battle

ICA: Zakarian vs. Schenker

zacbanner ICA: Zakarian vs. FerraroIron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian faces off against chef Jesse Schenker, chef and owner of Recette in New York. Judges are Julie White, Art Smith and Anya Fernald.

Jesse SchenkerChef Jesse Schenker manipulates ingredients and temperature to create maximum flavor.   He went for his Culinary Degree at the Atlantic Technical Center in Coconut Creek, Fla. During that time, he gained his first professional kitchen experience at Cafe Maxx, guided by Chef Oliver Saucy. From there, he became the Chef de Partie at Chef Mark Militello’s James Beard award-winning restaurant, Mark’s on Las Olas and then onto Sous Chef at Fort Lauderdale’s celebrated Italian restaurant Rino’s Restaurante.

With experience under his belt, Jesse moved to Miami to become Sous Chef at the upscale wine bar, City Cellar Wine Bar and Grille.  After wowing the best culinary cities of Florida, it was time to take on the challenge of wowing foodies in the Big Apple. Jesse was offered a position as Chef de Partie at the two-Michelin-star rated Gordon Ramsay at the London.  He launched his own venture, Recette Private Dining and teamed up with Savoy Bakery owner Brian Ghaw and Per Se pastry alum Christina Lee, and created up to ten-course tasting menus for exclusive private parties.

Chef Schenker is a talented chef but so is the newest Iron Chef.  The Technician is sure to be ready for the challenge in Battle: Plantains.

Check below for the outcome.

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Zakarian Schenker
Taste 25 25
Plating 13 14
Originality 14 14
Total 52 53

ICA: Symon vs. Nunez

symon banner ICA: Symon vs. YagihashiIron Chef Michael Symon faces off against challenger Jesus Nunez. Chef Núñez is chef and owner of Gastroarte Restaurant in New York. The judges are Jose Andres, Cady Huffman, Andrew Zimmern and Sophie Michell.

Chef Jesus NunezThe menu at Gastroarte Restaurant showcases rich, imaginative cooking with a focus on simple yet robust flavors and also reflects Chef Núñez’ youthful history as a graffiti and fine artist. In the kitchen, he draws inspiration from his love of urban design and street art, designing his dishes to be colorful creations that many diners say are “too beautiful to eat.” The stage for these edible works of art offers its diners two unique dining experiences.

Chef Núñez’ passion for fusing old-world recipes with new-world preparations is to say the least artistic but in Kitchen Stadium awaits Michael Symon as the two collide in Battle Octopus.  Be sure to check out my exclusive interview with Iron Chef Symon HERE.

Check below for the outcome.

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Symon Núñez
Taste 37 32
Plating 16 17
Originality 16 19
Total 69 68

ICA: Forgione vs McClain

forbanner ICA: Forgione vs. Curtin

After a summer nearly devoid of new ICA action this is the second fresh episode in a row.   This time, Iron Chef Marc Forgione faces off against challenger Shawn McClain, the executive chef at Sage, at Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Martin Yan, Ching-He Huang and Adam Richman are the judges for this battle.

Chef Shawn McClainShawn McClain, executive chef of Sage at ARIA Resort & Casino, has a knack for balancing innovative concepts with refinement and sensibility. His spirited New American menu takes the seasons as its departure point, tapping the freshness of California’s fertile environment to produce elevated flavor combinations interwoven with Mediterranean undercurrents.

A native of San Diego, Calif., and a 1990 graduate of the School of Culinary Arts at Kendall College in Evanston, Ill., McClain’s star rose quickly in the culinary world. He broke onto the national scene at Trio restaurant in Evanston, earning four stars from both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times. There, his style came into focus, one that juxtaposes Eastern influence with Western foundations. After seven accolade-filled years, he left to open Spring – his homage to seafood. The restaurant opened in 2001 to extraordinary critical and consumer success. That same year, Spring was nominated for the James Beard Foundation’s Best New Restaurant award, and McClain was named Esquire magazine’s Chef of the Year. In 2002, he appeared in “40 Under 40,” Crain’s Chicago Business’ highly competitive list of who’s who in the city.

Chef McClain’s food had better be Zen perfect when he goes up against Iron Chef Marc Forgione in Battle: Tropical Ingredients.

Check below for the outcome.

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Forgione McClain
Taste 41 46
Plating 20 17
Originality 17 20
Total 78 83

ICA: Flay vs. Isidori

ICA: Flay vs. IsidoriIron Chef Bobby Flay faces off against challenger Joe Isadori. Chef Isadori is the executive chef at Southfork Kitchen in Bridgehampton, New York. Judges are Joshua Applestone, Georgia Pellegrini and Glen Davis.

Joe IsidoriJoe Isidori comes from a long line of chefs. Throughout his childhood and adolescence he trained in his father’s kitchens, and at 21 he was awarded a scholarship to attend The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. Isidori was snatched up by the Nemo Restaurant Group in Miami Beach, Florida, upon graduation and served as their chef de cuisine. But it wasn’t too long before his talents were noticed by real estate mega-millionaire Donald Trump.

Isidori is now the executive chef at Southfork Kitchen in Bridgehampton, New York. He continues his commitment to sourcing sustainable seafood and local produce in the “East Coast Napa,” working with farmers, fisherman and winemakers to help showcase the true bounty of the East End of Long Island.

Chef Isidori has a résumé that is world class but there is no venue in the world like Kitchen Stadium especially when Iron Chef Bobby Flay is waiting for you in Battle: Strip Steak.

Check below for the outcome.

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Flay                   Isadori
Taste: 27                Taste: 25
Plating: 15              Plating: 10
Originality: 13        Originality: 15
Total: 55                 Total: 50

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

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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