The Next Iron Chef

Season 2 Episode 6

Umami (Deliciousness)

0
Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Nov 08, 2009 on Food Network
9.0
out of 10
User Rating
5 votes
2

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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The chefs arrive in Tokyo and must complete a cooking challenge to showcase all five tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • "Being an Iron Chef means earning respect and I definitely want that" were Chef Mehta's opening quotes. "Being an Iron Chef means being confident in your interpretation of Global Cuisine" was Chef Freitag's take.moreless

    9.0
    "Being an Iron Chef means earning respect and I definitely want that" were Chef Mehta's opening quotes. "Being an Iron Chef means being confident in your interpretation of Global Cuisine" was Chef Freitag's take on what she thought being an Iron Chef means to her. The last four chefs were going to battle it out in Japan and only 3 of them would advance to the next stage. It was evident that the chefs had to prove their cooking skills in the Japanese cuisine. The episode was around the 5th flavor called Umami, which is Japanese for deliciousness. This flavor complements all the other 4 flavors which are Sweet, Sour, Bitter and Salty. Alton Brown gave a quick introduction of Umami and how the Soy Sauce is the main ingredient that brings it out. After a very thorough description of how Soy Sauce is prepared the 4 chefs were taken to a traditional yakitori grill restaurant. Yakiori is big on Umami and hence the choice of the restaurant. The challenge was to create 5 Umami rich skewers and the chefs had an access to some rich collection of Sauces. Here the chefs were divided in 2 batches, Chef Freitag and Chef Mehta in the first batch and Chef Garces and Chef Mullen in the second batch. The twist came in when Alton Brown announced that Chef Morimoto was the judge for the first round! The space behind the counter was really cramped and it did not help that Chef Morimoto was watching the contestants as they performed. They only had 30 minutes to cook. Chef Mehta grabbed the ingredients which bring out the Umami and selected clams, leeks, strawberries and apple. Chef Mehta's plan was to bring out a little sweet but salt in the skewers. In the last 5 minutes hell broke loose when Chef Mehta's caramel was burnt a bit and Chef Freitag had no time to cook her chicken skewer. Chef Garces and Chef Mullen faced similar issues. Everybody worked under pressure and knew that one wrong move would just hasten their exit. Chef Morimoto was critical in his judgment and appreciated only a few dishes. Chef Mehta won the round because he enhanced each skewer with Umami, the best being the Apple, Caramel and Soy. The second test started off with more tension than ever because the kitchen was new and nobody knew where to find the different tools and ingredients that they needed. The challenge was hosted in Hatorin Nutrition College and the kitchen was completely different from kitchen stadium. The chefs had to make 5 dishes which brought out the 5 flavors of Sweet, Salty, Bitter, Sour and Umami and all the dishes had to have rice as a basic ingredient. The dishes had to be presented in a small Bento – Box. Chef Mehta was given the advantage and he chose a petite and beautiful red box. Each chef had their strategy and their mishaps too. Chef Mullen had a mishap with Sardines, Chef Freitag faced issues with the can opener, Chef Garces got only 1 Sardine and Chef Mehta had to wait a long time before he got his chance at the ice cream machine. Chef Garces and Chef Mullen stuck to Sardines to make their Sour dish while Chef Freitag made her Sour dish with poached fish and Yuzu sauce. Chef Mehta used a bitter melon to make his Bitter dish and for Umami he used a Shrimp marinated in Soy and added rice crisps to it. After an intense round the contestants were ready for the judge's table. Each contestant explained the different flavors that each dish was expected to bring out and the judges commented on the same. Dr. Hatorin appreciated the contestants when they used the right ingredients to bring out the right flavors. He praised Chef Mehta for wisely using the bitter melon; he praised Chef Garces for fusing the eastern and western flavors together in his dish and he criticized Chef Freitag for using fresh mushroom rather than **** mushroom in her dish. Chef Garces won the round. Chef Freitag and Chef Mullne were in the bottom 2 but Chef Freitag was the one to be eliminated. The final 3 will battle it out next week! Happy viewing!moreless
  • An Iron Chef should respect the integrity of ingredients and his/her food should tell a story.

    9.5
    An Iron Chef should respect the integrity of ingredients and his/her food should tell a story. The last but one episode of The Next Iron Chef season 2 began with the chairman defining integrity as the test to decide who the 2 finalists would be, in the battle for The Next Iron Chef. The test was to make a Kaiseki style 5 course meal. Honoring the ingredients and telling a story with the food that was prepared. Kaiseki is a traditional multi course meal cooked with the seasonal ingredients. In this challenge all the dishes had to be made using seafood as the main ingredient. The meal had to tell a story, it had to reflect the chef's personality, his personal experience and what inspired him. The food had to be a blend of taste, presentation and creativity. The chefs were taken to the Tsukiji market, one of the largest sea food markets in the world, where they had to shop for their own ingredients in 60 minutes. The chefs had to fight their way through crowded aisles to select the seafood that they needed. Back in the Hatori Nutrition School kitchen Alton Brown took a jibe at Chef Mehta, teasing him about the amount of shopping he had achieved in that one hour! The challenge was to complete 5 dishes in 2 hours. The challenge was tough and, the time was short. Chef Mullen was suffering from a bad case of Arthritis and by deciding to cook a 6 course meal, instead of the stipulated 5 courses; he piled up the odds against him. He wanted a sixth dish to add a prelude to his story. Although the judges appreciated his Kelp cured Wild Salmon Belly and the Sea Urchin wrapped in Uba skin, they were of the opinion that he had stretched himself too thin. Chef Mehta's theme was very unique and creative. He had used flowers in his preparations and presentation. Kaiseki is all about personal expression and his theme was happiness. Since Chef Mehta associated flowers with happiness that is how he expressed his story. Hence all of Chef Mehta's dishes had flowers in them. He used Chrysanthemum with shrimp and scallop and created some magical blend of flavors. Alton Brown declared Chef Mehta's Clam Salad with Chili Flower dish as the best dish served in the entire competition. Dr. Hatori was all praises for his unique use of spices throughout the 5 courses and said that he enjoyed it because of the creative blend of ingredients. The high point in Chef Mehta's preparation was his presentation! The table looked beautiful with flowers of all colors and acted as a visual treat. The judges were blown away with it! Chef Garces' theme was the 5 acts of a play. The acts were Discovery, Roots, Labor, Breakthrough and Destiny. His food was well received by the judges but Judge Steingarten criticized his Grilled Kampachi since it was overcooked. Chef Mullen's plan to impress the judges with the 6 courses backfired. The finale will therefore be between Chef Garces and Chef Mehta! The battle resumes in Kitchen Stadium next week and the sneak peek intensifies the tension.moreless

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