Iron Chef Morimoto

ICA: Symon vs. Okuwa

An amazing match-up for this 4th of July. This week’s challenger is Chef Makoto Okuwa who ventures into the unfriendly confines of Kitchen Stadium to take on Iron Chef Michael Symon.  Now generally Kitchen Stadium is a place of intimidation for a challenger but not for Okuwa-San, he ran the sushi bar at Morimoto, New York having  spent years as a sous chef of Iron Chef Morimoto including 13 battles with the dean of Iron Chefs.

makoto okuwa on wannabetvchef.comChef Makoto began his career in Japan at the age of 15.  After years of perfecting his art he immigrated to the US where he worked at the famed Washington DC sushi bar, Sushi Taro.  It was while working in the nation’s capital that he first caught the eye of Iron Chef Morimoto who soon recruited the young chef to join him at the Morimoto flagship in Philadelphia.  When his mentor opened his second restaurant in New York’s Meatpacking District he tapped Okuwa to oversee the sushi menu.

Today Makoto-San balances the traditions of Japanese cuisine with the sophistication and flash demanded from American diners at his own restaurant Sashi in Manhattan Beach, California.  It is at Sashi where the apprentice has become master and asserted his independence by asking himself each morning, “What’s possible?”  This Independence Day he collides head first with the bold new American flavors of Iron Chef Michael Symon.  This battle has all the trappings of a culinary Rube Goldberg Machine.  The episode airs tonight at 10pm/9c.

The judges for Battle: Uni (sea urchin) are Nina Griscom, Sam Haskell and Tia Carrere.

Click HERE for the outcome.

ICA: Symon vs. Okuwa – Outcome

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

Judges for Battle: Uni (sea urchin) were Nina Griscom, Sam Haskell and Tia Carrere.

Symon           Okuwa
Taste: 30        Taste: 19
Plating: 13       Plating: 12
Originality: 13  Originality: 12
Total: 56         Total: 43

If you haven’t yet, check out my exclusive interview with Iron Chef Michael Symon.

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ICA Morimoto vs. Zakarian

You’ve seen Geoffrey Zakarian as a judge on Chopped. You’ve seen him helping out on Hell’s Kitchen. You have seen Zakarian as a judge on Top Chef. Now you will see him like you’ve never seen him before, as a contestant. And not in some lame culinary free-for-all where the challenge often fails to identify the best chef (see above) but in the only chef competition on TV that pits two chefs in a one-on-one cooking competition, Iron Chef America.

Of late Zakarian has been seen on every major cooking show on TV and he has released a cookbook, Geoffrey Zakarian’s Town/Country: 150 Recipes for Life Around the Table.  As a result, Zakarian has all but abandoned professional cooking of late, but when he enters Kitchen Stadium Iron Chef Morimoto will be waiting for him.  You have to admire Geoffrey for returning to the stove against an Iron Chef like Morimoto.  The question that remains – is he rusty?

Zakarian’s career has been a distinguished one.  After graduation from CIA he went from being a line cook (’82) to Chef de Cuisine (’87 ) at famed Le Cirque.  From there he took the same post at another legendary New York eatery, “21” Club.  In ’88 he was named the executive chef at Maxwell’s Plum where he stayed only months before moving to “44” Restaurant where he served as executive chef for the better part of a decade.  A brief stint in Miami brought him back to the Big Apple, this time as the chef/owner of Town which was soon followed by Country.

A native of Bordeaux, Zakarian pits his classic French cuisine against the new age Japanese style of Iron Chef Morimoto.  The judges were Anya Fernald, Danyelle Freeman and Donatella Arpaia.  After two weeks off, ICA returns with a true heavy weight battle.

SPOILER ALERT: Click HERE for the Outcome.

Geoffrey Zakarian’s Town/Country: 150 Recipes for Life Around the Table

ICA Morimoto vs. Zakarian – Outcome

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.

The judges were Anya Fernald, Danyelle Freeman and Donatella Arpaia.

Battle: Sardines

Morimoto              Zakarian
Taste: 28                Taste: 23
Plating: 14             Plating: 10
Originality: 15      Originality: 10
Total: 57                 Total: 43

Winner: Iron Chef Morimoto

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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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