The End for Me is Near--The Last Iron Chef Final

Well, tonight was my practical final in school–the final final, as it were. We had to create a 3 course meal in four hours with the ingredients set before us, with the stipulations that we had to: (1) poach one of the items, and (2) make a buerre blanc for one of the dishes.

We were given Striped Sea Bass (whole–eww! fish guts!) and Chicken, with a myriad of fruits, vegetables and assorted starches for side dishes.

I honestly didn’t want to go fancy–I really went out for flavor. Plus, that’s my style–they like to call it “rustic” out here. So, here’s what I came up with:

First Course: Poached Striped Sea Bass on a bed of wilted baby spinach, lemon-thyme buerre blanc, and garnish of fried leeks

Main Course: Pan-roasted chicken breast with wild mushroom compote and roasted herbed red-skinned potatoes

Dessert: Miniature apple tarte tatin with vanilla bean ice cream and blackberry coulis.

So… would you eat it?

Now, all I have left is just a few more weeks of working in the school restaurant and the written final on the 13th.

I think once it’s all over, I’m going to Vegas. This girl needs a party.

Everything sounds delicious. I am more of the butter,touch of vinegar, white wine (or dare I show my trailer trash side and suggest gasp white zinfandel???)and shallot kind of buerre blanc myslef, but I would definately give it a shot! Leeks alone would make me salivate, prepared any which way! The rest sounds so good I want the recipes!!!



And then ask for seconds.

Wasn’t that easy?

It sounds delicious, and something about the lemon-thyme buerre blanc and fried leek combination made my mouth water.

The pan seared chicken with mushrooms would be delicious and blackberry and apples and vanilla is always a happy combination. It all sounds wonderful.

However, I must say that since you mentioned Iron Chef, and since I know you’re a fan, I’m surprised you didn’t do more “traditional” Iron Chef dishes: You could have made Fish-Gut Ice Cream for example…and, c’mon: Don’t you have access to a couple of pounds of caviar, truffles and fois gras? What’s a meal without those? I’m sure that Vanilla Bean and Fish-Gut Ice Cream with Caviar over your apple tart would have been a big hit with your judges.

Y’know, I think your meal sounds spectacular, but you’ll have to get weirder if you want to make Kaga’s list. :smiley:

Fenris, who notes that 4:53 in the morning is far to early to be hungry for fish and chicken. And who also thinks that he’ll be seeing JavaMaven1 as the Challenger on an Iron Chef special in the next few years.

Tequila: I believe I’ll post the recipes in Zenster’s Ultimate Recipe Thread. I have to think through what I did, because everything I did was off the top of my head (no recipes allowed at this test). Once I can figure out amounts, I’ll put them up.

Fenris: I had fish gut ice cream flash through my head last night, because the ice cream machine was going while I was cutting up the fish… there was something so amusing imagining the chef having to taste it. Immature, yes… but highly amusing.

Me, on Iron Chef? Aw, shucks :: looks down, kicks dirt ::

Ohmigod, that sounds fabulous. EAT it? I’d inhale it and ask for seconds.

I want to be a judge at your school :slight_smile:

Please do post the recipes, as I would love to try them.

I posted the recipes in Zenster’s thread, since he seems to keep good track of the recipes there, and I don’t want them completely lost.

Java, I’d eat that! Sounds wonderful!


Eat it? Jesus Christ, I’d marry it.

How in H-E-Double Toothpicks did I miss this one. Musta snuck under radar.

Would I eat this? Fer criminey sakes, you’d have to physically eject me from the kitchen because I’d want to help you cook it!

PS: Java, I heartily applaud your “rustic” approach to cooking. So many fine dishes are ruined by nouvelle cuisine style geeks and their fancy-schmancy mango and wasabi sauce dreck mucking up a perfectly good cut of meat. You are to be commended for creating flavor sets that are appealing to both the eye and the taste buds.

By now, I’m sure that you have seen the style that I prefer from so many of the recipes that I have posted in the Recipe Thread. I call that style “coloring book”, because I attempt to have my food evoke classic images (like those in a coloring book) of flavor and texture when they are consumed. Three cheers for a return to simplicity and straight forward cooking styles.

BTW, Are you going to let us know what grade you got?

The entire meal sounds wonderful! I love sea bass.

At least they didn’t give you a whole chicken (chicken guts – eew!).

No, I wouldn’t eat it.

But then, I’m vegetarian. Sounds really good, though, and I am sure I would drool profusely; but I wouldn’t eat it.

Do you know you passed the final?

obfusciatrist: The chef who was judging the final said when I left that I had done a great job, so I know I passed. I probably won’t know my grade until everyone has tested, since these finals are stretched out over the next two weeks. And… you can still have a piece of the tarte tatin, can’t you?

Zenster: Even though I get a kick out of seeing inventive cuisine and new flavors, when it comes right down to it, I love simple, “rustic” food. Some people might turn their nose at it because it’s not particularly fancy or stylish, but, I have to admit–it’s damned good food. Of course, you’ll hear about my grade when I finally get it.


You have summed up my attitudes about food so well. Thank you. I’ve had a mango-cauliflower soup that was entirely memorable. Sadly, too often such potentially tangental fare despoils a fine meal instead of highlighting it.

Your menu was entirely laudable. Save for the wild mushrooms, nearly all of the ingredients and flavor combinations were entirely accessible to a majority of the public. Absent were the faddish experiments of trendy dilettantes and instead we have solid, yet authentic representations of genuinely good cooking.

How refreshing to see someone who is unafraid to use a vanilla bean ice cream as opposed to some Belgian chocolate sorbet that would have obscured the berries.

Again, I await to hear of the grade you received. I only anticipate the best for you. Incidentally, what score did you receive on your beer pairing dinner? I’m truly curious.

All the Best,


PS: I’m embarassed to mention that it’s taken me this long to thank you for posting your entire recipe set from this exam at my recipe thread. You are far too kind.

PPS: I anticipate round two of Scylla’s “Iron Chef” competition. I shall specifically request a rematch with you, if only on terms of “all category” competition.

Thank you for the kind words, Zenster. I received a perfect score for the beer pairing dinner. One other student did beer pairings on his dinner, also (his theme, though, was for a hunting lodge kind of place in Colorado–it was a very manly menu). I may possibly recreate the dinner again this fall, for a friend’s “Orphan’s Thanksgiving Dinner” that she throws every year.