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Iron Chef Japan

Season 1 Episode 7

Bamboo Shoot Battle

Aired Daily 11:00 PM May 01, 1998 on Fine Living
out of 10
User Rating
1 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Bamboo Shoot Battle
Morimoto vs. Tetsuo Hagiwara

The challenger is a stubborn chef descended from a long line of Tokyo dwellers. Restaurants run in his family. Iron Chef Japanese will have his hand's full facing such a strong tradition. It's traditional Japanese versus neo-Japanese cooking.

Guests (in booth):

Ryugo Hashi (Actor) Kayoko Kishimoto (Actress)

Guests (joining them at the judge's table):

Tenmei Kanoh (Photographer) Asako Kishi (Culinary Critic)moreless

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  • Traditional versus revolutionary: Whose cuisine will reign supreme?

    This episode is interesting because it sets up a conflict that will continue for all of Morimoto's tenure as an Iron Chef. Morimoto is hailed as an innovator. He's the rebel, the chef who stretches the boundaries of Japanese cuisine. The challenger is the exact opposite. He's a man whose family has a well-established tradition in Japan's food scene. He knows the value of tradition, and his recipes reflect the respect he feels for Japan's long culinary history. This theme will replay itself time and time again in Morimoto battles.

    The secondary theme of the episode is that of Boys' Festival. This is a holiday dedicated to the successful development of young warriors. It's a perfect theme for this episode because the competitors invite comparisons to Samurai warriors.

    In the end, Morimoto's strength is also his downfall. In past episodes, judges have been awed by the Iron Chef's creative uses of the theme ingredient. They've been dazzled by how far he's willing to go. This time he goes a step too far. His "Kid's Plate" is both bizarre and unappetizing to even the most adventurous eater. He drowns bamboo shoot spaghetti in ketchup. If that's not disgusting enough, he stuffs the "spaghetti" into a hot dog bun. The judges are confused and don't like the amateurish offering. In a battle this close, one dish that bombs so horribly is all that is needed to secure the victory for the challenger.

    Overall, this is a fun episode to watch because it involves an exotic ingredient. None of the dishes are so disgusting that you lose your appetite, but they are different enough that you don't feel you are watching a traditional cooking show.moreless
Chen Kenichi

Chen Kenichi

Current Iron Chef Chinese

Fukui Kenji

Fukui Kenji


Hattori Yukio

Hattori Yukio

Color Commentator

Kaga Takeshi

Kaga Takeshi

Chairman Kaga

Kobe Masahiko

Kobe Masahiko

Current Iron Chef Italian

Masaharu Morimoto

Masaharu Morimoto

Current Iron Chef Japanese

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • When Morimoto brings U.S. dollar bills folded in origami shapes, it is revealed that while the competitors did not know the secret ingredient, they did have advance warning about the Boys' Festival theme.

    • An altar is set up in the middle of kitchen stadium. It celebrates "boys' festival" and contains a replica of a samurai's armor.

    • Because of the long cooking time of bamboo shoots, the competitors are given 60 "pre-boiled" stalks and 6 raw from Kyoto.

    • The challenger was a professional bowler before joining his family's business and becoming a chef.

  • QUOTES (0)

  • NOTES (5)

    • The Fine Living Network's alternative production number for this episode is FLIRN-107.

    • Kandigawa, head of a faction determined to destroy neo-Japanese cooking, makes a cameo appearance. He will become integral to some match-ups later in the series' run. He even comments on Morimoto's cooking skill.

    • Because the US has no holiday similar to Boys' festival, Morimoto is tested. He eventually tells Ota that his inspiration will be "his boss, Robert De Niro's boy." Actor Robert De Niro has starred in numerous hit films and is part owner of Morimoto's New York restaurant.

    • In this episode, the Iron Chef is preset. The challenger does not have a "surprise pick." This sets up traditional versus neo-Japanese cooking and the comparison of the chefs as "samurai warriors."

    • This episode is also known as "Boys' Festival," a festival for young warriors.


    • Ryugo Hashi: Iron Chef...G.I. Joe

      G.I. Joe was a popular toy soldier. The toy went on to be a popular cartoon and comic book series. G.I. Joe is also seen as an American icon.

    • Fukui Kenji: Always full of surprises...like Forest Gump's momma said, "You never know what you're going to get" with Iron Chef Morimoto.

      Forest Gump was a 1994 award winning movie starring Tom Hanks as a mentally challenged man whose life was full of surprises.