ICA: Morimoto vs. Martin

Iron Chef Masaharu MorimotoChef Dena Marino, born and raised in a huge Italian family in New Jersey. She was brought up on a steady diet of pizza, pasta, and sausage. Leaving New Jersey for the Culinary Institute of America, she currently heads the kitchen at Ellina in Aspen, Colorado, where she interprets modern and classic Italian cuisine. Now, she’ll draw knives with the dean of the Iron Chefs, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto.

Dena MarinoWith the knowledge she gained cooking alongside her grandmother, Dena left for Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. She graduated to a job at Caesar’s Palace Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. Three years later, on a visit to San Francisco, Dena traveled to the Napa Valley’s Tra Vigne to sample the creations of Chef Michael Chiarello. In him she found a culinary soul mate; she finagled a job and soon became the restaurant’s sous chef. After three and a half years with Chiarello, Dena was offered the position of Chef at the Ajax Tavern in Aspen.

Marino’s Menu:
Fig & Ahi Crudo
Fig & Pancetta Stuffed Quail Over Gnocchi
Red Trout with Fig Marmelatta
Fig Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
Fig Panna Cotta

Iron Chef’s Menu:
Fig Hassun (Chili Fig, Nama-Fu, Fig & Beef Tartare, and Fig Martini)
Steamed Bun with Pork & Fig
Fig Carpaccio
Wagyu Fig Wellington with Eel Over Rice
Selection of Fig Desserts (Cappuccino with Fig Creme, Fig Burrito, and Fig Doriyaki)

The judges for Battle: Fig were Andrew Knowlton, Danyelle Freeman and Jeffrey Steingarten.

Check below for the outcome.

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Morimoto           Marino
Taste: 24                Taste: 21
Plating: 12              Plating: 10
Originality: 13        Originality: 10
Total: 49                 Total: 41

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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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