sure didn't see Mario running his 2 dishes by Emeril for approval.

                          1. re: rockandroller1
                            LindaWhit Jan 6, 2010 06:26 AM

                            Good point.

                            But perhaps because Batali has done this countless times as IC, and Lagasse hasn't ever done it (can't recall if he was ever a Challenger), Emeril thought perhaps Mario would have a better idea on what the judges might want to see/taste?

                            1. re: LindaWhit
                              The Dairy Queen Jan 6, 2010 06:32 AM

                              I felt kind of sorry for Emeril, and I especially felt bad when it appeared that Team Batali lost because of his dishes, PERHAPS, ie., the one oyster that was universally disliked, the overcooked stuffed turkey... True, Batali had the bad radish/scallop dish, but it appears they disliked Emeril's contributions less.

                              But, I still think Team Batali was at a disadvantage, even if execution had been perfect, because they didn't do as good a job of showcasing the vegetables as the other team did.

                              Anyway, good entertainment! And, I must try that raviolo dish!

                              ~TDQ

                    2. re: rotochicken
                      The Dairy Queen Jan 6, 2010 03:33 AM

                      For those of us with poor TIVO hygiene who haven't deleted the show yet, it's hard to say what the exact mission was, but I just went back and looked at the episode:

                      A paraphrase from Michelle Obama's intro to the garden:

                      "We've working with kids in our local area been using the garden as a tool to teach them about healthy eating. And we really want you to be a part of helping us spread that message. My surprise today is that your secret ingredient is anything from the White House garden."

                      From the letter that Alton read to the four chefs on the White House lawn: The mission is to "Inspire America."

                      From the Chairman's video right before Alton says Allez Cuisine: Prepare a meal that "Makes America go MMMMM..."

                      So, it's clear that the broader message (ie., The First Lady's message) is about healthy eating, but that wasn't the specific challenge the Chairman set forth. But, in the end, I think the judges did chose the team that presented the most healthful meals (relatively speaking).

                      ~TDQ

                      1. re: rotochicken
                        c
                        charmedgirl Jan 6, 2010 07:31 AM

                        I think you have an excellent point, rotochicken.

                        1. re: rotochicken
                          Ruth Lafler Jan 6, 2010 08:17 AM

                          My point was that "healthy" means more than just low fat/low cal. Lots of people who don't need to lose weight or restrict fat/calories still eat incredibly unhealthy diets full of processed foods and junk foods. You can't just look at someone and say, well, they aren't fat, therefore their diet is fine and they don't need to eat their veggies.

                          1. re: Ruth Lafler
                            c
                            CucumberBoy Jan 6, 2010 03:07 PM

                            It looked to me like Emeril cut himself in the very first shot of him in the kitchen. He was chopping an onion and suddenly raised his left arm as if in pain.

                            From that point on, he rarely used his left hand, and it was often covered in a towel when on-camera. Watch, you'll see what I mean.

                            They *did* show a couple of shots of his naked left hand later in the episode, and it didn't appear to be bleeding, so perhaps I'm seeing things.

                            Again.

                            By the end of the cooking segment, his apron appeared to be sort of a bloody mess.

                            It's been baffling me and might explain Emeril's seeming lack of confidence during the entire episode.

                            Regardless, I enjoyed the show, as I do all ICA's.

                            1. re: CucumberBoy
                              pitu Jan 7, 2010 01:23 PM

                              Interesting. I was wondering why he seemed so uncomfortable.
                              Thx CucumberBoy!

                              1. re: CucumberBoy
                                ChefJune Jan 7, 2010 08:12 PM

                                saw a rerun this evening. Emeril did not have any injury, nor did he have a bloody jacket.

                    3. c
                      Claudette Jan 5, 2010 09:20 AM

                      I was very confused, too, and blame it on the editing. It'd be nice if someone in attendance could give us the back story.

                      1. The Dairy Queen Jan 5, 2010 03:59 AM

                        Near the end of the cooking segment, I was feeling bad for sous-chef Tommy. Tommy the dessert. Tommy the ice cream. Tommy the pickles... Tommy, Tommy, Tommy...

                        Where did Team Flay get the cauliflower for their mac and cheese if Team Batali took both cauliflower from the WH garden? Or, were we to believe that Batali only took the purple cauliflower?

                        After the judges talked about how much they loved the Team Batali dishes, it did seem incongruous that Team Flay won. However, with Iron Chefs on both sides of the competition, they were walking a fine line editing-wise of making both teams appear outstanding, even though, one inevitably has to lose. I can almost always predict the outcome of the judging on ICA based on the harsh feedback that was doled out, and this episode was no different, really. Usually the chef with the least amount of harsh feedback wins. I think it's because they don't want these chefs to end up looking like losers, so, they edit the shows to go easy on the harsh feedback for the losing chef, whereas they seem to feel less need to protect the winning chef from criticism since they know s/he will have the halo of the win.

                        The conversation towards the end of the judging, when Alton Brown wanted to discuss the dishes with the judges, was meant, I think, to help us understand why team Flay won (because they did a better job of showcasing the secret ingredient, which I think really is true), but, instead, it just made the outcome seem fixed.

                        Bobby Flay seemed really stressed. It was clear he felt the pressure of needing to pull off a win for this one.

                        Anyway, it was a fun episode. I enjoyed watching.

                        ~TDQ

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: The Dairy Queen
                          thew Jan 5, 2010 04:56 AM

                          "After the judges talked about how much they loved the Team Batali dishes, it did seem incongruous that Team Flay won"

                          they tied on taste.........

                          1. re: thew
                            The Dairy Queen Jan 5, 2010 05:20 AM

                            Yep, I saw that, but I would have expected Team Batali to perhaps win on taste, although, as discussed, there were apparently a couple of unhappy dishes on both sides.

                            ~TDQ

                            1. re: The Dairy Queen
                              ChefJune Jan 5, 2010 09:50 AM

                              Batali/Lagasse had the oysters that were universally panned, and the burned icicle radish, not to mention the overcooked turkey.

                              Believe me, I have NEVER been a Flay fan, and I adore both Mario and Emeril, so I wasnlt looking for their missteps.

                              1. re: ChefJune
                                LindaWhit Jan 5, 2010 10:13 AM

                                I thought the panel only disliked the wheat-crusted oysters, but the other two were OK?

                                1. re: LindaWhit
                                  The Dairy Queen Jan 5, 2010 10:25 AM

                                  That's what I recall, too, Linda, but it seems that the first of the three oysters was universally and thoroughly disliked. I thought the concept was really neat--three different breadings, three different sauces, three different salads. I wish the first one had been better-liked, because it was just cool as a concept.

                                  And, ChefJune, when you list out all of the Team Batali dishes that the judges didn't like, I guess there were a number of them. I'm just glad that at least one was M.B.'s so Emeril doesn't have to feel the entire loss was his fault. I thought he seemed nervous. Why didn't they have a second one of those turkey things as a back-up?

                                  I have never heard of icicle radishes. They sound just lovely.

                                  I really wish they'd publish the recipes for ICA. Too much work, I guess.

                                  ~TDQ

                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                    Ruth Lafler Jan 5, 2010 11:21 AM

                                    But at least one of the judges didn't like any of the three remoulades, either, so it was more than just one oyster.

                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                      The Dairy Queen Jan 5, 2010 11:23 AM

                                      None of the remoulades? I missed that... Okay, I guess it's starting to sound less and less like a conspiracy...

                                      But, they all sure loved that raviolo! I'm going to try to make that one at home for sure!

                                      ~TDQ

                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                        LindaWhit Jan 5, 2010 11:25 AM

                                        I missed that as well - oh wait, yes, I do recall that I think the celery root remoulade wasn't enjoyed by at least two of them - but I didn't realize that one of the panel didn't like *any* of the remoulades!

                                        And TDG, I'll be awaiting an invitation to dinner when you make the raviolo. <vbg>

                                        1. re: LindaWhit
                                          Ruth Lafler Jan 5, 2010 11:28 AM

                                          One of them said they were all too vinegary, IIRC.

                          2. m
                            mojoeater Jan 4, 2010 04:37 PM

                            Batali's icicle radishes were quite burnt and unappealing. And the turkey roulade didn't look to turn out well either. So while the two most famous, high-profile chefs might have been expected to win, their loss wasn't a huge surprise.

                            Anyone else think Nigella was done up a bit like Morticia Adams for this episode? But I do love how she obviously loves food, licking the spoons and such. And I have no problem with the other two judges not being regular food critics. Anyone who is well-traveled and has access to a vast array of cuisine can be a good judge. I sometimes get sick of Steingarten and his pompous attitude. It is good to have a variety of palates at judge's table.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: mojoeater
                              kprange Jan 4, 2010 05:14 PM

                              I was actually quite impressed with their critique of the food. While they weren't food critics, they obviously knew food and could speak intelligently about it. I also want to know what kind of pressure cooker Flay had.

                            2. a
                              attran99 Jan 4, 2010 03:43 PM

                              I enjoyed the extensive footage of the cooking. If they only taped Top Chef that way! I also had a problem with the selection of the judges...I'm sure Nigella has a great palate, but not the other two. Would have loved to see Michelle Obama or real food critics on the panel. I did not like how they hyped up Obama as a special guest when we only saw her but for a few minutes. But a pretty interesting show nonetheless.

                              14 Replies
                              1. re: attran99
                                LindaWhit Jan 4, 2010 05:41 PM

                                I'm at a bit of a loss as to why Mrs. Obama would have been better than Jane Seymour or Natalie Coughlin? She's not a food critic either.

                                And how do you know that Seymour or Coughlin don't have good palates? I thought their critiques of the dishes they tried was quite detailed and intelligent about the flavors of the dishes, as kprange said below.

                                1. re: LindaWhit
                                  a
                                  attran99 Jan 5, 2010 10:43 AM

                                  If they made such a big deal about her being on the show, her appearance should have been longer. Would have made more sense with all the hype. I don't understand why they made such a big deal out of it if they just needed her for five minutes.
                                  And I'm just not a fan of ICA using celebrities as judges. They should use food critics or other highly regarded chefs. Would help give the show a bit more street cred. Seeing Tiki Barber and a wrestler from the WWE does not make any sense to me.

                                  1. re: attran99
                                    LindaWhit Jan 5, 2010 10:57 AM

                                    "Making sense" and TFN don't really go hand-in-hand anymore. It's about the ratings. They made a big deal about it and hyped her name to get people like you to tune in to see her. Although, again, I don't understand why her opinion should hold more water with some people than Seymour's or Coughlin's. And if you don't want ICA to use celebrity judges, then she would have been excluded as well. It seems contradictory - you want a "celebrity" but you don't want a "celebrity".

                                    1. re: attran99
                                      The Dairy Queen Jan 5, 2010 11:09 AM

                                      Funnily enough, when I watch the original Iron Chef (Japanese) shows, I'm surprised by many of those judges were celebritites. It seemed to be accepted as part of the "camp" that made IC so fun.

                                      As far as First Lady O and her appearance, brief though it may be: my guess is, the White House approached T.F.N. saying, "We want to spread the word about our lovely garden" and offered F.L. O. as a guest. The White House garden (though not F.L.O., I don't think, if memory serves) also appeared on an episode of The Biggest Loser.

                                      I don't think the networks are reaching out to the White House. I suspect it's the other way around. The White House is pushing the garden. (And why not, really? I think it's a good message and cause for the F.L. to champion, I think.)

                                      ~TDQ

                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                        Ruth Lafler Jan 5, 2010 11:20 AM

                                        You are exactly right. The original Japanese Iron Chef didn't have *any* food professionals on the judging panel. The only one with any actual food credentials was one of the commentators -- Dr. Hattori, who was the head of a culinary school, IIRC. The actual judging panel was made up of celebrities (actors, athletes, politicians, etc.) -- some of them chosen for their foodie cred but at least one young actress who seemed to be primarily chosen to look pretty, titter and make banal comments.

                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                          linguafood Jan 5, 2010 11:38 AM

                                          I remember that one, and to this day, my man and I have this in-joke about leeks. She got really excited about that secret ingredient, as in "ooooh! leeeeks!!!!" in that tiny, high-pitched voice of hers. Can't say leeks w/out thinking back to that episode '-)

                                          1. re: linguafood
                                            c
                                            Claudette Jan 6, 2010 11:05 AM

                                            "That one"? There seemed to be a different squeaky one each week, differing only in their hair color and style. We used to laugh most at the fortune-teller, though.

                                            1. re: Claudette
                                              Ruth Lafler Jan 6, 2010 11:11 AM

                                              Oh yeah, she was a kick.

                                              1. re: Claudette
                                                linguafood Jan 6, 2010 11:17 AM

                                                There's a young actress that's been on the panel several times. That one.

                                                1. re: Claudette
                                                  The Dairy Queen Jan 6, 2010 11:29 AM

                                                  It always seems to be the same voice, though. I mean, the female voice in English, regardless of the actress, seems to be the same. Or, is that not-true?

                                                  ~TDQ

                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                    Ruth Lafler Jan 6, 2010 11:51 AM

                                                    Good catch. I actually met someone once (at a chowdown, no less), who had done a voice (on a fill-in basis) for the dubbed English version. They had a regular group of people who did the voices, so even though the actress was different, the person doing the dubbing would have been the same. I remember once wondering what American could read some of the lines without cracking up. I don't remember exactly what is was, but it was a combination of foods most Americans would find disgusting, followed by an ethusiastic "who would't like that!" But really, the people doing the voices were very good at expressing the personalities of the participants and making them into characters -- they are really the unsung heroes who made Iron Chef so popular with American viewers.

                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                      The Dairy Queen Jan 6, 2010 12:04 PM

                                                      That's so neat that you met one of the voices!

                                                      Okay, I can't believe that I'm going to reveal this about myself, but I actually am a fan of IC partly because it's entertaining even when you're not actually looking at the television. Because there's a constant stream of narration, it's the perfect thing to have on the TV when I can't sleep because I can close my eyes and just listen. As a result, I'm more familiar with the voices of the judges than with their faces. And, they always sound the same to me (in English.)

                                                      Ok, so here's the question I've been meaning to find out for awhile, but is the dubbed voice of Morimoto the same on IC and on ICA? I don't know why they dub him at all on ICA, but I always assumed it's because they wanted him to be the same character to the fans of IC... And, if that's the case, you'd think they'd use the same voice, if possible...

                                                      ~TDQ

                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                        c
                                                        Claudette Jan 6, 2010 01:11 PM

                                                        Ruth, how fun that you met one of the voices! A Japanese friend of mine watched an episode with us, and laughed at the translations - said they were "kinda" correct, but not entirely true to the Japanese. There was one judge who said a long string of Japanese, and the translation was something like, "Yes." We all had a long laugh at that one.

                                                        1. re: Claudette
                                                          Ruth Lafler Jan 6, 2010 03:38 PM

                                                          I wish I remembered more now about what he said. Basically, no, they weren't trying to do an accurate translation, but instead to capture the spirit of the show, which I think they did. They used a lot of American idioms and colloquialisms, for example, which obviously aren't direct translations from the Japanese but reflect the tone of the way the people are talking. More of an interpretation than a direct translation. BTW, the dubbing was done in Japan, and I assume that all the voices were ex-pat Americans like the guy I met, so it's unlike the same person would be doing Morimoto's voice for Food Network.

                                      2. thew Jan 4, 2010 01:41 PM

                                        does anyone know what brand of pressure cooker bobby flay was using?

                                        1. a
                                          annabana Jan 4, 2010 11:08 AM

                                          Liked the episode, thought Flay/Commerford won fair and square. My favorite parts tho' were all the shots of unprotected "mandolining." I couldn't stop imagining a SNL parody skit with blood spurting everywhere! BTW, the egg in ravioli dish has been around a long time.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: annabana
                                            d
                                            DGresh Jan 11, 2010 02:05 AM

                                            I got a mandoline for Christmas and have dutifully been using the pusher and hating it. Thinking of getting some gloves so I can ditch the pusher. But I saw both chefs doing it with their hands (though notably with their palms, with fingers straight out) and thought I might give that a try :)

                                            1. re: DGresh
                                              The Dairy Queen Jan 11, 2010 02:41 AM

                                              Ack! Please, no unprotected mandoling! Get the gloves at least... Scares the heck out of me.

                                              ~TDQ

                                              1. re: DGresh
                                                a
                                                AAQjr Jan 11, 2010 11:52 AM

                                                lol, the first thing that happens at most restaurants is the helper hand gets 'lost'. As do any rubber handle covers on new saute pans.

                                            2. c
                                              cmvan Jan 4, 2010 08:58 AM

                                              Did anyone else catch the double double-dipping Mario & Emeril did? Mario brought over a pot of sauce, dipped the spoon in, had Emeril taste it, then stuck the spoon back in the pot and tasted it himself. Then returned the spoon back into the pot!

                                              They were lucky they weren't on Chopped. The judges would have had their heads.

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: cmvan
                                                c
                                                Claudette Jan 4, 2010 09:55 AM

                                                Yes, I pointed that out to my family, but then I also told them that that's what a lot of chefs normally do, which is why Mario didn't think a thing of it.

                                                On other shows, high-end chefs (Trotter? Ripert?) have lots of little tasting spoons available.

                                                1. re: cmvan
                                                  The Dairy Queen Jan 5, 2010 05:27 AM

                                                  I think Batali is the consistently the most fun/animated+most appealing (to me) output of all of the ICA chefs, so, I'm inclined to cut him a lot of slack, but I was totally grossed out by the double-dipping. I didn't mind that they shared the same spoon, but I minded that he put it back in the general sweet potato mixture after Emeril tasted it.

                                                  What did Bobby Flay say right after the buzzer went off that got beeped out? It sounded to me like he said, "Beeping Emeril" but, if that's the case, I can't figure out what Emeril did that irked him so...

                                                  ~TDQ

                                                  1. re: cmvan
                                                    rockandroller1 Jan 6, 2010 03:55 AM

                                                    OMG, we caught this too (just watched it last night). I was like, "he double-dipped!" and mr. RNR was like nuh-uh. We rewinded it and watched again. Ew.

                                                    1. re: rockandroller1
                                                      j
                                                      jeffreak Jan 6, 2010 09:55 PM

                                                      Just speculating but perhaps that pot was leftover sauce. I wouldn't think they would do it otherwise in front of so many people.

                                                      1. re: jeffreak
                                                        The Dairy Queen Jan 7, 2010 03:10 AM

                                                        I hope you're right!

                                                        ~TDQ

                                                  2. pitu Jan 4, 2010 07:26 AM

                                                    I found it totally enjoyable and hilarious to watch. Totally shocked that Batali and Emeril lost, EXCEPT perhaps there's some sort of protocol that required Batali to burn his radishes and serve them so that the White House chef's team could win.

                                                    1. LindaWhit Jan 4, 2010 07:25 AM

                                                      Channel surfing brought me to this show about 1/4 of the way through last night. I like the camaraderie between Batali and Lagasse. But did anyone really think they (TFN) would have the White House chef lose? Highly unlikely, unless that dessert was a complete failure (which, having a look at the attempted dough roll-out, it could have been).

                                                      The two items used that I'm very interested in are the icicle and watermelon radishes, especially the latter. It looked beautiful on the plate (although I'm not sure I'd want it pickled). Has anyone ever used them or seen them in your local supermarket? (I'm going to check my local Whole Foods to see if they carry them.)

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: LindaWhit
                                                        k
                                                        ktb615 Jan 4, 2010 08:59 AM

                                                        Used to use watermelon radishes mostly as garnish at the restaurant. They are quite mild compared to a standard red radish. I tried to grow icicle radishes this year, but was not very successful. I feel like my choice of soil became too hard and prohibited them from growing. Hopefully next year they will be better. I would say pickled radishes of any kind are always a good idea though =)

                                                        1. re: ktb615
                                                          Bob W Feb 26, 2010 08:35 AM

                                                          I'm pretty sure I had an appetizer of icicle radishes at the French Hound Bistro in Middleburg VA recently (I didn't watch this ep until last night). At the French Hound they were called "breakfast" radishes but they sure looked like what was used on the show.

                                                          This was a very simple appetizer -- a pile of the raw radishes (very sweet!) with some sea salt to dip them in. Different and fun.

                                                          Maybe these radishes have a very high sugar content, leading to Batali cooking them longer than needed and the ensuing burning, but seriously, when has Batali screwed up anything on ICA? I marvel at his skills.

                                                      2. NYCkaren Jan 4, 2010 05:39 AM

                                                        I enjoyed the episode although I did guess that they might let the White House chef's team win. And I'm sure Nigella woud be surprised to be described as skinny. I agree it was a little odd having two Brits judge an all-American competition.

                                                        1. c
                                                          charmedgirl Jan 4, 2010 05:28 AM

                                                          What a strange, strange episode. Why, if the challenge was to cook things to inspire an American audience using primarily American ingredients, were two of the judges British? And why, in an episode that they have been plugging for at least 2 months, were they using Alton as a second string chairman instead of having the chairman there himself? Why was Ted Allen not in a tux? And while I'm not ready to claim the fix was in, I would have been completely and utterly shocked if the WH chef had not won.

                                                          12 Replies
                                                          1. re: charmedgirl
                                                            t
                                                            taos Jan 4, 2010 05:49 AM

                                                            I'm American and it doesn't make any difference to me that two of the judges were British. They're more articulate than Steingarten who hasn't learned yet not to speak with his mouth full.

                                                            1. re: taos
                                                              c
                                                              charmedgirl Jan 4, 2010 05:57 AM

                                                              Didn't say I minded two of the judges being British, just that it was strange. ;-)

                                                            2. re: charmedgirl
                                                              h
                                                              hummingbird Jan 4, 2010 07:21 AM

                                                              I was thinking that during the tapeing of IC the chairman may have been doing DWTS, hence in LA at the time?

                                                              1. re: charmedgirl
                                                                pitu Jan 4, 2010 07:28 AM

                                                                also hilarious, this choice of English ladies: "why eat noodles when you can have cauliflower?"

                                                                1. re: pitu
                                                                  linguafood Jan 4, 2010 09:06 AM

                                                                  yah, that was one of the funniest things i've heard. i like both, but.... wtf?

                                                                  1. re: pitu
                                                                    cookieluvntasha Jan 6, 2010 08:53 AM

                                                                    OMG! I almost spit my water out when Dr. Quinn said that! I was wondering why they did not have a high profile American food critic present. I enjoyed the show, but think the outcome may have changed if there was a male judge and/or another american food critic.

                                                                  2. re: charmedgirl
                                                                    chicgail Jan 4, 2010 07:33 AM

                                                                    Of course the WH chef won. They weren't going to let her lose. She's been at the WH since the Clinton administration.

                                                                    I wondered if "Kitchen Stadium" was re-constructed in DC so Commerford could stay close to home. That MIGHT explain why the Chairman and the guy on the floor who always explains the rules and the scoring (sorry, I can't remember his name) were not there. Altho DC isn't that far from NYC.

                                                                    And, as someone said -- I think on another thread -- AB didn't look well.

                                                                    1. re: chicgail
                                                                      LindaWhit Jan 4, 2010 07:38 AM

                                                                      And I was thinking that the Battle was filmed where it's normally filmed (I'm assuming NYC) and she came up for the 1 day of filming. While they might have shown the veggies being "collected" by the various chefs in the WH garden, I doubt that would have happened "a la minute" and then they go into wherever Kitchen Stadium would have been reconstructed to begin cooking.

                                                                      And Kevin Brausch *was* there. Isn't that who normally explains the rules and scoring?

                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                        Ruth Lafler Jan 4, 2010 09:49 AM

                                                                        When Bobby Flay said he wasn't going to let her go home with out the victory, she said it was a "long drive" back home, so I assumed it was in NY.

                                                                        It appears from the garden that it was filmed quite a while ago -- sometime in the early fall, perhaps.

                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                          LindaWhit Jan 4, 2010 11:18 AM

                                                                          THAT'S the line he said - I knew it was something along those lines leading me to believe it was filmed in NYC. Thanks Ruth.

                                                                          And I thought the same thing - some people were in short-sleeved shirts being filmed in the garden, so I assumed it wasn't more recent than early fall as well.

                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                            d
                                                                            DGresh Jan 11, 2010 02:03 AM

                                                                            I recall a (front page of food section?) story in the NY Times when they visited the white house garden. It was quite some time ago; perhaps September.

                                                                            Edit: just looked up the article. Says it was filmed in late October. Guess it's a lot warmer in DC than up here in NY!

                                                                            "ALTON BROWN, the host of “Iron Chef America,” fell into the turnip patch just before the show began taping several scenes outside the White House in late October. "

                                                                      2. re: chicgail
                                                                        ChefJune Jan 4, 2010 07:43 AM

                                                                        The cooking part took place in the "Kitchen Stadium." Just the secret ingredient reveal was at the White House. rather confusing. They definitely weren't in the White House kitchen. It was the same setup they always have.

                                                                    2. d
                                                                      ddavis130 Jan 3, 2010 07:14 PM

                                                                      The result was sooooo bogus I just can't believe it. Batali was so superior to the other two and the judges seemed so partial to his and Emeril's dishes. There is no way Food Network was going to send the sorry white house chef back without a "victory". What bull_ _ _ _! Poilitics as usual. Geez!

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: ddavis130
                                                                        ChefJune Jan 3, 2010 08:20 PM

                                                                        not necessarily. We didn't taste the dishes. and I didn't see the judges being partial to either team.

                                                                        However, other than Nigella Lawson, what credentials did the other two have to be judges? Where was Jeffrey Steingarten when you need him?

                                                                        1. re: ddavis130
                                                                          a
                                                                          AAQjr Jan 3, 2010 10:35 PM

                                                                          You can't serve burnt food in a culinary competition and expect to win. F& C's dishes may not have been as technical, but they appeared to have made less mistakes.

                                                                          I thought the judges was better than the usual low standard, not that that's saying much. Crying conspiracy seems a little hasty to me.

                                                                          1. re: AAQjr
                                                                            d
                                                                            DGresh Jan 11, 2010 02:01 AM

                                                                            I agree that the burnt radishes are what killed the team. They LOOKED burnt.

                                                                            1. re: DGresh
                                                                              chicgail Jan 11, 2010 04:33 AM

                                                                              They certainly looked burnt to me, but I don't recall one judge mentioning that.

                                                                              1. re: chicgail
                                                                                d
                                                                                DGresh Jan 11, 2010 04:36 AM

                                                                                At least on WPIX last night (for us Cablevision customers who missed it last week) they kept showing the Olympic swimmer saying that in their little "previews" before commercial breaks. They they showed it in context as the judges were discussing the dishes after they were consumed. She said they "left a bitter taste in her mouth"

                                                                                1. re: chicgail
                                                                                  ChefJune Jan 13, 2010 06:12 AM

                                                                                  Maybe that's because they ALL mentioned the burnt radishes. imho, at least one of the oysters was indistinguishable.

                                                                          2. LNG212 Jan 3, 2010 07:02 PM

                                                                            I disagreed with the plating scores. And I can't believe they were tied for taste. Really???

                                                                            I totally want to make the raviolo with the egg inside. I posted over on home cooking asking for suggestions since I didn't see any recipes on the Food Network site for the show. Here's the link http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/678010 , in case anyone else is interested.

                                                                            This isn't a show I watch regularly. Does Food Network usually put up the recipes for at least some of the dishes?

                                                                            12 Replies
                                                                            1. re: LNG212
                                                                              Ruth Lafler Jan 4, 2010 09:54 AM

                                                                              I think they may have won the plating with the "chowder" with that gorgeous bright green "soup" poured tableside. Stunning!

                                                                              At least two of the judges mentioned they didn't like Emeril's oyster dish, which seems to have been the biggest misfire of the evening. In addition, at least two of the Batali-Legasse dishes were criticized for not meeting the criteria of the vegetables being the most important component, which may have been reflected in the originality scores.

                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                a
                                                                                AAQjr Jan 4, 2010 10:13 AM

                                                                                Yep! I am not a Flay fan at all and thought the Obama's passed an opportunity by to get a more high profile white house chef. But to say they didn't deserve to win is silly. They executed their menu better. and it was more focused on the theme ingredient.

                                                                                1. re: AAQjr
                                                                                  Ruth Lafler Jan 4, 2010 10:41 AM

                                                                                  There was a long discussion at the time on these boards about the pros and cons of getting a high-profile White House chef. I didn't see any reason to fire someone who was doing a good job simply because she wasn't "high-profile" -- if having a high-profile chef is important for some reason, then you can make the chef you already have "high-profile" by doing things like having them compete on Iron Chef while promoting the White House garden!

                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                    jmckee Jan 6, 2010 08:57 AM

                                                                                    I read recently that it's hard to get a "high profile" chef for White House duty because s/he is trading a time in their career to "make football munchies for the First Family." While that belittles the job, it is a very different type of position than executive chef at a restaurant or series of restaurants or even chef owner of same.

                                                                                    1. re: jmckee
                                                                                      a
                                                                                      AAQjr Jan 6, 2010 09:27 AM

                                                                                      I see it as the executive chef at a boutique hotel. You do High end banquets, room service. Prolly restaurant style service for WH staff. Maybe not what every chef wants, but if you combine it with possible elevated profile. You could make a case for it being a good job.

                                                                                      1. re: AAQjr
                                                                                        Ruth Lafler Jan 6, 2010 11:02 AM

                                                                                        You're right -- it's very much like being the executive chef at a hotel, and there are a lot more responsibilities than a chef who has only worked in a stand-alone restaurant is qualified to handle. Furthermore, the number of people who can taste your food is limited, and your ability to put your own mark on the food is limited. If your goal is to be a "name" chef, there are much easier ways to do it. Afterall, how many of us can name the last White House chef? How many of us could have named the current White House chef before this week (I only knew her name because there was a long thread on this topic when Obama took office). The White House chef position is not some kind of semi-honorary gig where all you do is design a few menus, cook a few meals and make a lot of high-profile appearances.

                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                          pitu Jan 7, 2010 05:31 AM

                                                                                          Remember, the Obama White House had Marcus Samuelsson in as guest chef for the first State Dinner.

                                                                                          1. re: pitu
                                                                                            Ruth Lafler Jan 7, 2010 08:03 AM

                                                                                            Care to elaborate on how this relates to what I said? (Seriously, I'm not being snarky).

                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                              pitu Jan 7, 2010 08:30 AM

                                                                                              Re: White House chef -- they bring in high profile chefs for high profile events

                                                                                              1. re: pitu
                                                                                                Ruth Lafler Jan 7, 2010 11:50 AM

                                                                                                I don't think one example by the Obamas is indicative of what "they" do. Anyway, what do you think Samuelsson did? Personally cook a multi-course banquet for 200 people? The role of a "guest chef" is to work with Mrs. Obama and the White House Chef to develop a menu and work with Chef Commerford on how the dishes are to be prepared, and maybe supervise on the night of the banquet to make sure the dishes are being prepared properly. But the White House Chef and her crew are the ones who actually purchase, prepare, cook and plate the food, and the White House chef is responsible for determining the staffing, budget, etc.

                                                                                                Organizing and preparing a large formal banquet is a very different skill set than cooking in a restaurant, since you have to serve hundreds of plates at the same time. There's no way someone who doesn't have extensive experience in that kind of executive role could just walk into the White House kitchen and take over.

                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                  pitu Jan 7, 2010 01:20 PM

                                                                                                  I'm not sure why you're responding like that, Ms Lafler: "Anyway, what do you think Samuelsson did? Personally cook a multi-course banquet for 200 people?"

                                                                                                  Obviously, no. Nor does Commerford do all the cooking -- she's an executive chef. The digression was about high profile vs not in the WH, and in fact at the very first big event, a name chef was brought in and a big pr blitz was made about it. Whatevs...

                                                                                                  Nice to see the gorgeous veg garden at the White House!

                                                                                                  1. re: pitu
                                                                                                    Ruth Lafler Jan 7, 2010 02:51 PM

                                                                                                    And my post, which is what you were responding to, was about the fact that simply being a high-profile chef is in no way a qualification to be the White House chef. Agree?

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