Jennifer Baum

ICA: Symon vs. Vetri – Outcome

iron chef america, wannabe tv chef

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

The judges for Battle: Veal were Donatella Arpaia, Caleb Followill and Jennifer Baum.

Symon                         Vetri
Taste: 23                     Taste: 24
Plating: 12                    Plating:  14
Originality: 12               Originality: 13
Total: 47                      Total: 51

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ICA: Symon vs. Vetri

iron chef america, wannabe tv chef

Marc Vetri totes a heavy resume.  An apprenticeship in the old country and a truck load of accolades have propelled him to the pinnacle of American chefs.  Now he is ready to take on the ultimate challenge, Iron Chef.

Marc Vetri on ICAChef Marc began his career working with the legendary Wolfgang Puck at Granita.  It was a time when California cuisine was engrossed in the fusion movement.  Vetri’s first experience cooking was with his Sicilian grandmother in Philadelphia and he longed for the classic Italian food of his youth.  Soon he found himself at the foot of the Alps in Bergamo, Italy where he toiled under some of Lombardy’s most noteworthy chefs.  There he learned the basics like how to butcher meat, make prosciutto and roll fresh pastas.

Upon returning to the states Vetri started making the rounds of some of the great Italian eateries in New York like Coco Pazzo and Bella Blu. Thanks to Vetri, Bella Blu was named “Best New Restaurant” by New York Magazine in 1996.  Eventually he left the Big Apple to return home where he opened his own restaurant, Vetri,  a small, intimate venue with a relaxed atmosphere in Philadelphia’s Center City.

Since opening the doors of Vetri, Chef Marc’s star has been on the rise.  In 1999 Food & Wine named him one of America’s top ten new chefs, 2001 the New York Times called him one of the most admired young chefs in Philadelphia, in ’04 Zagat declared him a culinary genius, he was nominated for a James Beard Award in both 2003 and 2004 and brought home the Beard in 2005.  In 2008 he published his long awaited first cookbook II Viaggio Di Vetri: A Culinary Journey (available at amazon) and he has also opened a second restaurant, Osteria with partners Jeff Michaud and Jeff Benjamin.

Now he prepares to do battle in Kitchen Stadium against the toughest Iron Chef, Michael Symon.  Symon’s 82.5% winning percentage is tops among all current Iron Chefs.  In his 20 previous matches the Iron Chef has only tasted defeat three times.  Can Chef Marc Vetri make it four?

The judges for Battle: Veal were Donatella Arpaia, Caleb Followill and Jennifer Baum.

Click HERE for the outcome.

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ICA: Garces vs Yang

Tonight sees the debut of Next Iron Chef winner Jose Garces.  Garces beat out nine other prominent chefs last summer to take the highly coveted spot in the “veritable pantheon” that is Kitchen Stadium.  Garces is actually 2-0 in Kitchen Stadium after defeating Iron Chef Bobby Flay in 2008 and edging Chef Jehangir Mehta in the NIC finale last year.

The Iron Chef’s first opponent is no “Glass Joe”.  Rachel Yang of Seattle’s popular Joule has worked for the likes of Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller and Alain Ducasse.  It was while working for the latter at the Essex House in New York that Chef Yang met her future husband and Joule co-owner Seif Chirchi.  Chirchi will be serving his wife in the battle as sous chef.  Yang’s style is a fusion a Korean and classic French cuisine.

Of Ecuadoran descent, Iron Chef Garces was born and raised in Chicago.  However, today he makes his home in Philadelphia where he is the creative force behind five restaurants that explore various Latin cuisines from the Basque region (Tinto) to Mexico’s interior (Distrito) to Chifa which is both a Latin-Asian fusion cuisine popular in Peru and the name of the restaurant.  Garces also guides the kitchen at Mercat a la Planxa, a Catalan restaurant in Chicago.

Garces’ first restaurant, Amada (an authentic Andalusian tapas bar) opened in 2005.  2008 was a very busy year.  Not only did he appear on Iron Chef but he also published his first cookbook, Latin Evolution.  Additionally, two of his restaurants (Distrito, Mercat a la Planxa) were named to Esquire Magazine’s list of the 20 Best New Restaurants.  In just five years, Garces has gone from rookie restaurateur to Iron Chef.

The judges for the episode are PR magnate Jennifer Baum, restaurateur  and general hottie Donatella Arpaia, and legendary chef Jose Andres.  The theme ingredient was a Hawaiian moi.

donatella arpaiajennifer baum

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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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