We know that it’s totally Iron Chef day here at MP: Boston, but we just got around to watching Sunday night’s episodes last night (thank you, DVR). In addition to our regularly scheduled Next Iron Chef viewing, we also checked out the most recent episode of Iron Chef America, featuring a battle between newly-minted Harvest chef Mary Dumont and Cat Cora. Girl on girl action, so to speak. Anyways, although Dumont sadly lost, we very much enjoyed the episode. Below, our thoughts:
•We realize that Dumont just started at Harvest a month or so ago, but we know for a fact that the episode taped on October 23, so why was her chef’s jacket from her former restaurant? Was it simply a desire to represent the Granite State? You’re a Bostonian now, Chef Dumont!
•As usual, the Chairman got the best line of the night: “Chef Dumont, you come to us from the rugged coast of New England, but are you ready for the raging storms of Kitchen Stadium?”
•The secret ingredients were milk and cream. A fun fact from Alton Brown: whole milk only has 3.5% fat, but some of the creams presented in Kitchen Stadium had as much as 30-40% fat. The milks and creams were presented in a variety of bottles that were reminiscent of everything from candlesticks to bongs.
•Dumont’s sous chefs were her brother Daniel of Wentworth Dining Room and Ben Hasty, the Dunaway Restaurant’s current chef.
•No matter how many times we watch Iron Chef, the flurry of activity in Kitchen Stadium takes our breath away. We freak out if we don’t make a detailed plan before a dinner party, so we’re very much in awe.
•What’s up with Food Network personalities looking like dudes on The Hills? If Alton Brown doesn’t shave soon, he’s going to start looking like America’s Enemy Spencer Pratt.
•The judges were Ted Allen, Food & Wine Editor-in-Chief Dana Cowin (who, by the by, we would like to be when we grow up), and actress Julie White, who recently won a Tony for her supremely excellent portrayal of a talent agent in The Little Dog Laughed. We love Julie White, but food is clearly not her milieu, and she was one step away from being one of the starlets on the Japanese version of Iron Chef who say things like “I never knew you could do so much with fermented bean curd!”
•This is the first time we’ve ever seen a Cora battle and we must admit we were a little skeptical, because girlfriend has never had a restaurant. After watching, however, we suspect that she’s a little bit awesome, even if we do wish she had more experience under her belt. She seems like a great leader, always checking on her teammates, and her food (especially the milk and cookies) looked great.
•Dumont completely rocked it with most of her dishes. We’re going to spend a good long time thinking about her pate au choux mussel beignets and we would kill for the recipe to her creamy mussel soup. Her flan, however, looked a bit weak (prompting Cowin to remark “I like a sort of buxom flan”) and overall, her plating didn’t seem to be as strong as Cora’s. She was more than a worthy competitor, however, and seemed to be having a great time.
•We leave you with a truism for Ted Allen that surely would have been the quote of the night if the Chairman weren’t so exceedingly awesome: “Bacon is nature’s perfect food…everyone loves bacon, even vegans.” So true, Ted. So true.
[Photo: Winter Wine Festival]