New Iron Chef Forgione goes up against Chef RJ Cooper of Vidalia Restaurant in Washington, DC.
Secret ingredient is bell peppers, an ingredient I am not crazy about, minimal flavor and the colors are garish. One of the judges stated that they are an abomination. I agree.
As his first battle, I will be very surprised if Forgione loses, I don’t think the producers could have that.
The dishes, drum roll please:
- Stuffed Bell Pepper with Tequila Cocktail – judges loved both
- Bell Pepper Fettucine – not sure I have ever heard such praise for a dish, of course, Jeffrey Steingarten was not there and two of the judges were not regulars and seemed reluctant to say anything bad, will be interesting if this continues. The Chairman actually tried to elicit some criticisms.
- Bell Pepper Crusted Bass – another dish with no criticism
- Pork Loin and Pickled Bell Peppers – finally a course judges didn’t like, the pork overpowered the peppers
- Bell Pepper Sorbet – they loved it
Judges were asked to rate overall performance, I’ve not seen this before. He got rave reviews all round.
- Red Pepper Gazpacho With King Crab – negative comments overall
- Sea Scallop With Orange Pepper and Corn Pudding – again, negative comments
- Black Bass and Bell Pepper Billi Bi – they criticized him for not highlighting the pepper
- Goat Merguez Stuffed Peppers – they loved this one
- Red Pepper Gelee With Goat Cheese Mousse – they liked it
Overall, judges said that he didn’t use peppers properly
This is a no brainer, Forgione will win. Unfortunately, this is perhaps the first Iron Chef battle where judging didn’t really ring true for me. Perceptually, Forgione was given every benefit of the doubt and Cooper got the opposite treatment. Of course, I didn’t get to taste the dishes, but this judging was almost too obvious. Where are Jeffrey Steingarten and Andrew Knowlton? At least they didn’t have the stupid farmer in overalls.
Yep, Forgione wins this one. Could they really allow the new Iron Chef to lose? Did Cooper think he stood a chance? Am I being too critical? Maybe.