John Curtas

ICA: Forgione vs. Curtin

Iron Chef Marc Forgione

After a handful of holiday themed battles between Iron Chefs we return to the familiar format.  This time, Iron Chef Marc Forgione battles young New York-based chef Nick Curtin in Kitchen Stadium.

Nick Curtin Iron Chef AmericaThe story on challenger Nick Curtin is brief.  The one adjective that seems to always accompany his name is “young.”  Curtin was, for a while, the head chef at Compose in New York’s TriBeCa neighborhood.  The chef (23) teamed up with 25-year-old manager Eamon Rockey for a ballsy concept at Compose – a mandatory 10-course tasting menu, serving no more than 12 people a night.  Thanks to Curtin’s creativity it worked.

But in June Chef Curtin announced his departure from Compose saying, “I decided it’s time to pursue another type of project, some place with a larger kitchen, a place that would allow me to experience the growth I want.”  A disciple  of Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Curtin worked for the legendary chef at Perry St.  Chef Nick also spent time in the kitchen of René Redzepi at Noma in Copenhagen – the same Noma that recently supplanted el Bulli as the world’s best restaurant.  He was also part of the staff at Eleven Madison Park which Frank Bruni described as “alluring and impressive.”

Tonight the “young” chef Curtin battles the youngest Iron Chef, Marc Forgione.  Although Chelsea Market is only about two and a half miles from TriBeCa, Compose is a world away from Kitchen Stadium.  Be sure to check out my interview with Iron Chef Marc Forgione (HERE).

The judges for Battle: Tilapia were Julie White, John Curtas and Candice Kumai.

Check below for the outcome.

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Forgione            Curtin
Taste: 26                Taste: 22
Plating: 13              Plating: 14
Originality: 13        Originality: 13
Total: 52                 Total: 49

ICA: Garces vs Solomonov – Outcome

NewICAHeader ICA: Forgione vs Cantrel   Outcome

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

There were four judges for Battle: Passion Fruit – Michael Ruhlman, Bal Arneson, John Curtas and Lee Schrager.

Garces                          Solomonov
Taste: 37                      Taste: 30
Plating: 18                    Plating:  16
Originality: 20               Originality: 13
Total: 75                       Total: 59

Next time Jose Garces vs. Julian Medina.

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ICA: Garces vs Solomonov

NewICAHeader ICA: Forgione vs Cantrel

Well season 9 is in full swing now and the battles just keep getting better.  This week Chef Michael Solomonov ventures into Kitchen Stadium to battle Iron Chef Jose Garces.  I wonder what the Chairman has up his sleeve for this one?

Chef Michael Solomonov was born in Isreal but now lives in Garces’ hometown of Philadelphia.  So I guess this is a brotherly love smack down.  What are the chances the secret ingredient is cheese steak?  Probably not.

Michael SolomonovSolomonov has quite the resume.  He is a graduate of the Florida Culinary Institute in West Palm Beach.  After working at various well respected restaurants around the country he found himself a sous chef at Vetri who’s owner Marc Vetri just tasted victory in Kitchen Stadium a few months ago himself.  After that he was the executive chef at Marigold Kitchen, a BYOB eatery in West Philly.  Recently Esquire Magazine named Solomonov’s Zahav one of the top 20 new restaurants in the nation.

In addition to heading the kitchen at Zahav, Solomonov also oversees two other restaurants Xochitl and Percy Street Barbecue as part of the Cook + Solo Restaurant Group that he started with friend and fellow chef Steven Cook.  While Zahav features cuisine from Solomonov’s homeland of Israel,  Xochitl is known for modern Mexican food. Percy Street Barbecue speaks for itself.

There were four judges for Battle: Passion Fruit – Michael Ruhlman, Bal Arneson, John Curtas and Lee Schrager.

Click HERE for the outcome.

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ICA: Symon vs. Adjey

According to Wikipedia David Adjey is, “a world renowned chef, consulting with many restaurants in Toronto and throughout North America. He is known for his appearances on the Food Network Canada show Restaurant Makeover, which is seen in over 16 countries worldwide and ran for seven seasons starting in 2005.”

Adjey helped kick off the 7th. season of Iron Chef America by taking on Michel Symon in Battle: Sturgeon.  The challenger made Carpaccio of Sturgeon, Sutrgeon chowder with Sturgeon lobster finger, Cedar-roasted Sturgeon, Bacon wrapped Sturgeon with collard greens and Smoked Sturgeon with Celery Root Hash.  Iron Chef Symon countered with Smoked Sturgeon Belly with Caviar, radish & lemon zest pancakes, Sutrgeon Puttanesca, Butter poached sturgeon with curried applesauce, Sturgeon with Lamb sausage and bean broth and Grilled Sturgeon with ragu.

The judges were Andrew Knowlton (Bon Appetit), John Curtas (Eating Las Vegas) and Steve Olsen (aka Wine Geek).  And the winner was (don’t scroll down if you don’t want to know) . . .

. . . a draw.

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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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