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June 04, 2006

Spanking the Pomegranate, and OT Travesty

Dominic Armato
The title may lead you to believe otherwise, but it's okay... this post is entirely work safe.

One of the things I love about Iron Chef is the team of sous chefs under duress saving time with cool little techniques. Most of them I've seen at one time or another, but I caught one tonight that was entirely new to me. Having sat down with pomegranates myself on a couple of occasions to try to remove seeds in an expedient manner while not totally destroying them, I was more than a little pleased to file this one away for future reference. One of the sous chefs had a pomegranate that he had halved, and was holding skin side up over a bowl. He then repeatedly spanked the rind of the fruit with the back of a heavy serving spoon, and piles of pomegranate seeds just dropped out. Fantastic.

There's a dramatic postscript to this Iron Chef report, but I'll provide a cut for those who do not wish to know the results of the Flay vs. Lee Battle Bacon:

Rant after the jump.

Battle Bacon was a furious and fairly interesting one that ended in a tie. This is normally cause for great celebration in Kitchen Stadium. In fact, my all-time favorite Iron Chef battle was the Chen vs. Corby extravaganza, where Chen miraculously fought his way to a tie against a French master with foie gras as the ingredient, and then somehow marshalled the strength to claim victory in the asparagus overtime battle that immediately followed. This was pure culinary excitement, and the single best example I've ever seen of why Iron Chef's fusion of cooking show and grand sporting event is one of the most brilliant ideas ever. So when Flay and Lee fought their way to a tie this evening, I was eagerly anticipating next week's OT battle... for about five seconds. Because when the credits rolled, it was immediately clear that for Iron Chef America, there is no OT. The battle would remain a tie.

Excuse me, but WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?!?!?

I've been a staunch supporter of Iron Chef America for quite some time, raising only minor complaints while praising the fact that the new producers get it. But this is a serious error in judgement. We want a winner. We want overtime excitement. The Japanese producers of the original show knew that OT was a rare and golden opportunity not to be wasted, but rather celebrated with great fanfare. So how can the producers in America, where we ostensibly hate ties, not know this? In Kitchen Stadium America, we're going to let two chefs battle for an hour, finish in a dead heat and then just move on? It's an anticlimax! It's anti-Iron Chef! It's... dare I say... anti-AMERICAN!

Where's McCarthy when you need him?


You're wrong. Corby and Chen also tied their overtime battle.

Hmmm... that's not my memory, but all sources say otherwise and it wouldn't be the first time my memory was faulty, so it appears you're right. Perhaps my passionate admiration of Chen's spirited performance framed him as the victor in my mind :-)

In any case, I think the point still stands. At least they put forth an attempt to break the tie. And as I recall, a couple of others were decided in overtime as well. I should probably do some research before saying so this time, however :-o

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