ICA: Symon vs. Yagihashi

Iron Chef Michael SymonIron Chef Michael Symon faces off against challenger Takashi Yagihashi, executive chef at critically acclaimed Takashi in Chicago. Judges are Simon Majumdar, Candice Kumai and Peter Jacobson.

Takashi Yagihashi Takashi was born in Mito, the capital of Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan, a small town about an hour northwest of Tokyo and just a few minutes from the sea, where he developed a taste for fresh seafood at a very young age. He started cooking at age sixteen and continued to work in restaurants while he earned his Interior Design degree from the Tokyo Design School. After a stint helping out with the opening of a Japanese restaurant in Chicago, the young chef embarked on a serious culinary education. He cooked for Yoshi Katsumura at the highly touted French-Japanese Yoshi’s Café and Gabino Sotelino’s where he worked his way up the line to chef de cuisine and eventually partner.

Takashi was born in Mito, the capital of Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan, a small town about an hour northwest of Tokyo and just a few minutes from the sea, where he developed a taste for fresh seafood at a very young age. He started cooking at age sixteen and continued to work in restaurants while he earned his Interior Design degree from the Tokyo Design School. After a stint helping out with the opening of a Japanese restaurant in Chicago, the young chef embarked on a serious culinary education. He cooked for Yoshi Katsumura at the highly touted French-Japanese Yoshi’s Café and Gabino Sotelino’s Amria where he worked his way up the line to chef de cuisine and eventually partner.

In 1996, Takashi opened Tribute to rave reviews. The Detroit Free Press gave the restaurant four stars; The New York Times called it “maybe the best restaurant between New York and Chicago and certainly the finest in Detroit.” In 2003, he was named the 13th Annual James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Midwest. In 2005, he opened Okada for Steve Wynn in the luxurious Wynn Las Vegas, where he created a contemporary Japanese menu influenced by his French Training. He has since become a member of the Macy’s culinary council and he opened Noodles by Takashi Yagihashi at Macy’s in Chicago before opening his namesake restaurant in December 2007.  Recently he added Slurping Turtle to his empire, the chef’s take on Japanese comfort food.

It’s been a while since we got to see Iron Chef Michael Symon battle against a challenger in Kitchen Stadium.  It’s good to have the winningest Iron Chef back in action let’s hope he isn’t rusty when Chef Takashi comes a knockin’ in Battle: Egg.  If you haven’t already be sure to read my exclusive interview with Iron Chef Michael Symon.

Check below for the outcome.

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Symon                    Yagihashi
Taste: 27                Taste: 25
Plating: 13              Plating: 12
Originality: 13        Originality: 14
Total: 53                 Total: 51

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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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