Last night’s battle in Kitchen Stadium was Michael Symon’s first as an Iron Chef and it was a doozy. The challenger? Ricky Moore of Agraria, which, as near as we can tell is some sort of haute barnyard restaurant in DC. In a result that surprised no one, Symon’s cuisine reigned supreme, but the challenger put up a hell of a fight. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
•This episode was the annual Iron Chef Fall Classic, during which the Chairman chooses a traditional autumn ingredient as the secret ingredient. Far and away, the episode’s highlight was a montage of the Chairman announcing past Fall Classic secret ingredients, to wit: “APPLES!” “TURKEY” and “squuaaaaaash.”
•Last night’s secret ingredient? Thanksgiving. Oh, we’re sorry. We meant “ThaaaaanksGIVING!” The secret ingredient table was piled high with fixings for a Thanksgiving dinner: turkey, apples, pumpkins, potatoes, etc. This is, as secret ingredients go, pretty dumb, a fact which Alton Brown did not seem particularly interested in hiding, although it did give him an excuse to discuss what was and was not eaten at the first Thanksgiving in great detail.
•The secondary highlight of the episode? The whiplash sound effects that occur every time the Chairman moves his head.
•We are unapologetic in our Michael Symon fandom and are not ashamed to admit that we cheered a little when he appeared in his new Iron Chef uniform, even if the turtleneck made him look like the captain of some (admittedly badass) chess club. During the cooking, Alton commented “I have to say, this is the first time I’ve ever seen Michael Symon in long sleeves.” Symon responded with a cheery “It’s killing me!”
•The dishes themselves looked marvelous on both sides. As we’ve mentioned before, we hate turkey. Even we, however, were very interested in Moore’s hot-sauce-marinated deep-fried turkey, as well as his potato/turnip puree and his bacon-wrapped loins of venison. On the Iron Chef’s side, our favorite dish was undoubtedly the “turducken”: potatoes topped with a poached duck egg, pureed chicken livers, and turkey cracklings.
•The judging panel was unusually strong: Ted Allen, Alex Guarnaschelli (of New York’s Butter) and Jeffrey Steingarten. Serious eaters, all. (NB: That should not be confused with Serious Eatsers, although for the record, we totally think Ed Levine should be a judge.)
•This is probably the last recap we’ll write until another Boston chef shows up on Iron Chef America, but it has been a pleasure large enough to redeem The Next Food Network Star. Thanks, Iron Chef!
Iron Chef America [Food Network]