ICA: Cora Vs. Ballesteros

After a week off, Food Network brings us a new Iron Chef: America as Chef Julieta Ballesteros clashes with Iron Chef Cat Cora in the halls of Kitchen Stadium.  It should be interesting with upscale Mexican going up against Greek Cuisine with a Southern accent.  Enjoy Battle: Ricotta!

Chef Julieta Ballesteros is a true original.  Hailing from Mexico and toting a degree from the French Culinary Institute, Chef Julieta has put a signature spin on traditional Mexican cuisine.  Ballesteros combines her Latin flavors and French technique to produce Mexican food that is both innovative and classical at the same time.

Shortly before graduation from CFI, Ballesteros was named the chef of Mexicana Mama, a tiny eatery in Greenwich Village.  It didn’t take long for her big flavors to shine as glowing reviews came in from the likes of Frank Bruni and Gael Greene.  Soon Ballesteros’ star outgrew Mexicana Mama and she headed to Chelsea.

Chef Julieta is the chef/owner of Crema Restaurante which is described as, “a higher concept of Mexican Cuisine.”  The accolades continue with eater.com proclaiming, “Makes you want to celebrate” and New Yorker says Creama is “Uniformly Excellent”.  The New York Times calls Ballesteros, “A chef to watch.”

In a convenient coincidence this episode is scheduled to air just two days after Iron Chef Cat Cora made headlines with a statement about the Mississippi Prom Controversy.  Cat, an open lesbian, voiced her support for Constance McMillen and her wish to take her girlfriend to prom.

Judges included actress Claudia Bassols (Spain: On The Road Again), Nina Griscom and a noticeably thinner Karine Bakhoum (KB Network News).

For the outcome click HERE.

2 Responses to ICA: Cora Vs. Ballesteros

  • Rob T. says:

    Julieta was robbed. I can’t evaluate the taste of the food, and I thought Cat’s first dish of the ricotta wrapped in mozzarella was more original and may have biased the judges, but on presentation Julieta’s was more colorful and interesting. Cat’s monochromatic presentation could have been shot in black and white and looked the same.

    The loss in presentation calls into question the entire process. The judges shouldn’t see anything until the end and they should just see the dishes without the chefs. They should judge course by course. The judges should write down their impressions and shouldn’t share them until the scores are submitted.

    Until Iron Chef reduces the impact of knowing which chef did which dish and until the judging is done secretly and comments are shared after the face so judges can’t influence each other, the outcome is not in doubt. The iron chef wins every time (I have never seen a challenger win and this show had the worst bias I have seen). 💡

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Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards
2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up
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