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'Next Iron Chef' winner Jose Garces racks up victory


Chef Jose Garces proved once and for all that he's worthy of entering the pantheon of Iron Chefs in an ultimate showdown in Kitchen Stadium against Chef Jehangir Mehta.


Both chefs had been strong competitors throughout the competition, and their various fortes and foibles came into focus on "The Next Iron Chef" finale Sunday -- Garces with his technical expertise and Mehta with his innovation. A look back at the savory competition:


Recipe:


Prep time: Checking cable provider for show time and mixing a martini.

Cooking time: 60 minutes, the duration of the show

Serves: Viewing audience


Ingredients:


1 Nimble chairman: Mark Dacascos


2 Rival chefs:

Chef Jose Garces

Chef Jehangir Mehta


2 Staffers:

Host Alton Brown

Stadium correspondent Kevin Brauch


6 Judges:

Donatella Arpaia

Anya Fernald

Jeffrey Steingarten

Iron Chef Bobby Flay

Iron Chef Morimoto

Iron Chef Michael Symon


Secret ingredient: Racks & ribs, specifically: pork baby back ribs, country ribs and spare ribs; buffalo rack and loin; beef short ribs


Amuse bouche


The competitors had to create five dishes with the racks and ribs that best exemplified the American melting pot while of course using imagination and delivering excellent food.


The secret ingredient was particularly challenging because usually the meat would require longer cooking times to break down the connective tissue. So naturally, the chefs bust out the pressure cookers!


The hour flies by. Garces doesn't have any major problems, but he's slower to get to plating than Mehta, who of course busts out the ice cream machine. Only hiccup is when the lid on one of Mehta's pressure cookers refuses to budge (temporarily).


Note: Just a wish, but wouldn't it kick ass to see "Top Chef" Hung Huynh speeding around Kitchen Stadium and breaking records for deboning a chicken?


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