Nina Griscom

ICA: Flay vs. Staib

NewICAHeader ICA: Cora vs. Carter

Philadelphia’s Walter Staib is a German-trained chef with a passion for food history. Will his battle against Iron Chef Flay go down in history as a thrilling victory or a crushing defeat?

Walter StaibChef Walter Staib is one of the most decorated chefs in America.  He’s been bringing home the hardware since the mid 1980′s and is still going strong, three awards already this year.  He’s been cooking professionally since taking his first job in 1960.  In the strictest European tradition it was an apprenticeship at the historic five-star Hotel Post in the Black Forest near Nagold, Germany.  Still in operation today, the hotel has played host to world leaders dating back to Napoleon Bonaparte.

Chef Staib made the rounds in Europe working in other restaurants in Germany as well as Switzerland, before taking his first US post at Chicago’s Mid America Club in 1969 and so on and so forth to England, Thailand, Brazil, France.  In 1989 he added hospitality consultant to his resume when he launched Concepts By Staib, Ltd.  Today he commands the kitchen at City Tavern Restaurant in Philadelphia and is the host of the Emmy winning A Taste of History.  He recently became an author with the publication of The City Tavern Cookbook: karRecipes from the Birthplace of American Cuisine.

Chef Staib’s vaunted career has taken him all over the world spanning four continents but Kitchen Stadium is a different animal for there awaits Iron Chef Bobby Flay.  The judges for Battle: Short Ribs were Karine Bakhoum, Cady Huffman, John T Edge and Nina Griscom.

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Flay                   Staib
Taste: 34                Taste: 23
Plating: 17              Plating: 11
Originality: 18        Originality: 11
Total: 69                 Total: 45

ICA: Cora vs. Kostow

After last week’s battle of the salads between Morimoto and Amanda Cohen hopefully there will be some meat on the menu in the second-to-last ICA of season 8.  With Cora doing battle this week, we once again are left wondering Where’s Jose Garces?

Chef Cora’s challenger this week is rising star chef Christopher Kostow.  Oddly enough, Kostow has a full bio on the Food Network web site, a rarity for a one time challenger.  Could there be something in the works?

Christopher Kostow on WannabeTVchef.comWho could blame the Network for wanting to enlist Kostow after the hullabaloo surrounding the talented young chef the past few years.  A Michelin-starred chef by age 30, Chef Christopher was named to Food & Wine‘s list of Top Ten Dishes of the Year in 2007 and San Francisco Chronicle named Christopher a 2008 Rising Star Chef.  It was also in 2008 that he arrived at The Restaurant at Meadowwood in Napa Valley after a lofty and unconventional journey.

Rather than spending years shut away in some culinary school, Kostow opted to instead earn his way to chef by working at some of the most notable restaurants in the world.  He got his education old school when he left his hometown of Chicago to work for the likes of Trey Foshee and Daniel Humm.  Afterwards he did the rounds throughout France to learn the tricks of the trade in traditional French bistros.

Kostow describes his approach, “I embrace food memories — traditional combinations that work together — and then distill those flavors into something that is very much different, and very much stands on its own.”  Cat Cora has created a few food memories herself.

The judges for Battle: Oatmeal were Liliana Cavendish, Ryan D’Agostino and Nina Griscom.  There was also a Top Chef sighting as both competitors had sous chefs from that “other cooking contest” in tow, Richard Blais and Ed Cotton.

Click HERE for the outcome.

If you haven’t already please check out the interview of Cat Cora done recently by Lindsay Mott of MS Digital Daily.

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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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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

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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