10.15.2007

Next Iron Chef: Flat Foam Episode

Spoilers ahead ...

I'm sorry to see the ladies be the first ones sent home, but so it goes in the world of macho food competition. Chef Jill Davie packed her knives (oh, wait, wrong chef show) and went home, which means our man Morou is still in it to win it.

The second episode of Food Network's "The Next Iron Chef" aired last night and tested simplicity and innovation. In the first test, the contestants were asked to create a one-bite dish that represented their culinary style. Chef John Besh, who won last week's challenge, got first dibs on ingredients but confidently leveled the playing field by giving up his chance to rush the food table. In what might be the silliest part of the show, the chefs have to fight it out at the table (tiny Davie all but got trampled) leaving Michael Symon and Morou in a tug-of-war battle over a long piece of lamb.

Chef Aaron Sanchez nearly pitched a fit when time ran out and he wasn't allowed to finish his shrimp dish. The chefs judged one another, and Symon took the win with his lamb tartare. (Symon won that lamb tug-of-war.) Morou's sweet paprika cured duck breast with duck broth and duck skin salad seemed to go over well with the other contestants, for what it's worth.

Things got more interesting in the second test, which had the chefs facing the toys and tools of molecular gastronomy — like liquid nitrogen, methylcellulose, the "anti-griddle" and the smoking gun — to create two small innovative dishes. Morou (pictured above) was unfazed: "I am not scared, guys. I'm not." Symon, on the other hand, proudly admitted, "I don't know what any of this shit is." WD-50's Wylie Dufresne and PolyScience's Philip Preston coached the contestants and then set them loose.

Though his dishes (lobster sashimi, pickled plum and ginger caviar; braised beef cheeks with sweetbread puree) ultimately didn't impress the judges, Morou shined in this challenge. It's hard to tell with reality show editing — hell, Symon could be the next Ferran Adria — but most chefs seemed to be haphazardly sprinkling chemicals into purees and emulsions, creating some sadly deflated foams. Morou stood out by using a sophisticated spherification technique to create tiny rounds of ginger "caviar."

But it was Chris Cosentino, none too happy about having to work with the molecular tools, who won the challenge thanks to his playful saor "shaving cream" on a razor clam.

Host Alton Brown told Morou at the show's end, "You might turn things up a little bit, lest you be the next homeward bound." For the DC fan club, let's hope the Farrah Olivia chef brings his A-game next week.

For last week's recap, click here.

Watched the show? Who's your money on?

4 comments:

bettyjoan said...

I tuned in about halfway through, and I can't believe I missed Wylie Dufresne! He's one of my absolute faves...

BUT, I do love me some Morou--and I think he'll stick around for a while. If I had to guess, the final three will be Morou (he's got so much heart, and his plating is spectacular), John Besh (he's THAT good), and Michael Symon (the dark horse to win).

Despite it's cheesiness, I love seeing these famous chefs get flustered and giggly and sweaty. :-)

Amanda said...

I'm completely with you on the final three, though I think Aaron Sanchez could mix it up and knock either Michael or Morou out. I think Besh is the man to beat. (Sweat and all.)

David said...

It is so tough to analyze this show. They show very little of the judging (i.e., evaluation of the dishes as they are eaten) and very little of the feedback (i.e., telling the contestants what was good and what was not and why). Instead, the Food Network shows what must be the longest "coming up" previews at each commercial break in the history of TV (not to mention loooong commercial breaks).

OK - enough complaining. Besh has started strong and is getting a ton of TV time (remember, the editing was done by editors who know who wins); Symon could do well and has an advantage in having Cleveland guy Rulon (forgot the first name) on the panel; finally, Morou could do well but it seems like he is rushing more than he needs to. If he can slow down, he might win.

Jason said...

I've still got my hopes up for Morou, but he's really got to step it up for me to think he's got a chance. I really like John Besh, and I personally think if he did win he'd be a great addition to the Iron Chef team. Chris and Michael are still both strong competitors though. I'm still not sure about Gaven. I think he could surprise us in the end. Aaron is the next out if you ask me. He's just not Iron Chef material.