In Battle Yogurt, chef Dominique Crenn at San Francisco's Luce triumphed over Iron Chef Michael Symon in the new episode of Iron Chef America that aired last night. (And sidenote: Her restaurant in the Intercontinental Hotel is pronounced loo-cheh, not "loose" as host Alton Brown said on the show.) Crenn was the eighth Bay Area chef to compete on the show, and one of the only ones to win or, as she put it in her charming French accent, "I kick his ass."
Overall she beat Symon by nine points, winning in part for the artful presentations of her five dishes, opening with a palate cleansing cucumber soup with yogurt sorbet, moving on to a composed "garden" dish similar to one of her signatures at Luce, and also serving squab with a Moroccan-spiced eggplant ragout, yogurt, and small round of crepe that judge Andrew Knowlton dubbed a do-it-yourself "taco" and called it "whimsical." Also judging last night was Eat Real Fest founder Anya Fernald.
Crenn claims that show was edited to make the battle seem a lot closer than it was, and that judges actually gave Symon a much harder time about his food than you see in the episode.
Previous local chefs who've competed on Iron Chef America are Traci Des Jardins (who beat Mario Batali), Chris Cosentino, Charles Phan, David Kinch, Ron Siegel (of the Ritz, who once triumphed on the original Japanese version of the show), Mourad Lahlou, and Nate Appleman. Crenn also pointed out that August 8, the day of the episode's airing, is also the Feast of St. Dominic, her namesake, so perhaps that gave her a little boost.
Check local listings, but in case you missed it Crenn's battle re-airs on the Food Network on Thursday, August 12 at 9 p.m.
Also, Crenn will be offering a special Iron Chef prix fixe menu at Luce starting today, and running through September 6, for $65 per person.
Below, a photo of Crenn's third course, which featured cubes of condensed yogurt alongside compressed melon and seared mini scallops, courtesy of the Food Network.
Earlier: Dominique Crenn Talks Iron Chef, and How Competition Over Food Is Stupid [Grub Street]