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Mini Reviews of the Six Iron Chef Battles

[Editor's Note: Iron Chef contests do not have individual titles. These are the reviewer's own.]

Red Snapper Battle
The Debut of the NEW Japanese Iron Bishonen...er, I mean...Chef!

Iron Chef Japanese Morimoto Masuharu vs. Hirayama Yukio

The Red Snapper Battle is the debut show for the new Japanese Iron Chef, Morimoto Masuharu. Morimoto comes from the United States bringing with him Japanese cuisine with an American twist to it. Morimoto (this author's favorite because he is quite handsome) has a spectacular debut against Hirayama Yukio, Master Chef at Hannya-tei in Yokohama. The theme ingredient is red snapper. Some of Morimoto's antics on the arena floor are unique such as drinking a Coca-Cola during the battle, his trademark. This gives Morimoto an enjoyability that makes him stand out from the past Iron Chefs Japanese. The dishes are very interesting, but Morimoto's dishes have a certain U.S. flair to them that is apparent in the presentation.

Theme Ingredient Factoid: The twenty red sea bream snappers were caught in the waters near Kyushu Island, Japan which give a sense of Spring in Japan.

Guest Commentators: Okada Masami, Actor and Momoi Kaori, Actress

Judges: Akimoto Yasushi (Songwriter), Momoi Kaori (Actress), Okada Masami (Actor), and Kishi Asako (Culinary Critic).

Broccoli Battle
The Rival Italian Schools Clash! The Pasta Revolution!

Iron Chef Italian Kobe Masahiko vs. Mario Frittoli

The Broccoli Battle is quite interesting and not being a fan of broccoli the author was interested in seeing what they would make. Each chef comes from rival schools of Italian cooking, so the battle is quite heated. Frittoli, Master Chef at II Pinolo in Higashi-Azabu, struck the author as very confident, yet a bit too vocal with his reactions to the judges' comments to his meals. Both Challenger and Iron Chef exchange fighting words to Ohta about the other's restaurant. It is a brutal battle, but the winner is well deserved. Being that Frittoli is Italian himself also makes this battle interesting, but don't make me eat that broccoli ice cream...please!

Theme Ingredient Factoid: The 150 broccoli are from Aichi, Japan. They signify Spring in Italy.

Guest Commentators: Enatsu Yutaka, Baseball Commentator and Azuma Chizuru, Actress

Judges: Kurimoto Shinichiro (Lower House Member), Azuma Chizuru (Actress), Enatsu Yutaka (Baseball Commentator), and Kishi Asako (Culinary Critic)

Rice Battle
The Master of Chinese Oils Takes On...Iron Chef Japanese?

Iron Chef Japanese Morimoto Masuharu vs. Kimura Masuyoshi

One would think a Rice Battle would be easy enough for the two chefs since they are in Japan, but the dishes they create are ones very unique for just rice. The sumo-like challenger Masuyoshi, the Master of Oils hailing from the Rihga Royal Hotel's restaurant "Ryuho" in Hiroshima, uses a number of different oils to flavor his dishes like hot bean oil (the trademark of Chen Kenichi). This unorthodox choice of Iron Chef not only surprises the author, but Kaga as well. They have their pick of three types of rice: California rice, Japanese rice, and glutinous rice. Again, Morimoto pulls out his bottle of Coca-Cola and the panel just muses about it saying "Yes, he is definitely from America!"

Theme Ingredient Factoid: The rice used is 20kg of California Rice, 20kg of "Koshi-hikari" Rice, and 10kg Glutinous Rice.

Guest Commentators: Saijo Hideki, Singer and Akino Yoko, Actress

Judges: Kanoh Tenmei (Photographer), Akino Yoko (Actress), Hideki Saijo (Singer), and Kishi Asako (Culinary Critic)

Guinea Fowl Battle
Wedgewood and French Cooking with Fowl

Iron Chef French Sakai Hiroyuki vs. Ishikawa Tomoji

The first battle for the French Iron Chef and the first battle with a meat make this for a great battle. The Guinea Fowl is a bird the author had never seen before, and apparently is a major poultry bird used in French Cuisine. It looks a lot like pheasant and the Guinea Fowl are not only plucked clean, but they provide Guinea Fowl eggs as well. Wedgewood, the Queen of England's choice of Chinaware, is a secondary Battle item in this show. This is probably so because the challenger's French restaurant is "W" (which probably stands for Wedgewood). Apparently there is a quarter of a million dollars of Wedgewood on the floor of the arena, which is quite impressive. This makes this author wonder why they would put the Wedgewood so close to where the action is. Didn't the producers think the chefs could topple a display over? In mere seconds, several thousand dollars worth of Wedgewood china could go crashing to the floor with a mere nudge from one of the chefs or studio staff. Ishikawa finishes his dishes ahead of Sakai and "celebrates as the French do" by sipping champagne after the preparation of the dishes. In any case, cool battle and nice use of the Wedgewood.

Theme Ingredient Factoid: The Guinea fowls bodies and eggs are from Nagano, Japan, ten bodies with innards, ten without, and thirty eggs.

Guest Commentators: Okada Masumi, Actor and Asagi Kuniko, Actress

Judges: Kurimoto Shinichiro (Lower House Member), Asagi Kuniko (Actress), Okada Masumi (Actor), and Hosoki Kazuko (Fortune Teller)

Spanish Mackerel Battle
$300 for ONE Fish?! No Thanks, But I'll Have The Chicken or Sawara! The Fashionable Judo Fish

Iron Chef Chinese Chen Kenichi vs. Harada Mitsuo

This is one heated battle. The challenger Harada, Master Chef at Brighton Hotel in Kyoto, is not only confident and cool, but he also bribes Kaga. Harada has his assistants bring in what appear to be bento boxes of oak leaf rice cakes (kashiwa mochi) and cherry leaf rice cakes (sakura mochi) which are both specialty desserts of Kyoto. Harada looks very "doctor-like" and his chef uniform echoes that sentiment. As Chen is the "strongest of the three," Harada feels he must choose Chen as his opponent due to the advisement of Michiba, Iron Chef Japanese I. The theme ingredient is Spanish mackerel that is over $300 a fish by Hattori (that's one expensive fish!). It looks a lot like pike to me, being long and slender. Great battle though.

Theme Ingredient Factoid: The fifteen Spanish mackerel were caught in the waters near Kyushu, Japan.

Guest Commentators: Azuma Chizuru, Actress and Horiuchi Takao, Singer

Judges: Kato Kazuhiko (Musician), Azuma Chizuru (Actress), Horiuchi Takao (Singer), and Kishi Asako (Culinary Critic).

Pen Shell Battle
Beautiful Pen Shells and the Fisherman Chef

Iron Chef Chinese Chen Kenichi vs. Shimamura Takashi

This is the first episode of Iron Chef with a mixture of subtitles and dubs, which is a welcome sight to the author. Sadly, only Kaga is subtitled, but some subtitles are better than none at all. The theme ingredient is Pen Shells (razor shell clam) and look rather heavy as Chen carries them back to the cooking area. Shimamura Takashi is Master Chef from the restaurant in Northern Japan called Nakamura-ya, and he works not only as a chef, but also as a discerning buyer at the seafood market in his hometown. The protective coverings of the Pen Shells are decorative items utilized frequently in this battle. Also, Chen incorporates the innards into the liver sauce he mixes up. Suffice to say, Pen Shell innards do not sound very appetizing to the typical American, but they are rather common in Japanese cooking.

Theme Ingredient Factoid: The fifty pen shells are from the Seto Inland Sea.

Guest Commentators: Saito Keiko, Actress and Ishihara Yoshizumi, Actor

Judges: Kanoh Tenmei (Photographer), Saito Keiko (Actress), Ishihara Yoshizumi (Actor), and Kishi Asako (Culinary Critic)




Iron Chef

Fuji International Television / Food Network

Release Info
Airs on Fridays and Saturdays at 10:00 pm Eastern/Pacific



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