Donatella Arpaia Stewart

ICA: Flay vs. Hastings

Iron Chef Bobby FlayIron Chef Bobby Flay faces off against Challenger Chris Hastings, chef and owner at Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham, Alabama. Judges are Anthony Anderson, Donatella Arpaia Stewart and Simon Majumdar.

It has taken 12 years but there is finally a chef from Alabama battling in Kitchen Stadium.  Why is this a big deal?  Alabama has one of the richest food traditions in the country – West Indies Salad, Fried Green Tomatoes, White BBQ Sauce, et al.  And what a chef they have chosen.

Christopher (along with wife Idie Hastings) is the chef and co-owner of the nationally celebrated Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham, Alabama.  Located in a historic Chef Chris Hastings Hot and Hot Fish Clubbuilding on Birmingham’s Southside, the award-winning restaurant has earned a reputation for serving some of the finest, freshest dishes in the region.

Hastings graduated from the Johnson & Wales Culinary School in Providence, Rhode Island and then returned to the South in 1984 to work at the Atlanta Ritz Carlton.  After stints at Highlands Bar and Grill and Botega, Chef Chris moved to San Francisco, where he helped Bradley Ogden open the Lark Creek Inn.

In 1995, the Hastings returned to Birmingham to open the Hot and Hot Fish Club where Chris focused on the dinner menu and Idie used her pastry experience (earned in the kitchens of Jeremiah Towers’ Stars Café and Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio) to develop the dessert menu. Today, although the menus change daily to highlight the best possible products available, several signature items remain: the Hot and Hot Shrimp and Grits made with Country Ham, Fresh Thyme, Tomatoes and Ver Jus is always a favorite among the locals.

For more on Chef Christopher Hastings and the Hot and Hot Fish Club check out this great article from the Year of Alabama Food web site.

To see what happen when Hastings takes on Iron Chef Bobby Flay in Battle: Sausage tune into the Food Network this Sunday at 10/9 CT.  If you haven’t already be sure to check out my exclusive interview with Iron Chef Bobby Flay (HERE).

For the outcome check below.

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Flay                   Hastings
Taste: 29                Taste: 15
Plating: 12              Plating: 14
Originality: 11         Originality: 14
Total: 52                 Total: 53

ICA: Morimoto vs. Bogle

Masaharu Morimoto ICA: Morimoto vs. BogleIron Chef Masaharu Morimoto faces off against Challenger Justin Bogle, Executive Chef at Gilt in New York City. Judges are Donatella Arpaia Stewart, Ben Sargent and Karine Bakhoum.  With Morimoto in the kitchen and Ben Sargent on the judges table it is safe to assume this will be a seafood battle.

Chef Justin Bogle continues to make his mark at GILT as their Executive Chef.  Rooted in the classics, Bogle’s unique approach makes the most of the best ingredients, creating completely new ideas and innovative presentations while still utilizing comforting, familiar Chef Justin Bogle GILTflavors. His primary goal is creating something delicious that people will want to eat, always using the highest-quality, sustainable ingredients.  Before moving to New York Chef Bogle  worked at the Striped Bass where he worked side by side with Chef Christopher Lee in developing one of the most successful restaurants in Philadelphia.

A graduate of The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College in Philadelphia PA, Bogle is the youngest chef in New York City to receive Two Stars from the MICHELIN Guide, which he has received for the third year in a row with the recent announcement for the 2012 Guide. (GILT has earned the coveted award for the fourth consecutive year.) In August 2010, Bogle was named a “Rising Star Chef” by Restaurant Hospitality, followed by Zagat honoring him as one of New York City’s “30 Under 30″ Up-and-Coming Chefs to watch in 2011. He also recently appeared on the Martha Stewart Show, showcasing his celebrated “dirt salad.”

So a challenger with a background in seafood is taking on Chef Morimoto (the king of fish battles) with the host of Cooking Channel’s Hook, Line and Dinner sitting on the judges’ table has got to mean a fish battle right?  You got it; Battle: Paiche.

Check below for the outcome.

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Morimoto           Bogle
Taste: 30                Taste: 21
Plating: 15              Plating: 12
Originality: 15         Originality: 10
Total: 60                 Total: 43

ICA: Flay/Vallodolid vs. Morimoto/Zimmern

ICABanner ICA: Zakarian vs. Casanova

Two Iron Chefs are teamed up with special guests in this All-Star Kitchen Stadium battle. Marcela Valladolid, who appears on Food Network’s ‘Mexican Made Easy’ is paired with Iron Chef Bobby Flay; and Andrew Zimmern, of Travel Channel’s ‘Bizarre Foods,’ joins Iron Chef Masuhara Morimoto. Judges are Penn Jillette, Donatella Arpaia Stewart and Simon Majumdar.

Marcela ValladolidGrowing up around expert and traditional cooks in Tijuana, Mexico, Marcela was raised to be passionate about food. She jumped straight into a culinary life by working her first job at her aunt’s cooking school in Baja, Mexico. She realized she too wanted to pursue this growing love for food full time and enrolled in the Los Angeles Culinary Institute, and later graduated from the Ritz Escoffier Cooking School in Paris as a classical French pastry chef.

Marcela went on to run a catering company and teach children about the culinary arts in Tijuana. She collected recipes and applied her knowledge and skills (of her family’s cooking traditions) to map out her dreams. Marcela eventually parlayed her classical training and ability to become a food editor at Bon Appétit magazine.

Andrew Zimmern is a James Beard Award-winning TV personality, chef, food writer, teacher and is regarded as one of the most versatile and knowledgeable personalities in the food world. As the creator, host and co-executive Andrew Zimmernproducer of Travel Channel’s hit series, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, he travels the globe, exploring food in its own terroir.

In May 2010, Zimmern won the prestigious James Beard Award for ‘Outstanding Television Food Personality.’ He is a three-time Beard Award nominee.  Zimmern is a contributing editor at Food & Wine Magazine, an award-winning monthly columnist at Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine and a senior editor at Delta Sky Magazine. As a freelance journalist, his work has appeared in numerous national and international publications.

Bobby’s faithful (and scorching hot) sous chef Renee Forsberg joined him.  Renee and Marcella on his team?  Bobby Flay is one lucky man.  Battle: Sea Whistle Salmon should be fun.

Check below for the outcome.

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Flay/Vallodolid            Morimoto/Zimmern
Taste: 27                          Taste: 25
Plating: 11                        Plating: 14
Originality: 13                   Originality: 11
Total: 51                           Total: 50

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

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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