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ICA: Zakarian vs. Sawyer

Geoffrey ZakarianIron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian faces off against Challenger Jonathon Sawyer. Chef Sawyer, who previously appeared as Iron Chef Michael Symon’s sous chef on ‘Iron Chef America,’ is owner of The Greenhouse Tavern, in Cleveland, Ohio. Judges are Sophie Michell, David Rocco (be sure to check out my exclusive interview with David HERE) and Cady Huffman.

Jonathon SawyerChef Jonathon Sawyer, a Cleveland native, first learned to cook at the age of 13. He attended the University of Dayton and graduated from the Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts.  His post-graduate career started at The Biltmore Hotel in Miami and continued alongside renowned chef Charlie Palmer in New York at Kitchen 22.  Following his work with Charlie Palmer, Johnathon moved back to his hometown to open Lolita as Chef de Cuisine for his friend and colleague, Michael Symon.

In 2007, Jonathon moved back to his hometown to pursue his dream of opening his own restaurant.  This dream was realized in the opening of Bar Cento, a modern Roman enoteca in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood.  In April of 2009, Jonathon opened The Greenhouse Tavern which has been named one of the Top Ten Best New Restaurants in the United States by Bon Appetit.

When Chef Sawyer enters Kitchen Stadium waiting for him will be the newest Iron Chef Geoffrey “the Technician” Zakarian armed again with celebrity sous chef Alex Guarnaschelli in Battle: Mint.

Check below for the outcome.

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Zakarian            Sawyer
Taste: 24                Taste: 20
Plating: 13              Plating: 10
Originality: 12        Originality: 10
Total: 49                 Total: 40

ICA: Zakarian vs. Casanova

Iron Chef America

In his debut battle, Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian takes on Challenger Chef Victor Casanova. Judges are Karine Bakhoum, Art Smith and Jill Zarin. Chef Casanova is Executive Chef at Culina, an Italian restaurant at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills.

Victor CasanovaOver the years, Victor Casanova trained and developed his craft in some of the country’s best restaurants. Fresh out of culinary school, Casanova honed his skills at celebrated establishments such as the French-American DB Bistro Moderne and the American Gramercy Tavern. He was sous-chef at New York’s Ocean Grill and Las Vegas’ Neros at Caesars Palace and spent four years at Buca Giovanni in San Francisco, where he designed a boutique all-Italian wine list while executing a daily farmers’ market menu. He commenced his Italian training with Chef Casare Casella at New York’s renowned Beppe, then advanced it further under Chef Scott Conant at the chic, Northern Italy-influenced Alto.

After his salad days and a whirlwind culinary tour through the Big Apple, Casanova headed west to claim the post of chef de cuisine of Il Terrazzo in Scottsdale’s Phoenician Resort, where he quickly earned rave reviews. So, what’s his secret? Fuggedaboudit, he’ll never tell.

Casanova’s ongoing love affair with Italian food was ignited by Casella at Beppe, where he learned the spirit of the authentic Italian kitchen, an equally authentic passion for cooking and the flavourful secrets of Tuscan cuisine. Most of all, as Casanova conveys on each and every plate at Culina, Italian fare is only as good as the ingredients that go into it. This emphasis on seasonality, quality, simplicity and passion infuses the philosophy he brings to Culina, Modern Italian.

Chef Victor Casanova gets the honor of facing the newest Iron Chef, Geoffrey Zakarian, making his debut in Battle: Brook Trout.  In Zakarian’s corner is quite the sous chef, none other than Alex Guarnaschelli.

Check below for the outcome.

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Zakarian            Casanova
Taste: 30                Taste: 26
Plating: 15              Plating: 14
Originality: 15        Originality: 13
Total: 60                 Total: 53

ICA: Flay/Symon vs. Garces/Forgione

NewICAHeader ICA: Flay/Symon vs. Garces/Forgione

There are few things better than a Iron Chef on Iron Chef show down.  Tonight on a special Iron Chef was the annual Battle: Thanksgiving with Bobby Flay and Michael Symon teaming up to take on the last two Next Iron Chef winners Jose Garces and Marc Forgione.

These types of battles are always fun.  There’s no mystery – you know in advance who the competitors are, what the theme is and all that is left is to make some of the best Thanksgiving food ever.  Ever.

The judges for tonight’s Battle: Thanksgiving were Karine Bakhoum, Henry Winkler and Cady Huffman.  This was the first time in Kitchen Stadium for the Fonz.

Check below for the outcome.

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Flay/Symon                  Garces/Forgione
Taste: 29                      Taste: 25
Plating: 15                    Plating:  14
Originality: 15              Originality: 15
Total: 59*                     Total: 54

*One point shy of a perfect score.

ICA: Forgione vs. Wong

NewICAHeader ICA: Flay vs. Staib

There are lots of tricks and treats in this sweet Halloween battle, as Iron Chef Marc Forgione is challenged by Chef Lee Anne Wong. Judges are Kathy Griffin, Donatella Arpaia Stewart (bun clearly still in oven) and Kelly Ripa. Chef Wong was a semi-finalist on “Top Chef” and appears on Cooking Channel’s “Unique Eats.”

How crappy have the last few Sundays been on Food Network?  Obviously scripted taco truck challenges and Halloween candy cook-offs?  Oy vey!  Well your Sundays will stop sucking soon enough when Next Iron Chef 4 begins next week but you don’t have to wait for Kitchen Stadium drama as Iron Chef Forgione faces off against Top Chef veteran Lee Anne Wong in Battle: Halloween Candy.

Lee Anne WongSince she traded her fashion career for the culinary world, Chef Lee Anne Wong, has been bringing her modern-global fusion cuisine to the people. Born and raised in Troy, New York, Lee Anne is a 2nd generation Chinese- American. After graduating from The French Culinary Institute (The FCI), Lee Anne worked for several years at Aquavit, and later served as part the opening staff at Jean Georges Vongrichten’s Chinese venture, restaurant 66.

She has also cooked and staged in critically acclaimed kitchens all over the world.  After returning to The FCI as the Executive Chef of Event Operations, Chef Wong brought her culinary skills to an even wider audience when she appeared as a cheftestant on Season One of Bravo’s Flagship Series “Top Chef”. She returned to the show as a Supervising Culinary Producer on Top Chef, and its spin-off Top Chef Masters. She has also worked as a culinary consultant for movies and tv programs. Chef Wong has used her culinary skills to help further charitable causes, such as Women Chefs and Restaurateurs (WCR), Project By Project, and she sits on the Board of Directors for The Gohan Society.

Donatella and her husband, Dr. Allan Stewart, welcomed a son on Thursday, September 15th. They haven’t announced a name yet but did say their sweetest addition weighed 8 pounds, 3 ounces.An impressive resume to be sure but will be enough when she enters Kitchen Stadium?

Check below for the outcome.

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Forgione                      Wong
Taste: 23                      Taste: 27
Plating: 15                    Plating:  12
Originality: 13              Originality: 13
Total: 51                       Total: 52

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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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