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ICA: Cora vs. Carter

NewICAHeader ICA: Morimoto vs. Tila

Chef Robert Carter enters Kitchen Stadium from his hometown of Charleston, SC, the “best-mannered city” in the US. Will he walk away from his battle with Iron Chef Cat Cora a gracious winner or a sore loser?

Southern by the grace of God, Chef Robert Carter started his culinary voyage in Charleston, SC back in the late 80’s when he attended Johnson & Wales University.  That’s the same Robert Cartercampus that gave us Emeril Legasse and Tyler Florence.  Chef Robert funded his matriculation by working as a private chef for one of those old school aristocratic Southern families.  So popular was his cooking that he parlayed that into a one-man catering company he called Rent-a-Chef.

After graduation, Carter apprenticed under certified master chef Victor Gielisse of Dallas.  Before long he was on everyone’s short list including one of the most revered restaurants in the country The Inn at Blackberry Farm in the Smokie Mountains of East Tennessee where he would serve as executive chef.  That is until leaving for Key West’s Café Marquessa.

Deep down inside he wanted to go back home to Charleston and as Bear Bryant once said, “When mama calls. . . .”  In 1997 he opened The Peninsula Grill with Hank Holliday which Esquire promptly named one of the Best New Restaurants of the Year.  The accolades have flowed in ever since.

Waiting for Chef Carter is Kitchen Stadium’s resident Southern Belle, Cat Cora.  Two questions loom over this battle – who’s cuisine reigns supreme and is this Cora’s last battle as an Iron Chef?

The judges for Battle: Okra were Anya Fernald, Lee Jones and Karine Bakhoum.

Check below for the outcome.

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Cora                  Carter
Taste: 23                Taste: 21
Plating: 13              Plating: 10
Originality: 13        Originality: 13
Total: 51                 Total: 44

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

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.

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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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