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ICA: Symon vs. Izard

symon banner ICA: Symon vs. NunezIron Chef Michael Symon faces off against challenger Stephanie Izard. Chef Izard, a James Beard Award nominee and Top Chef winner, is chef and owner of Girl & The Goat in Chicago. The Judges are Anthony Anderson, Karine Bakhoum and David Rocco (be sure to check out my exclusive interview with David HERE).

Stephanie IzardStephanie Izard is no stranger to anyone who follows cheflebrities.  She was the winner of Bravo’s Top Chef 4.  Today she is easily the most accomplished and successful TC winner.

After graduating from the Le Cordon Bleu program at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, Chef Izard worked at the Camelback Inn Resort & Spa, as well as a couple other restaurants, but then made the very spur-of-the-moment decision to pack up and move to Chicago in 2001. She’s been in love with the city ever since. After landing in Chicago, Stephanie got a gig as garde manger at Jean-George Vongerichten’s Chicago outpost of Vong.

After leaving Vong, Steph worked as a roundsman at Spring under Shawn McClain and then sous chef at La Tache with Dale Levitsky. In 2006, she branched out on her own with the Bucktown restaurant Scylla, which was quickly named one of the 10 best restaurants in the country by Bon Appetit. Being both owner and chef of her own place was a huge learning experience, but she opted to close in 2008.

That’s when she appeared on Top Chef, after which Izard assembled a team to open Girl & The Goat in Chicago’s West Loop.  Food Network Star finalist and good friend Judson Allen assures me that Girl & The Goat is in his opinion the best restaurant in the Windy City.  The lady can bring it.

Top Chef vs. Iron Chef. Izard vs. Symon.  This should be one for the ages.  Be sure to check out my exclusive interview with Iron Chef Symon HERE.

Check below for the outcome.

 

Symon Izard
Taste 27 27
Originality 14 12
Plating 15 13
Total 56 52

ICA: Forgione Brothers vs. Campanaro Brothers

forbanner ICA: Forgione vs. Curtin

Two teams of culinary brothers meet in Kitchen Stadium. Iron Chef Marc Forgione teams up with his brother, Bryan, to face off against Challenger Joey Campanaro and his brother Lou. Joey Campanaro makes his second appearance in Kitchen Stadium, having previously been bested by Iron Chef Cat Cora in Battle Venison. Judges are Cady Huffman, Mario Rizzotti and Anya Fernald.

Joey Campanaro was raised in an Italian-American household in Philadelphia where the food of his childhood inspired him to make cooking his vocation.  With a culinary approach firmly rooted in his Campanero BrothersItalian grandmother’s kitchen and honed in a range of America’s top restaurants, Joey brings a lifelong affinity for Mediterranean cuisine to every dish he creates.

Lou Campanaro has always loved his family and loved to cook.  At his new Philadelphia restaurant, Village Belle, he gets to incorporate those two things into his daily life, working in the kitchen alongside his brother Joey.  Leo was also on Joey’s last team to enter Kitchen Stadium.

Bryan Forgione is the son of one of America’s great chefs, Larry Forgione – the godfather of modern American cuisine.  Bryan is also the little brother of Iron Chef Marc Forgione who earned his title by winning Next Iron Chef 3.  The younger Forgione is also the executive chef at Society Café Encore in Las Vegas so he’s no slouch either.

This battle of the brothers should prove interesting with a secret ingredient like parmigiana reggiano.  If you haven’t yet, make sure you check out my exclusive interview with Iron Chef Marc Forgione (HERE).

Check below for the outcome.

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Forgiones           Campanaros
Taste: 25                Taste: 21
Plating: 13              Plating: 12
Originality: 15         Originality: 10
Total: 53                 Total: 43

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: Flay vs. Knibb

Iron Chef Bobby FlayWest coast chef, Jason Knibb challenges Bobby Flay to a special seafood showdown. Whose cuisine will reign supreme?

Chef Jason KnibbJason Knibb is the executive chef at NINE-TEN in La Jolla, CA and has been since 2003.  Prior to that the Jamaican born chef was the executive chef at Robert Redford’s Sundance Village where he oversaw all food & beverage operations located on the resort property, including the Foundry Grill and the renowned Tree Room restaurant. Knibb started his career working with Wolfgang Puck at L.A.‘s Eureka restaurant.

Chef Knibb has also logged time in the kitchens of Yamaguchi, Tournant and Rockenwagner.  His career has seen him work in Hawaii, Poland, Southern California and he was even profiled on Bobby Flay’s “Food Nation – Best of Utah” episode.  In 2009 Knibb was inducted into the San Diego Chef Hall of Fame – he was one of the first three chefs to be inducted.

Waiting for Knibb in Kitchen Stadium is Iron Chef Bobby Flay and his team of haute hotties Rene Forsberg and Christine Sanchez.  In 2007 I interviewed Bobby for ‘Zalea Magazine.  You probably can’find a copy of that issue anymore but you can enjoy the interview in my Kindle single Dinner Conversations: 39 Interviews with America’s Favorite Culinary Movers and Shakers.

The judges for Battle: Caviar were Cady Huffman, Simon Majumdar and Laura Calder.

Check below for the outcome.

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Flay                   Knibb
Taste: 19                Taste: 14
Plating: 12              Plating: 12
Originality: 13        Originality: 11
Total: 44                 Total: 38

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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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