danyelle freeman

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

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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