Next Iron Chef Episode 6-UMAMI (Deliciousness)


next_iron_chef_silverWe are down to the final four contestants on The Next Iron Chef and our man Jose Garces has positioned him as the chef to beat. The contest moved to Japan this week and featured an appearance by Iron Chef Morimoto. This set of challenges focused around everyone’s new favorite culinary buzzword, Umami. Find out how it went down after the jump.

Test One-Deliciousness- Part 1

  • The final four chefs appear fresh faced and excited to be in Tokyo. They are taken to a Yakitori bar for their first test where they make 5 Umami rich skewers to be judged by Morimoto. They have a whole lineup of Kikkoman soy sauces to aid their savory quest.
  • Jose Garces started off with a Charred Tofu with Dashi Soy Clam Broth. He then moved into a very well balanced and umami Teriyaki Grilled Asparagus. This third dish consisted of a too savory Yuzu Glazed Cod with Pickled Cucumber. His fourth skewer held a Sesame Soy Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Broccoli and Grapes and went over best with Iron Chef Morimoto. Garces ended with Teriyaki Strawberries to round out his skewered meal.
  • The winner of the test was Jehangir Mehta. He started out with Marinated Leeks with Panko that could have been crunchier. But he redeemed himself with Yuzu Soy Clams with Sesame Seeds. His third skewer was Grilled Beef with Pepper and Soy was a beautiful representation of umami with the soy and savory fat of the beef. His most successful dish was probably Apples with Soy and Caramel. Morimoto liked the complement of soy and caramel Mehta also ended with strawberries in the form of Strawberries with Chocolate, Soy, and Chili.

Test Two- Deliciousness-Part 2

  • The second leg of the test featured Yukio Hattori, the original Iron Chef commentator, as guest judge. .
  • The chefs would be creating 5 dishes (Salty, Sour, Bitter, Sweet, Umami) to full a Bento Box with all each dish featuring rice in some capacity.
  • Garces’s Bento Box:
    • Bitter-Bitter Green and Black Rice Salad
    • Sour-Pickled Sardines with Pickled Vegetables.
    • Salty-Octopus Rice Cakes. Deemed “too salty” by the judges.
    • Umami-Pork Belly over congee and shiitake. Jeffrey Steingarten claimed he has eaten this before, so he wasn’t very impressed.
    • Sweet- Canela Rice Pudding and Raspberries
  • The only gripe about Garces’ dishes was that he didn’t vary rice preparations very much, other than that he was by far the strongest in this test and walked away with his second big win in a row.
  • The weakest Bento Box was judged to be Amanda Freitag’s:
    • Sour-Japanese Blue Fish in Yuzu Dashi Broth. Yukio Hattatori said this dish was “amazing”.
    • Umami-Kobe Beef Teriyaki with Red Rice and Shiitake. Freitag was criticized for using fresh shiitakes as opposed to the umami-packed dried version. Donatella Arpaia seemed to take serious issue with her mushroom being raw.
    • Salty-Sushi Rice Ball with Seaweed and Rice Cracker
    • Bitter-Tempura Radicchio and Prawns. The prawn took some of the bitterness out of this dish and made it a bit sweet for the purpose of this test.
    • Sweet-Black Sticky Rice and Fruit- “Delicious”-Hattori

Observations

-Ok, enough with the Kikkoman challenges. I get thirsty just watching them

-It appeared as if Yukio Hattori actually liked Chef Freitag’s dishes the most. You would think that he would carry some pull in a Japanese themed test.

– Chef Seamus Mullen will need his best performance next week if he wants to make it back to Kitchen Stadium. Otherwise a Garces-Mehta finale is inevitable. Chef Mehta seems to take the biggest risks each week, but they have worked up to this point Just one bad day can change everything.

-YouTube Find- Ran across this video of Chef Mehta making Chocolate Sticky Buns. David Katz of Meme can also be found on this series making his Sizzling Mussels. Katz’s video is new, so it isn’t on YouTube yet, but can be found by searching David Katz on the video section of their site :

Burning Questions

Has anyone else been underwhelmed with the judges?

Did Amanda Freitag deserve to go home over Seamus Mullen?

Can Chef Mullen overtake Mehta or Garces?