Michael Symon has survived -- nay, WON -- Episode 4 of The Next Iron Chef America! I mentioned before that I'd been pulling for him all along, but considering my recent choices in presidential elections, it's good to pick a winner for a change.
For anyone who didn't pay a whole lot of attention, the prospective chefs had to cook airline food (to steal a line from the show, "think of all the airline meals you've ever had"). Lufthansa's corporate chef took a few moments to brief Symon, Cosentino, Besh, and Sanchez on what can make airline food taste so bad. Altitude equals loss of palate, reheating equals loss of desired texture, etc. The chefs were then told to have at prepping, cooking, transporting, and re-heating.
I'd suspected that Aaron Sanchez was going to be leaving, but I was disappointed in the judges' evaluation of his dishes. The judges seemed to think that Sanchez hadn't listened to the airline food briefing, when in fact, I thought he took it completely to heart. Sanchez's skin-on fish may have tasted terrible, but he did leave it on to coax a bit of moisture out of the nuked entree. His execution was flawed, sure, but don't accuse the man of not listening.
Chris Cosentino is a lot like Aaron Sanchez, at least how the latter had been in previous episodes. He wants to cook his way or no way. It's how he likes it or not at all. This is why he wound up serving al dente cauliflower (was it Knowlton or Brown who suggested he had called it crudite? Clever, either way). It's also why, in an effort to combat the altitude-battered palate, he overseasoned the garnish of his asparagus salad, rather than the asparagus itself. I did experience a moment of Cosentino pride, however, when he threatened to burn the camera crew. Personally, I'd have bludgeoned someone with a heavy stockpot.
John Besh would make a terrific Iron Chef. He's technically relevant, he's got a personality, and he knows how to market his food (no matter what Michael Ruhlman had to say about loosely defining "consomme"). Were it not for Michael Symon, Besh would be my pick.
And Michael Symon. God, that guy is cool. His food is good, his laugh is psychotic, and he'd make a great addition to Kitchen Stadium. But what happens to Lola (and the lesser-known but charcuterie-stocked Lolita) if he wins?
And now onto the comments (oh, how I love moderating these)....
This blog has been coming out in fits and spurts, dependent entirely on my disposable income and ability to search out WiFi access. I'm glad I was finally able to knock out another review and check out the comments left by an LtSmooth and (of course!) another Anonymous.
And to Anonymous, who thought I provided a "very American" view of Vietnamese food and that my "description of pho was quite a bit off": I know I haven't posted any full photos of myself here, but based on the hair/lips/skin combo at the top right, have you noticed that I'm....um....American? Or did you perhaps notice my "I've never been to Vietnam" disclaimer? And as for the description of pho, I call it as I eat it.