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Iron Chef, Bean Battle

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I started to watch a little late, does anyone know who were the two other judges on the show?

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  1. No, but the third bald judge was a tool. His criticism of one of the dishes using portabello mushrooms is that they (the portabello's) are "so 1990". Apparently I didn't get the memo that we should stop using them.

    5 Replies
    1. re: JohnE O

      The bald guy was one of Lidia Bastianich's sons, I believe

      The woman is a Today show (weekend) person.

      1. re: coney with everything

        That's right. And he also just won "Restaurateur of the Year". He was kind of smug, though. This was a battle from last year (?) that I guess I missed. Entertaining, though.

        1. re: coney with everything

          Dang, I was watching and thought he looked like her son Joe, but he was heavier, he sure lost weight. He didn't smile much and seemed a little arrogant that is why I thought it was him to begin with.

          1. re: coney with everything

            the episode was a rerun from January '09, and yes, it's Joe Bastianich..he lost a ton of weight training for the '08 NYC marathon, and actually inspired Batali to lose some lbs as well.

            1. re: coney with everything

              Jenna Wolf, she used to be the sports reporter in NYC on Ch7 (WABC). She also has been doing some fitness articles for either "Shape" or "Self", I forget which one.

          2. I was watching tonight as well and was thinking would the results of the Iron Chef competition be any different if the tasting by the judges was done blind? There is definitely bias involved since each plate is presented by each chef personally.

            23 Replies
            1. re: Chinon00

              I thought Joe Bastianich was one of the best judges ever to be on IC and loved the comment of the portobello being 1990.

              1. re: SDGourmand

                I'll bite. Are there any other food ingredients that are out of style?

                1. re: Chinon00

                  No just portabella.

                  1. re: SDGourmand

                    I think pesto is so 1980

                  2. re: Chinon00

                    ok, thank you,, like your sense of humor.

                  3. re: SDGourmand

                    I also agreed with the comment. Also with the comment that "there's no budget in kitchen stadium, right?" I mean, if I got a protobello on a tasting menu at a fancy restaurant I'd be a little surprised, wouldn't you?

                    1. re: DGresh

                      No and why?

                      1. re: Chinon00

                        Because as they said, it's watery, kind of tasteless and not at all "special". Much rather have a more exotic mushroom with more flavor.

                        1. re: DGresh

                          I''d be surprised if someone served me pureed beans at a fancy tasting, but the theme ingredient was BEANS which aren't exactly a budget busting item. Exotic mushrooms may have thrown off the balance of the dish or overwhelmed the theme ingredient, but at least your reasoning for not using them has substance. Dismissing an ingredient because he has unilaterally declared them declasse makes him come across as a smug tool.

                          1. re: JohnE O

                            And I'll just add that I can understand a dish sounding dated (e.g.: "blackened" anything) but an ingredient?! I bet the guy who said it wished that he could have taken it back the minute that he said it.

                            1. re: JohnE O

                              actually I *was* served pureed beans at a fancy tasting (at Basement Bistro in upstate NY). Very fancy, in a cone perched in a bed of stones.

                              1. re: DGresh

                                I'm amazed at this notion that certain ingredients are inappropriate for "fine dining". Portobello mushrooms, beans (pureed), anything else that we should be aware of?

                                1. re: Chinon00

                                  Yes, it was a moronic comment by the judge, but it is based somewhat in reality. Many ingredients may not appeal to someone looking for a "fine dining" experience, no matter how tasty they actually are. It's quite easy to think of more; consider the foods you eat on a daily or nearly daily basis. Commonplace foods simply don't create an atmosphere of experience.

                                  By the way, this isn't the first time this kind of thing has happened on Iron Chef. I can remember a cod roe battle on the original Japanese version of the show during which the IC complained that he would never serve it at his restaurant and wasn't sure exactly how to make it into an IC-quality dish. Cod roe is a very common ingredient in Japan -- easily compared with portobello mushrooms or pureed beans here ...

                                  1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                    "Many ingredients may not appeal to someone looking for a "fine dining" experience, no matter how tasty they actually are."

                                    Could you share a few of those ingredients?

                                    1. re: Chinon00

                                      Sure. Off the top of my head: Canned tuna fish (and many other things that come in a can). Sliced deli-style turkey breast. Iceberg lettuce. Kraft singles.

                                      And when I asked a co-worker, the first thing he mentioned: ground beef. This seems off-base to me given how often Kobe sliders and the like seem to be appearing on various menus, but it does highlight the fact that people may consider a given ingredient to be less interesting than some other ingredient that they encounter on a less regular basis.

                                      And people expect certain things of a fine-dining experience. How many menus have you encountered that include, e.g., Russian caviar, Scottish smoked salmon, or other delicacies? Most restaurants have to manage expectations in order to make money, and that means offering these kinds of things and avoiding ingredients that customers feel is beneath the amount of money they're paying for the experience.

                                      1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                        The conversation started with portobello mushrooms and beans. So I thought we were discussing whole foods (or near whole foods) and not stuff like Kraft singles or Slim Jims.  As far as the two whole foods or near whole foods that you did mentione (iceberg lettuce and ground beef) I'll concede that iceberg would be uncommon. However what level of dining would you consider steak tartare to be?

                                        Thanks             

                                        1. re: Chinon00

                                          Ok I've got one. Tilapia. It's perenially popular on the "meal plan" at my father's retirement village, and we all know why. It's cheap. And many people like the mild flavor, especially when dressed up in a sauce or coating. And I'd be pretty surprised to see it on a fine dining menu.

                                          1. re: DGresh

                                            I don't know but I think that it's safe to say that their aren't "many" whole foods or near whole foods that are inappropriate for fine dining.

                                            1. re: Chinon00

                                              Agreed, it's all about what's done with them. What I was arguing was that most people EXPECT certain foods to be on a fine dining menu, and expect that certain foods won't be there. The majority of people who frequent this and similar message boards are probably an exception.

                                  2. re: Chinon00

                                    my point above is that I have absolutely no problem with pureed beans.

                                    1. re: DGresh

                                      I was backing you up. No worries.

                                    2. re: Chinon00

                                      Things like portobellos are just less frequently used in fine dining presumably because of their large unwieldy size. However, to dismiss them on the base that they are ordinary is simply ridiculous.

                                      1. re: AndrewK512

                                        Ugh, I can't stand it when an ethnic restaurant serves unleavened bread. That is SO 1980 B.C.E.