Monday, March 07, 2005

Iron Chef America SE107 This Weekend

The second Morimoto match is on Sunday on the Food Network, and frankly, I want Morimoto to wail on Roberto Donna. Bobby Flay has gone 2-1, pummeling Armstrong and triumphing over Bayless (but being humiliated by Ming Tsai... understandably given that it was a Duck battle against an Asian chef who had 6 years of experience going his direction). Mario, my favored star, is 2-0. What's been even more amazing about Mario's performance is that he has won in Spiny Lobster v. Morimoto, in Catfish v. Trevino, and in Chocolate and Coconut v. Laiskonis. The latter victory was incredible not just because of the wide berth that Mario swept through the scores, but because Mario doesn't use chocolate or coconut that often (or, for that matter, Catfish). Frankly, Mario's chocolate churros with the hot chocolate sauce made me dream chocolate, and his duck bisteeya (Egg McMuffin on steroids) looked positively orgasmic. Meanwhile, Morimoto is... 1-2. He lost to Mario, won against Mario and Sakai in the Tag Team match, and lost a completely illegit battle v. Robert Feenie (lots of Bobs/Roberts, eh?) How can I say it's completely illegitimate if it's a fundamentally subjective scoring structure?Each Iron Chef is graded 10 points for taste, 5 points for creativity, and 5 points for plating from 3 judges. That amounts to 60 points. The end score was 45 to 39, with Feenie scoring 19 Taste/13 Plating/13 Originality and Morimoto scoring 18 Taste/12 Plating/9 Originality. I want you to focus on 9 Originality for just a moment. (You may also notice that two world class chefs are both scoring in the C to D range, but that's covered in my previous entries on how spoiled Americans are). Let me list the five dishes offered by each chef.Morimoto:Crab consomee gelee filled into a charentais melon.A positively seductive and respledant buttermilk crab croquette.Crab fondue with crab naan bread. Let me repeat that: A fondue with crab in it, with Indian-style naan baked with crab inside of it. Made in an hour. Goddamn incredible.Black pepper-infused crab meat served in a crab shell.Crab fried rice with a baked crab miso on a wooden spoon and with a broth.Feenie:Two crab maki rolls, one with tuna/mango/cucumber and one with smoked salmon/cucumber/mango, with a creme fraiche/uzu and a mustard/soy/sherry vinegar sauce.Sablefish and dungeness crab in a tom yum broth.Lump crabmeat ravioli with a reduced blue crab sauce and a white truffle sauce.Roasted veal loin with a lump crabmeat hollandaise and mushrooms, that was admitted to be a very basic surf and turf presentation and also to be not the best as showcasing the crab.A peekytoe crab panna cotta.All right. The fucking crab naan fondue alone beats out three of Feenie's dishes in creativity combined, and when you add in a crab consomee gelee (as a first dish, nonetheless), miso paste baked on a wooden spoon, and black pepper crab plated with a foam-like sauce, you have a clear victory in that category. The only thing characterizing Feenie's plating was saucing: he used no special bowls (like Morimoto's Asian fondue bowl and his melon to hold the gelee). At worst, Morimoto should have won by 1 point in plating (or perhaps tied), lost the 1 point he did lose in taste, and won by 2 points in creativity. Instead, he lost in every category. At the very least, he did not deserve to lose by the WIDEST margin in creativity.I'm willing to bet, given what I've seen, that this upcoming battle is scallops or some similar type of sea food, so GO MORIMOTO! Show gaijin pigs what you're really made of!


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