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We learn that the Challenger has taken part in 160 previous battles in Kitchen Stadium, compared to the Iron Chef's 4 previous battles.
The secret ingredient, Mishima beef, is raised on a small island off of Japan. Only 20 heads were available this season. It's also called the best Kobe beef in the world. Each head cost 12,000 dollars a piece, so the amount of beef is limited for the battle (fillet, sirloin, ribs).
Although four Iron Chefs are shown in the opening credits, the challenger is only given the choice between three of the Iron Chefs. Iron Chef Italian is not introduced by Kaga for her to choose.
The chefs have two types of Konnyaku to work with: black and white. Kannyaku is a potato starch product with a jelly-like texture. It is a purely Japanese ingredient and has a no Chinese equivalent. Thus, making it a real challenge for the two Chinese masters.
The Iron chef has to stand on mixing bowls to gain enough height to chop the meat properly.
Kaga summons the ingredient for the overtime battle, but does not announce what it is. That will be revealed on the next episode.
There are two pork belly cuts available to the chefs: 4 with skin and 6 without skin.
Although Iron Chef Italian is in the opening credits, he is not one of the choices for the challenger.
Iron Chef Morimoto's Smoked Asparagus Stick Salad was over-smoked and widely criticized by the judges. Chairman Kaga later named it as one of the three worst dishes ever in the 2000th dish episode.
Kaga offers the chefs two types of the theme ingredient: 200 stalks of white asparagus from France and 150 stalks of green asparagus from Japan. But, the choice is even more complicated as fat stalks are female and thin stalks are male.
Despite Kobe being included in the opening credits, he is not included as a choice for the challenger.
There are two varieties of mangoes available for the battle: 100 Mexican mangoes and 80 Philippine mangoes.
Kitchen Stadium has been specially decorated for this battle with cacti and Mexican flags.
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.
The challenger's brother is in the audience at Kitchen Stadium. Throughout the episode, the announcers refer to him as a "backseat chef" because he is a classically trained French chef who seems very involved in his brother's menu.
The challenger brings the Chairman a gift. The Chairman is quick to point out that he can not be bribed in determining the final outcome (and of course, Kaga never has a vote during judging).
There are 15 Spanish mackerels from the waters near Kyushu, Japan available to the chefs. It is also revealed that each fish cost at least three hundred American dollars.