Next Iron Chef Episode 7- Integrity

Last night brought us the semi-finals of The Next Iron Chef. It was the last test before the final two chefs head home to Kitchen Stadium for the culinary battle of their lives. Results, dishes, and more after the jump.

Test- Integrity

  • The show opened with the chefs in street clothes walking alongside the Sumida River. Chef Mehta with messenger bag by his side, Chef Mullen sporting a pair of awesome sunglasses, and Jose Garces in a boys medium polo.
  • The Chairman was in town for the penultimate test and Dr. Hattori was back to judge.
  • The chefs would have 1 hour to shop at the Tsukiji Fish Market for their 5 course Kaiseki dinner. Kaiseki is about honoring the ingredients, process, and seasons. The chefs would be telling their own personal stories through their Kaiseki dinner, with every course featuring seafood.

Kaiseki Time

  • Chef Mullen
    • Chef Mullen also included a Prologue to his Kaiseki, It was a small-plate preview of what coming in the upcoming courses.
    • Prologue-Kelp Cured Wild Salmon Belly, Prawn Tartar with Togarashi and Olive Oil, Yuba Skin Wrapped Sea Urchin with Strawberries.
    • 1st- Salmon Mousse with Ikura in Dashi Broth
    • 2nd- Prawn a la Plancha with Potato Confit.
    • 3rd- Tomato and Oyster Water Chilled Soup
    • 4th- Blonde Miso Soup
    • 5th- Strawberry Ice Cream with Grey Mullet Roe
  • Chef Mehta
    • Chef Mehta featured an “elaborate” presentation with flowers everywhere. He also included flowers in each one of his dishes
    • 1st- Clam Salad with Chili Flower
    • 2nd-Lobsetr with Zucchini Blossom
    • 3rd-Green Chile Shrimp with Chrysanthemum
    • 4th- Scallop with Ginger and Chrysanthemum Syrup
    • 5th- Mango Crab Tartar with Cactus Flower Sherbet
  • Jose Garces
    • Garces divided and titled his courses into acts as if it were a play.
    • Act 1: “Discovery”- Gazpacho with King Crab and Avocado. “Great Complexity”- Anya Fernald
    • Act 2: “Roots”- Toro and Scallop with Leche de Tigre. “…a waste of Toro”-Jeffrey Steingarten. “Strange…but a good strange!!” – Dr. Hattori.
    • Act 3: “Labor”- Grilled Kampachi with Asparagus Bamboo, and Amaebi. “Way Overcooked”- Jeffrey Steingarten. “Cooked Perfectly.” Dr Hattori.
    • Act 4: “Breakthrough”- Hot Pot with Lobster, Abalone, and Mushrooms. “Very Salty” – Anya Fernald. “Brilliant Abalone”- Donatella Arpaia.
    • Act 5: “Destiny: Tokyo”- Sea Urchin Custard with Fresh Mango. “Divine”- Donatella Arpaia.

Bronze Chef: The Judges thought Chef Mullen should have nixed the Prologue to focus on his five courses and he will not be the next Iron Chef.

FINAL: Chef Jose Garces vs. Chef Jehangir Mehta


– As discussed in the comments section, the production and editing of this season has been questionable and frustrating. The Tsukiji Fish Market is an amazing place. It would have been great if they would have spent more time on the shopping for ingredients instead of focusing on Chef Mullen’s arthritic leg.

-Interestingly enough, Chef Mullen was the chef who probably stuck closest to the integrity of the Kaiseki. The Miso Soup before dessert is the Tome-wan course of Kaiseki. He also included a palate cleanser, or Naka-choko , and a broiled/grilled seafood dish, the Yakimono.

-Fact: Jeffrey Steingarten is not Jose Garces’ biggest fan.

– I loved Garces idea, but would have loved it even more if he would have somehow incorporated Amada into his Breakthrough course. Garlic Amaebi? Maybe.

-Dr. Hattori is fantastic.

Burning Questions

Any guesses or wishes for the Secret Ingredient for the Final Battle? (Last season it was Swordfish. )

What are your predictions for the final? Will Chef Mehta’s creativity be his downfall? Or is Jose Garces clearly the favorite?