candice kumai

ICA: Zakarian vs. Gallante

zacbanner ICA: Zakarian vs. SchenkerIron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian faces off against challenger Shea Gallante, who is the executive chef at Ciano in New York. The judges for Battle: Pasta are Michael Ruhlman, Candice Kumai and Martin Yan.

Chef Shea GallanteGallante has been wearing a chefs apron from the early age of 14 where he jump started his career and fascination for Italian cooking at a local pizza shop in Upstate New York. It wasn’t long before his hunger for the restaurant world had him enrolling in the Culinary Institute of America, after which he knew his quest would to one day own his own restaurant in New York City. His first job after the CIA was with Pino Luongo at Coco Opera near Lincoln Center. After two years training under him, Gallante began working with the famed Lidia Bastianich at Felidia and was quickly promoted to sous-chef after demonstrating to her his passion for the type of cooking that earned Felidia three stars. After this, Gallante was recruited by David Bouley, whom he credits as the person who has had the most profound effect on his career to date, to work at his eponymous restaurant Bouley. Gallante spent four years working with Bouley before moving on to Cru, where during his time as executive chef the restaurant received three stars in the New York Times by then reviewer Frank Bruni, a Michelin Star, three stars in New York Magazine by Adam Platt and Gallante was also named one of the Best New Chefs in 2005 by Food & Wine.

Chef Shea Gallante has landed back in the New York City dining scene, this time to open a place he can call his own. Having partnered with Philippe Chow principle Stratis Morfogen, Gallante has now signed on as Executive Chef/Co-Owner of Ciano (45 East 22nd Street, New York, NY 10010), a new, seasonal ingredient driven casual and atmospheric Italian restaurant in the former Beppe space in the Flatiron District.

Chef Gallante has a very impressive resume but so does Iron Chef Zakarian.

Check below for the outcome.

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Zakarian Gallante
Taste 25 26
Originality 11 14
Plating 14 13
Total 50 53

ICA: Garces vs Becker

ICA: Garces vs. Becker

Iron Chef Jose Garces faces off against Challenger Franklin Becker, executive chef at “Abe and Arthur’s,” a critically acclaimed eatery in New York City. Judges for Battle: Haddock were Raul de Molina, Candice Kumai and Richard Belzer.

franklin beckerBorn and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Chef Becker’s life has always been centered on food. From early on, he was under his mother’s feet cooking.
By the time he was fourteen, Becker was working in a professional kitchen. Throughout high school and college, Becker spent his free time cooking. Upon graduation from college, he decided to attend the prestigious Culinary Institute of America from which he graduated with honors.

Having cooked in the past for Revlon magnate Ronald Perelman, Becker has also held the post of Executive Chef at several fine New York establishments including Local, Capitale and both the Tribeca Grand and Soho Grand Hotels.  Chef Becker is currently Executive Chef at Brasserie in New York City, a critically acclaimed restaurant which opened its doors in 1959 and is New York’s first Brasserie and late-night establishment.

Check below for the outcome.

9999 Food Network Star Season 8 EP4 Recap

Garces Becker
Taste  25  27
Plating  13  14
Originality  12  14
Total  50  55

ICA: Flay vs. Allegretti

flay banner ICA: Flay vs. HastingsIron Chef Bobby Flay faces off against challenger Alain Allegretti, executive chef at La Promenade des Anglais in New York City. Judges are Simon Majumdar, Cady Huffman and Candice Kumai.

Alain Allegretti hails from a prominent culinary background developed in kitchens across France and the United States. His cooking style pairs cultural influences from his home city of Nice with the guidance culled from famed chefs including Jacques Maximin and Alain Ducasse.

Alain AllegrettiAllegretti’s career, in both France and New York, stretches from helming the kitchen at legendary restaurants to his own eponymous restaurant. He was the executive chef at the New York Ritz-Carlton’s highly acclaimed restaurant, Atelier, where he was instrumental in aiding the restaurant to achieve multi-star reviews by prominent publications. Allegretti honed his culinary skills at several Michelin star rated restaurants including the two-star Restaurant Le Chantecler, three-star rated Chez Chapel in Mionnay and three-star rated Restaurant Le Louis XV in Monte Carlo.

Allegretti arrived on the New York restaurant scene in 2001 as Co-Executive Chef at Sirio Maccioni’s Le Cirque 2000. In 2008 Allegretti opened his eponymous restaurant Allegretti in the Flatiron District and earned a rave 2 star review by Frank Bruni in the New York Times, along with glowing critique from the New York Post, Time Out New York, Insatiable Critic, among other outlets. Allegretti’s newest flagship restaurant, La Promenade des Anglais, features cuisine inspired by the French Riviera with subtle influences from various regions of Italy as well, bringing the glamour, the romance and the food of the French Riviera to the fashionable Chelsea district.

Allegretti’s résumé is world class but there is no venue in the world like Kitchen Stadium especially when Iron Chef Bobby Flay is waiting for you.  Saddle up for Battle: Canned Tuna.

Check below for the outcome.

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Flay                   Allegretti
Taste: 25                Taste: 20
Plating: 13              Plating: 12
Originality: 13        Originality: 9
Total: 51                 Total: 41

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 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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