David Burke

ICA: Flay vs. Stein

NewICAHeader ICA: Flay vs. Stien

After taking a few weeks off so the sugar addicts could satisfy their Jones with some mind-numbing cake bake-offs ICA is finally back for some real cooking.  It’s the Windy City vs. the Big Apple when Chicago-based Chef Todd Stein enters Kitchen Stadium to take on Iron Chef Bobby Flay. Who’s cuisine will reign supreme?

Chef Todd Stein on Iron Chef AmericaChef Todd Stein has been a mainstay of Chi-Town’s restaurant scene for several years going back to his apprentice days at Gordon Sinclair’s self-named Gordon Restaurant.  From there he worked his way up the lardon ladder with stages at Le Bernardin and Moulin de la Vierge before being named Chef de Cuisine at MK the Restaurant in 2003.  Two years later he was promoted to executive chef.

Stein left Chicago in 2006 to take the position of Consulting Executive Chef for Minneapolis’ B.A.N.K. and a year later he was off to Sin City to run the show at David Burke Las Vegas.  In 2009 he returned to Chicago to take command of Roof, then Cibo Matto (where he was employed during taping) and ultimately to head up The Flourentine starting in 2010.

Along the way he has collected an impressive list of accolades highlighted by being named Best New Chef by Chicago magazine and making Cibo Matto a 2010 James Beard semifinalist for Best New Restaurant and Time Out Chicago’s Best Hotel Restaurant.

If you’d like to learn more about Chef Stein the good folks at Zagat sat down with him last year for a terrific interview that you can read HERE.  With a back ground in New American cuisine and classic French it is the flavors of Italy where Stein’s star shines brightest.  We’ll see how bright when he enters Kitchen Stadium to take on Iron Chef Bobby Flay in Battle Mussels.

Chef Flay was once again assisted by Sous Chef Rene Forsberg (who I believe oversees Flay’s Mesa Grill outpost in the Bahamas) and Christine Sanchez, Culinary Director of the Iron Chef’s company, Bold Food.  The two cutest sous chefs in all of Iron Chefdom, when do we get to see Renee with her own show?  The judges for this battle were Julie Chen, David Rocco and Laura Calder.

If you haven’t already be sure to check out my exclusive interview with Iron Chef Bobby Flay (HERE) or my extensive interview with judge David Rocco just before the Cooking Channel went on the air last year (HERE).

Check below for the outcome.

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Flay                              Stein
Taste: 25                     Taste: 25
Plating: 12                   Plating:  13
Originality: 12             Originality: 10
Total: 49                      Total: 48

ICA: Flay vs. Burke

NewICAHeader ICA: Garces vs. Medina   Outcome

From TV.com:

Theme : Lamb

Chefs : Iron Chef Bobby Flay is pitted against Chef David Burke in Battle Lamb!

Full Recap

Theme : Lamb
Iron Chef Dishes
Green Eggs and Lamb
Lamb and Lobster Skewers
Lamb with Peanut Mole Sauce
Cumin Crusted Rack of Lamb
Spice Rubbed Rack of Lamb
Chef David BurkeChallenger Dishes
Lamb Sashimi
Lamb Minestrone
Angry Lamb and Lobster
Minute Steak Lamb
Pastrami Spiced Rack of Lamb
Jewel, Dana Cowin and Lara Spencer.
Iron Chef
Taste : 27
Plating : 12
Originality : 12

Total : 51
Taste : 19
Plating : 15
Originality : 14

Total : 48
Winner: Iron Chef Bobby Flay

ICA: Symon vs. Fraser

iron chef america, wannabe tv chef

After a week off, Iron Chef America is back.  This week we are treated to a battle between Chef John Fraser and Iron Chef Michael Symon.  Kitchen Stadium is ready so let the battle begin.

Chef Neal FraserChef John Fraser according to StarChefs.com:

John Fraser insists he wasn’t shooting for 3-stars when he opened Dovetail; the New York Times’ starry review made him change some things, in fact. What opened as a chic but neighborhood-focused Upper West Side restaurant drew such acclaim that Fraser put his servers in ties and made a tasting menu – but the comfortable, approachable character stayed the same.

Fraser’s first exposure to the culinary industry came as he pursued a degree in anthropology from the University of California, San Diego. He worked as a bartender and line cook during the year, and spent summers in Montauk, Long Island, cooking in various American bistros. Exposure to freshly-caught fish and local Northeast produce captivated his attention, and con­firmed his inkling that a career as a chef was the right path to pursue. He proceeded to cook for two notable Los Angeles establishments, Cocco Pazzo and Raffles L’Ermitage Beverly Hills, rising through the ranks to become sous chef at both locations. Seeking to further cultivate his fine dining expertise, he moved to Napa Valley to become a chef de partie under Thomas Keller at the French Laundry.

Fraser spent two years steeping in the renowned chef’s philosophy of seasonal ingredients and playful creativity, and Keller’s influence shines through on the creative, refined dishes of Dovetail. Stages in Paris at Taillevent and L’Arpege were influential as well – they gave him a global perspective on haute cuisine, and inspired him to move to Paris for a year to return to Taillevent and Maison Blanche, and spend a year exploring the city’s food markets and learning from local restaurateurs, farmers and chefs.

Back in New York, Fraser opened an intimate Greek trattoria, Snack Taverna, with a friend, and 2 years later moved to Compass, where he drew critical acclaim, and 2 stars from The New York Times. Fraser was named one of only four young chefs to watch in America by Esquire magazine in 2006, and rave reviews for Dovetail began pouring in as soon as he opened the doors.

Judges for Battle: Cauliflower were Farmer Lee Jones, Jeffrey Steingarten, and Julie White.  In a stunning turn, Fraser took on the Iron Chef without any sous chefs so Iron Mike kicked his out as well.


I originally had this listed as Chef Neal Fraser but have since made the correction thanks to Yvonne (see comments).  If you haven’t already, check out my recent interview with Iron Chef Michael Symon.

Click HERE for the outcome.

Next week’s match-up is between Bobby Flay vs. Curtis Stone.

ICA Symon vs. Fraser – Outcome

iron chef america, wannabe tv chef

SPOILER ALERT: The following information is the outcome of Morimoto vs. Zakarian.  If you want information on the combatants click HERE.  If you are only interested in the outcome read on.

Judges for Battle: Cauliflower were Farmer Lee Jones, Jeffrey Steingarten, and Julie White.  In a stunning turn, Fraser took on the Iron Chef without any sous chefs so Iron Mike kicked his out as well.

Battle: Cauliflower

Symon                   Fraser
Taste: 26                Taste: 22
Plating: 12             Plating: 10
Originality: 11       Originality: 12
Total: 49                 Total: 44

Winner: Iron Chef Morimoto

Next week’s match-up is between Bobby Flay vs. Curtis Stone.

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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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