ica

ICA: Zakarian vs. Gallante

zacbanner ICA: Zakarian vs. SchenkerIron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian faces off against challenger Shea Gallante, who is the executive chef at Ciano in New York. The judges for Battle: Pasta are Michael Ruhlman, Candice Kumai and Martin Yan.

Chef Shea GallanteGallante has been wearing a chefs apron from the early age of 14 where he jump started his career and fascination for Italian cooking at a local pizza shop in Upstate New York. It wasn’t long before his hunger for the restaurant world had him enrolling in the Culinary Institute of America, after which he knew his quest would to one day own his own restaurant in New York City. His first job after the CIA was with Pino Luongo at Coco Opera near Lincoln Center. After two years training under him, Gallante began working with the famed Lidia Bastianich at Felidia and was quickly promoted to sous-chef after demonstrating to her his passion for the type of cooking that earned Felidia three stars. After this, Gallante was recruited by David Bouley, whom he credits as the person who has had the most profound effect on his career to date, to work at his eponymous restaurant Bouley. Gallante spent four years working with Bouley before moving on to Cru, where during his time as executive chef the restaurant received three stars in the New York Times by then reviewer Frank Bruni, a Michelin Star, three stars in New York Magazine by Adam Platt and Gallante was also named one of the Best New Chefs in 2005 by Food & Wine.

Chef Shea Gallante has landed back in the New York City dining scene, this time to open a place he can call his own. Having partnered with Philippe Chow principle Stratis Morfogen, Gallante has now signed on as Executive Chef/Co-Owner of Ciano (45 East 22nd Street, New York, NY 10010), a new, seasonal ingredient driven casual and atmospheric Italian restaurant in the former Beppe space in the Flatiron District.

Chef Gallante has a very impressive resume but so does Iron Chef Zakarian.

Check below for the outcome.

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Zakarian Gallante
Taste 25 26
Originality 11 14
Plating 14 13
Total 50 53

ICA: Forgione vs. Zimmerman

forbanner ICA: Forgione vs McClain

Iron Chef Marc Forgione faces off against challenger Andrew Zimmerman, executive chef at Sepia in Chicago. Judges for Battle: Cream Cheese are Mario Rizzotti, Alison Sweeney and Jason Sobocinski.

Andrew Zimmerman SepiaGrowing up in New York in the ‘80’s, Andrew Zimmerman’s childhood goal was to be a rock star. He pursued music into his early 20’s, supporting his dream by working in local restaurant kitchens. Over the years, he realized that he was a better cook than musician, and that his true calling was in the kitchen. He worked for nearly three years under Renato Sommelia, whom he cites as one of his strongest culinary mentors, and then enrolled in the prestigious French Culinary Institute. Zimmerman graduated first in his class in 2000 and never looked back.

After three years working on the East Coast, Zimmerman was ready to make a move. Drawn to Chicago by the abundance of world-class restaurants, he accepted a position at the Park Hyatt Chicago working alongside Sandro Gamba. In 2004, he met restaurateur Terry Alexander, who hired him as Executive Chef at MOD. From there, the duo opened widely acclaimed del Toro.  Zimmerman followed that up with a stop at NoMI where he met restaurateur Emmanuel Nony, and the following year, Nony offered Zimmerman the executive chef position at Sepia.

Zimmerman’s cuisine at Sepia blends rustic and contemporary styles, with flavors influenced primarily by the Mediterranean and France. His food is direct and seasonally based, utilizing product from local and regional farms whenever possible. Under Zimmerman’s direction, Sepia received a sought-after star rating from the Michelin Guide in 2010.

Chef Zimmerman’s reputation is indeed impressive but so is Iron Chef Marc Forgione.

Check below for the outcome.

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Forgione Zimmerman
Taste 23 23
Originality 12 14
Plating 12 12
Total 47 49

ICA: Symon vs. Izard

symon banner ICA: Symon vs. NunezIron Chef Michael Symon faces off against challenger Stephanie Izard. Chef Izard, a James Beard Award nominee and Top Chef winner, is chef and owner of Girl & The Goat in Chicago. The Judges are Anthony Anderson, Karine Bakhoum and David Rocco (be sure to check out my exclusive interview with David HERE).

Stephanie IzardStephanie Izard is no stranger to anyone who follows cheflebrities.  She was the winner of Bravo’s Top Chef 4.  Today she is easily the most accomplished and successful TC winner.

After graduating from the Le Cordon Bleu program at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, Chef Izard worked at the Camelback Inn Resort & Spa, as well as a couple other restaurants, but then made the very spur-of-the-moment decision to pack up and move to Chicago in 2001. She’s been in love with the city ever since. After landing in Chicago, Stephanie got a gig as garde manger at Jean-George Vongerichten’s Chicago outpost of Vong.

After leaving Vong, Steph worked as a roundsman at Spring under Shawn McClain and then sous chef at La Tache with Dale Levitsky. In 2006, she branched out on her own with the Bucktown restaurant Scylla, which was quickly named one of the 10 best restaurants in the country by Bon Appetit. Being both owner and chef of her own place was a huge learning experience, but she opted to close in 2008.

That’s when she appeared on Top Chef, after which Izard assembled a team to open Girl & The Goat in Chicago’s West Loop.  Food Network Star finalist and good friend Judson Allen assures me that Girl & The Goat is in his opinion the best restaurant in the Windy City.  The lady can bring it.

Top Chef vs. Iron Chef. Izard vs. Symon.  This should be one for the ages.  Be sure to check out my exclusive interview with Iron Chef Symon HERE.

Check below for the outcome.

 

Symon Izard
Taste 27 27
Originality 14 12
Plating 15 13
Total 56 52

ICA: Zakarian vs. Schenker

zacbanner ICA: Zakarian vs. FerraroIron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian faces off against chef Jesse Schenker, chef and owner of Recette in New York. Judges are Julie White, Art Smith and Anya Fernald.

Jesse SchenkerChef Jesse Schenker manipulates ingredients and temperature to create maximum flavor.   He went for his Culinary Degree at the Atlantic Technical Center in Coconut Creek, Fla. During that time, he gained his first professional kitchen experience at Cafe Maxx, guided by Chef Oliver Saucy. From there, he became the Chef de Partie at Chef Mark Militello’s James Beard award-winning restaurant, Mark’s on Las Olas and then onto Sous Chef at Fort Lauderdale’s celebrated Italian restaurant Rino’s Restaurante.

With experience under his belt, Jesse moved to Miami to become Sous Chef at the upscale wine bar, City Cellar Wine Bar and Grille.  After wowing the best culinary cities of Florida, it was time to take on the challenge of wowing foodies in the Big Apple. Jesse was offered a position as Chef de Partie at the two-Michelin-star rated Gordon Ramsay at the London.  He launched his own venture, Recette Private Dining and teamed up with Savoy Bakery owner Brian Ghaw and Per Se pastry alum Christina Lee, and created up to ten-course tasting menus for exclusive private parties.

Chef Schenker is a talented chef but so is the newest Iron Chef.  The Technician is sure to be ready for the challenge in Battle: Plantains.

Check below for the outcome.

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Zakarian Schenker
Taste 25 25
Plating 13 14
Originality 14 14
Total 52 53

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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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