Iron Chef – Raw Edition

We got a new challenge Tuesday – a Raw Iron Chef challenge. We’ve spent the past several days learning about raw food, so it was appropriate that we got a test of sorts – Sylvia Heisey, owner of locally-renowned Beets Cafe, stopped by to guest judge a raw food Iron Chef competition. The atmosphere in kitchen stadium was electric, as Alton Brown might say.

But before that…

Raw Mediterranean

Chef Alicia showed us how to adapt a few raw concept to Mediterranean cuisine. We made dolmas using raw “rice” (made from shredded zucchini), raw falafel, and some sauces.

Below: Plating raw falafel balls with a vegan tzatziki sauce.

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Below: Chef Alicia discussed plating for a buffet presentation. She showed us the ruching technique, whereby you scrunch up the fabric on your buffet table to create texture and depth.

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Below: Yummy dolmas stuffed with zucchini “rice,” currants, and good stuff.

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Iron Chef – Raw Food Edition

Are humans competitive by nature? Perhaps so, perhaps not, but people definitely get excited at the chance to put their creative hats on and see how far they can push their creativity and skill. Of course, Natural Epicurean students are no different. A winner from Group B was selected and to raise the stakes even higher, the top teams from Groups A and B were compared to select an overall winner. My team got noted for the creativity of the mock crabmeat dish (I have to give props to Emily for the concept, which was excellent), but the judges didn’t think any of our dishes rated tops in our Group in terms of flavor. The overall best team across both groups, a team from Group A, got new knives.

Below: One of the Group B teams came up with raw “burgers” which looked quite similar to the real deal, thanks to some carefully placed sesame seeds.

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Below: One team hollowed out these small tomatoes and stuffed them with a mock BLT.

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Below: A raw sushi presentation with coconut meat standing in for the typical fish topping. Papaya “ginger” looked amazingly like the real deal. Each bit was topped with an apple-miso paste.

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Below: I worked with a teammate to create this mock crabmeat stuffed into avocados, sitting on a lemon-miso kale salad.

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Below: Sylvia Heisey (left) and Chef Rosa, one of our regular instructors, evaluates one team’s Iron Chef meal.

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