The Way of Jose

Today Anthony Sica looks back on how Jose Garces became the Next Iron Chef, running down every dish Garces prepared. It’s interesting to see where Garces reused dishes that he has on the menu at Amada, Distrito and Chifa.

1 – Tests: Memory and Fearlessness

  • The chefs arrive in LA and Garces wastes no time by winning the Memory test with his Ecuadorian Locro with Queso Fresco.
  • For the Fearlessness tests, Eric Greenspan was bounced for his use of grasshoppers, while Garces threw down some Spanish Braised Cockscombs and some Tempura Cockscombs.

2 – Tests: Simplicity and Interpretation

  • Jose rocked a Paella pan with his Squid Ink, Clam, and Chorizo Paella.
  • Garces then crosses over to Italy with an interpretation of Minestrone.
  • Holly Smith ( Remember her?) was sent packing for some boring Bouillabaisse.

3 – Test: Innovation

  • Jose and Dominique Crenn go on a date to make Pho and Garces was Steingartened by a Vietnamese cook for his attempt.
  • Garces then offered up his innovative take on an American Classic with a Pho French Dip.
  • Brad Farmerie is eliminated on the merits of his Asian Pierogies.

4-Test : Adaptability

  • The Chairman has some Tamarind imported from Mexico and Garces features it in his Tamarind Mole Poblano and Tamarind Flan, as well as a Tamarind Martini.
  • Dominique Crenn is axed for undercooking a churro.

5 – Test : Pressure

  • This is the week when Jose Garces started to become Iron Chef Garces.
  • It was all about India with Garces’ first bite of Curried Cauliflower with Mango Chutney and Cucumber Raita.
  • Next up was a 5-course Indian meal that won the test for Garces:
    • Lamb Karahi with Apricots and Almonds
    • Dal with Yellow Lentils and Zucchini
    • Prawns Korma in Coconut Cream Sauce
    • Saag Paneer- Spinach with Ginger, Garlic, and Cheese
    • Coconut Tapioca with Pineapple and Saffron Foam
  • Roberto Trevino and fan favorite Nate Appleman are sent packing.

6 – Test: UMAMI( Deliciousness)

  • The final four are whisked away to Tokyo for the next set of challenges.
  • Their first test is the Yakitori challenge where, armed with an arsenal of soy sauce, they must create 5 Umami-fied skewers for Morimoto.
  • Garces’ Lineup:
    • Charred Tofu with Dashi Soy Clam Broth
    • Teriyaki Grilled Asparagus
    • Yuzu Glazed Cod with Pickled Cucumber
    • Sesame Soy Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Broccoli and Grapes
    • Teriyaki Strawberries
  • Dr. Yukio Hattori stopped in for the second leg of the Umami Test.
  • The chefs had to fill a Bento Box with 5 dishes (Salty, Sour, Bitter, Sweet, Umami)
  • The Garces Box
    • Bitter-Bitter Green and Black Rice Salad
    • Sour- Pickled Sardines with Pickled Vegetables
    • Salty-Octopus Rice Cakes
    • Umami-Pork Belly over Congee and Shiitake
    • Sweet-Canela Rice Pudding and Raspberries
  • Amanda Freitag’s trip to Japan is the first to end.

7-Test: Integrity

  • The chefs were challenges to create a seasonal Kaiseki Dinner featuring seafood from the world famous Tsukiji Fish Market.
  • Kaiseki in 5 Acts by Jose Garces:
    • Act 1: “Discovery”- Gazpacho with King Crab and Avocado
    • Act 2: “Roots”- Toro and Scallop with Leche de Tigre (Chifa)
    • Act 3: “Labor”- Grilled Kampachi with Asparagus Bamboo, and Amaebi
    • Act 4: “Breakthrough”- Hot Pot with Lobster, Abalone, and Mushrooms
    • Act 5: “Destiny: Tokyo”- Sea Urchin Custard with Fresh Mango
  • Seamus Mullen’s arthritis acts up and he overcomplicates his Kaiseki and he misses the finals.

8-Test: Imagination -Finale

  • The final showdown at Kitchen Stadium between Chef Garces and Chef Mehta.
  • The Secret Ingredient is Ribs and Racks-various ribs, racks, and loins from pork, buffalo, and beef.
  • Iron Chef Garces’ winning menu:
    • Buffalo Tartare with Kobe Sirloin
    • Buffalo Rib Steak cooked Au Poivre
    • Carnitas Taco (Distrito)
    • “The German”- Pork Loin crusted with Mustard and Herbs
    • Beef Short Rib Pizza with Manchego, Horseradish Cream, and Bacon Balsamic Marmalade (Amada)
    • Baby Back Ribs with Spicy Barbecue Sauce

37 Dishes

8 Weeks

1 Iron Chef

Jose Garces

And as if all that wasn’t enough. Here is Garces’ first recipe as a member of the Food Network : Lobster and Asparagus Soft Cooked Eggs with Oyster Cava Cream (Revuelto de Langosta)