Iron Chef: Battle Tuna

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Theme Ingredient: Tuna
Iron Chef: Kobe
Challenger: Shinya Tasaki, 1995 world champion sommeiler
Remarks: Comments based on Food Network's October 22, 2000 airing of this battle

The challenger was Shinya Tasaki, who is not a chef but was the 1995 world champion sommelier (wine steward). He chose Iron Chef Italian Masahiko Kobe, specifically because he is the youngest IC and he thought he'd have the best chance against him. The theme ingredient was fatty tuna (chu-todo) harvested from the Mediterranean. The contestants would also have access to Chairman Kaga's wine collection.

Guest commentators were actress Naomi Kawashima and actor Masumi Okata, this time with his mustache. Kawashima 'keeps a well-known wine diary,' and I think that means she is knowledgeable about wines, since she made several insightful wine-related comments. However, in true BDJ style, she asked "Are we going to have wine with the meals?" The other judges were Lower House member Shinchiro Kurimoto and the unstoppable Asako Kishi.

Tasaki opened with a bang, literally, as he used a sword to open a bottle of champagne. This practice is known as sabre service or sabreage. Normally, challengers bring sous chefs from where they work; Tasaki had chefs helping him but where they came from was not mentioned. It sure looked like he was coasting at the end--he spent the last two minutes writing a menu with wine list--but in the post-cooking interview he said that he didn't have enough time to taste-test any of his dishes.

Challenger Tasaki presented five dishes:

  1. Tuna steak tartare (marinated in champagne) served with Kristal Champagne (1990). Kurimoto said the smoky flavor was key to this dish.
  2. Tuna on rice (a white wine-based sushi, rather than vinegar) served with Riesling (1990). This was made sweet to counter Kobe's pasta dish.
  3. Tuna stewed in red wine and bitter chocolate, served with Chateau Monteus (1992). Okata really liked this one.
  4. Grilled tuna in truffle sauce, served with Margues de Murrieta (1968).
  5. Tuna dessert cassis flavor, served with Pinon des Charentis. Kawashima and Okata both liked this one.

Kobe presented four dishes:

  1. Tuna appetizer in eggplant served with Donna Cora (1995) sparkling wine. Kobe marinated the tuna for this dish in Cinzano to reduce the fishy flavor. Kurimoto didn't think the tuna was center stage here, but Kawashima liked it that way.
  2. Tuna gnocci.
  3. Ham rolls and cutlet soup served with Poggio alle gazze (1996). This dish featured spelt wheat, a very rare kind of split wheat found in Toscan cuisine. Kurimoto didn't like it; Kawashima did.
  4. Tuna pasta grill, served with Solare (1990). This was a very interesting dish--the tuna was stuffed (but I missed what was in the stuffing), then was covered in two large sheets of pasta. Kobe then pan-fried it for a couple of minutes to harden the pasta crust, then baked it. Okata loved it; Kishi called it 'a noble ingredient.' Kawashima thought a white wine would have been a better match.

The verdict: Kurimoto 19-17 Tasaki, Kawashima 19-18 Tasaki, Okata 18-16 Tasaki, Kishi 19-17 Kobe.

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This page contains a single entry by Chris published on May 13, 2005 2:18 PM.

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