Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Next Iron Chef Redmption Episode 4 - Transformation

After last week's surprising elimination of Chef Eric Greenspan, I was nervous on behalf of the challengers because - as Elizabeth Faulkner stated early in the episode - "Everybody wants to win and its going to get more and more intense."

And what could be more intense than tonight's Chairman's Challenge featuring a cornucopia of canned food like pate, spiced ham, Vienna sausages, corned beef, salmon, and my personal favorite - mystery cans.

Chef Boyardee anyone?

To this day I'm filled with terror  over what was in the ravioli.

But with the theme this week being transformation, our chefs were challenged to make magic with their canned  goods and turn them into something amazing.

In school yard fashion, the chefs were called upon to select their can of choice and because she was last week's winner, Amanda Freitag had the advantage of selecting last where she could either keep her final can or steal from someone else.

In the end, here's what everyone picked:
  •  Marcel Vigneron: Clams
  • Jehangir Mehta: "May I please have the the question mark (can) in the center?"
  • Spike Mendelsohn: Vienna Sausage
  • Alex Guarnaschelli: Spiced ham
  • Elizabeth Faulkner: "Mystery door number second to last (can)."
  • Nate Appleman: "Rolling the dice" - he picked the last can with a question mark on it.
  • Amanda Freitag: In a surprise move, Chef Freitag decided not to steal, and instead, picked the corned beef (I know!) and the challenge was on.
But first, I would be remiss if I didn't reveal the contents of the mystery cans.

Nate Appleman got a tin of tuna, , Jehangir Mehta, tinned chicken, and Elizabeth Faulkner tinned roast beef - which begs the question ... what does roast beef taste like from a can?

Chef Boyardee - want to weigh in?

Transformation, however, is about just that - taking unexpected ingredients and recreating them as something new and, in that sense, we had the best possible people lined up for the job!

Here's what they made:
  • Marcel Vigneron: Acqua Pazza with Clam Cakes
  • Jehangir Mehta: Chicken Pakora with Green Curry
  • Spike Mendelsohn: Vietnamese Crepes
  • Alex Guarnaschelli: Sugar Snap Pea and Herb Ravioli with Basil Puree
  • Elizabeth Faulkner:  Roast Beef with Bordelaise Sauce and Cheesy Truffle Gougeres
  • Nate Appleman: Gnocchi with Tuna Puttanesca, Tuna Pesto, and Frozen Tuna
  • Amanda Freitag: An Homage to Corned beef
In the heat of battle there was the odd mishap like Chef Freitag's challenge with the corned beef tin (girlfriend, I have been there and done that), and Chef Faulkner ruminating over a supposed alliance between Spike and Marcel; other than that, however, the cooking went smoothly.

In the judging Chef Vigneron's offerings received low votes from the judges along  with Chef  Mendelsohn and Chef Appleman - but only one would be declared this evening's winner: Chef Faulkner, along with the top 2 and 3 Chef Amanda Freitag and Chef Jehangir Mehta.

Nate Appleman and Alex Guarnaschelli were in the middle which left good friends Spike Mendelsohn and Marcel Vigneron to battle it out in the secret ingredient showdown where they would have 30 minutes to create a tasty offering featuring lobster.

As would be expected, both chefs were overjoyed to see these flavorful crustaceans and as the cooking got underway, Marcel came up with the bright idea to present their dishes together as one plate - a decision that certainly didn't go over very well with the judges.

In the end, and despite being decidedly pissed, the judges decided Marcel's offering was enough to see see him move on and Spike Mendelsohn was sent home.

As for me, the last time I transformed an ingredient from a can, it was with my tuna casserole. 

There's canned tuna in this one but everything else is made from scratch. I hope you enjoy!

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