Bobby Flay wins banana cream pie throwdown v. “Baked” chefs Matt Lewis + Renato Poliafito

Throwdown: In this week’s episode of Season 8, Bobby Flay challenged Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, owners of Brooklyn bakery Baked, to a banana cream pie throwdown.

Food Network describes the challenge: “Tired of the rat race, friends and co-workers Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito left the grind of jobs in advertising to follow their tasty dream of opening a bakery. This led to the creation of their Elvis-inspired banana cream pie that has fans flocking from all over to their Brooklyn bakery to get a taste of this dessert that is fit for a king! Can Matt and Renato cream the competition with their heavenly dessert, or will Bobby’s take on the classic pie reign supreme?”

Dishes: Matt and Renato made their signature peanut butter banana cream pie, inspired by Elvis’s love of peanut butter banana and bacon sandwiches. (No bacon in the pie!) You can get the recipe by clicking here.

Meanwhile, Bobby made a traditional banana cream pie, but caramelized the bananas and added hazelnuts on top. You can find the recipe by clicking here.

Judges: Ron Silver, chef and owner of Bubby’s Pies in NYC. Rose Levy Beranbaum, author of 9 baking books including Rose’s Heavenly Cakes.

Winner: Bobby Flay! Judges liked both pies, but Ron Silver found the peanut butter too overwhelming to taste the banana flavor.

Bobby improves to 4-3 for the season and has a shot at finishing over .500 for the first time ever at the end of Season 8. Good luck, Bobby!

Bobby Flay demolishes Curtis Stone in Iron Chef, secret ingredient — skipjack tuna

Wow. Curtis Stone has the Hollywood looks. But it didn’t look pretty in the end in his Iron Chef battle against Bobby Flay. Curtis, the blonde haired Aussie, made his name from Take Home Chef, the show in which he “picked up” women from the grocery store to cook an amazing dinner for them and their significant others. Recently, Curtis was on Celebrity Apprentice, in which he made it almost to the finale. On the Iron Chef, though, Curtis was really no match for Bobby Flay.

The secret ingredient was skipjack tuna (a smaller tuna), and each plate had to have some form of grilled in it. In the end, Bobby totally demolished Curtis by a margin of 49 – 37. The judges gave Curtis stunningly low marks on taste. They raised their eyebrows on the first couple of dishes of Curtis’s because the dishes only seemed to have a throwaway grilled ingredient. And, except for the last dish, Curtis’s dishes were more standard and perhaps too conservative for this competition. We’ve watched a lot of Iron Chef. This one was the biggest defeat we’ve seen yet. It was pretty much a knockout. No contest.

Oh well.

Bobby Flay v. Curtis Stone
26 – 19 on Taste
12 – 10 on Plating
11 – 8 on Originality
49-37 Total

Bobby Flay v. Omar Giner of La Isla Restaurant in stuffed French toast throwdown

Throwdown: Tonight’s episode pits Bobby Flay against Omar Giner of La Isla Restaurant in a stuffed French toast throwdown. Food Network writes: “Omar Giner, the chef and owner of La Isla Restaurant has been bringing a taste of Cuba to Hoboken, New Jersey since 1996. Omar thinks he is part of a special called “Brunch: Over The Top” featuring some of the best brunch spots across the United States. What he does not know is Chef Flay is getting ready to cross the Hudson with his own extraordinary version French Toast and he is ready to stuff the competition!”

Dishes: details soon.

Judges: Steven Picker, chef and owner of Good Restaurant, Greenwich Village, NYC. Rosie Saferstein, writer for Table Hopping with Rosie with NJ monthly.

Winner: Omar won, but it was surprisingly close! Bobby almost pulled off the upset. Bobby falls to 4-8 for the season.

Throwdown: Bobby Flay loses to Nick Vazquez in cuban sandwich throwdown

Throwdown: In this week’s episode, Bobby Flay challenged Nick Vazquez to a cuban sandwich throwdown. Born in Cuba, Vazquez has a Cuban restaurant Azucar (“something sweet and delicious”) in Jersey City, NJ.

Food Network describes the challenge: “Cuban born chef Nick Vazquez came to America in the 1960’s. And luckily for the New Jersey food-loving locals, he never abandoned his Cuban roots. His popular restaurant Azucar serves up delicious Cuban classics like ropa vieja and vaca fritta. But, it is his Cubano Grande sandwich that has customers doing the Rumba.”

Dishes: Nick made a classic Cubano sandwich, with Cuban bread pressed flat and crispy on the outside. Nick seasoned his pork shoulder with a rub consisting of garlic, oregano, cumin (a necessary spice for Cuban cooking giving it an earthy texture and aroma), and sour oranges. The pork marinates for an entire day. Afterwards, Nick covered the pork in salt, which keeps the moisture in the pork while cooking it for 5 to 6 hours at 350 degrees. The salt peels off in a layer when done. Nick used layers of Virginia ham and park, with thin slices of long Kosher pickles and mayonnaise for his dressing. The sandwich was then pressed in a sandwich press (plancha) until the cheese melts. Yum!

Bobby’s cuban sandwich had pulled pork in it, a departure from the traditional ingredients. Bobby also used Swiss cheese, ham, and homemade pickles. Instead of sour oranges, Bobby used regular orange juice and lime juice to marinate the pork shoulder, which was seasoned with salt, pepper, and cumin. After searing the pork, Bobby also added chicken stock, onion, fresh oregano, whole garlic cloves, bay leaves, and the sour oranges mixture. Miriam made fresh pickles–adding sugar, salt, mustard, dill, coriander seed, garlic, and some jalapeno to white vinegar while heating it to dissolve it, and then pouring it onto sliced cucumbers. The pickles need between 4 to 48 hours. For his dressing, Bobby used mustard, mayonnaise, and roasted garlic (a Bobby twist).

Judges: Cuban chef Fernando Marulanda and Cuban Broadway star Olga Marandez.

Winner: Nick Vazquez! But it was a closer decision than expected. The judges loved both sandwiches. Nick especially loved the crispiness of both breads–as tested by his tapping on the top of each breads to make a “sexy tang.” While enjoying Nick’s traditional sandwich, Olga also loved the pulled pork in Bobby’s, which gave it a modern, gourmet taste.

Bobby slips to 4-7 for the season.
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This May: The Cooking Channel to feature Bobby Flay in “Brunch with Bobby”

News: Scripps Network, the parent to the Food Network, just announced that it will be launching a second channel devoted to food, this one with the emphasis on cooking. The Cooking Channel will air on Memorial Day, May 31. To our great pleasure, Bobby Flay will host a cooking show devoted to our favorite meal–brunch! The show will be called “Brunch with Bobby.” Resident Foodies can’t wait.

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