ICA: Symon vs. Fraser
After a week off, Iron Chef America is back. This week we are treated to a battle between Chef John Fraser and Iron Chef Michael Symon. Kitchen Stadium is ready so let the battle begin.
Chef John Fraser according to StarChefs.com:
John Fraser insists he wasn’t shooting for 3-stars when he opened Dovetail; the New York Times’ starry review made him change some things, in fact. What opened as a chic but neighborhood-focused Upper West Side restaurant drew such acclaim that Fraser put his servers in ties and made a tasting menu – but the comfortable, approachable character stayed the same.
Fraser’s first exposure to the culinary industry came as he pursued a degree in anthropology from the University of California, San Diego. He worked as a bartender and line cook during the year, and spent summers in Montauk, Long Island, cooking in various American bistros. Exposure to freshly-caught fish and local Northeast produce captivated his attention, and confirmed his inkling that a career as a chef was the right path to pursue. He proceeded to cook for two notable Los Angeles establishments, Cocco Pazzo and Raffles L’Ermitage Beverly Hills, rising through the ranks to become sous chef at both locations. Seeking to further cultivate his fine dining expertise, he moved to Napa Valley to become a chef de partie under Thomas Keller at the French Laundry.
Fraser spent two years steeping in the renowned chef’s philosophy of seasonal ingredients and playful creativity, and Keller’s influence shines through on the creative, refined dishes of Dovetail. Stages in Paris at Taillevent and L’Arpege were influential as well – they gave him a global perspective on haute cuisine, and inspired him to move to Paris for a year to return to Taillevent and Maison Blanche, and spend a year exploring the city’s food markets and learning from local restaurateurs, farmers and chefs.
Back in New York, Fraser opened an intimate Greek trattoria, Snack Taverna, with a friend, and 2 years later moved to Compass, where he drew critical acclaim, and 2 stars from The New York Times. Fraser was named one of only four young chefs to watch in America by Esquire magazine in 2006, and rave reviews for Dovetail began pouring in as soon as he opened the doors.
Judges for Battle: Cauliflower were Farmer Lee Jones, Jeffrey Steingarten, and Julie White. In a stunning turn, Fraser took on the Iron Chef without any sous chefs so Iron Mike kicked his out as well.
I originally had this listed as Chef Neal Fraser but have since made the correction thanks to Yvonne (see comments). If you haven’t already, check out my recent interview with Iron Chef Michael Symon.
Click HERE for the outcome.
Next week’s match-up is between Bobby Flay vs. Curtis Stone.