Military Grill Battle Fun Facts — Iron Chef America Special Edition

by in Behind the Scenes, Shows, June 3rd, 2012

military grill battle behind the scenes
Behind the scenes on Iron Chef America, Food Network’s culinary production team is responsible for making sure that the rival chefs have everything they need to cook and present their dishes — from a stocked pantry to plenty of serving vessels — even outside of Kitchen Stadium. Daniella LaRosa from Food Network Kitchens recently shared some fun facts about what it took to pull off last night’s special episode for Grilling Week — the first-ever Military Grill Battle in Hawaii — that pitted Iron Chef Cat Cora against Iron Chef Michael Symon and Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. They weren’t alone, though: Each Iron Chef was paired with a sous chef from the Navy, Army or Marine Corps.

Was setting up Kitchen Stadium in Hawaii more difficult than the mainland?

Creating Kitchen Stadium from scratch took a lot of time. We had treated both the Tailgating and Grilling battles like they were challenges from Next Iron Chef — specifically in that equipment and pantry items were going to be limited, and they might have to share during the battle. Because shipping anything to Hawaii was so expensive, we ended up having to spend about four full days personally shopping for equipment and specialty foods in Hawaii for the Iron Chefs and their sous chefs to use during the battle. We used all local produce — the Secret Ingredients were all sustainable and local.  We used as many local vendors as we could find or found through word of mouth while we were there. It was also very difficult on both shoot days when we had to set up Kitchen Stadium at 6:00 am using the headlights from our rental car.

ahi tunaHow big were each of the ahi tunas (also known as big eye tuna)?

Each of the fish was approximately 80 pounds.

What was provided for each chef’s cooking station?

Each chef got salt and pepper, a cutting board and small utensils. Then there was a shared equipment bank that included pots, pans, bowls, fryers, food processors, stand mixers, meat grinders, meat slicers, ice cream machines and blenders. All equipment was communal.

How much canned ham was purchased for the Hawaii specials?

We purchased 30 cans of the delicious canned ham at a local Japanese supermarket.

What was the most memorable part about shooting at the military base?

There are two that standout. The first was when the military band learned the theme song from Iron Chef America. Hearing it come to life was a very special treat after long, hard days of work. The whole crew had goose bumps while the band was playing it. And secondly, when the huge military helicopter took off and later landed at the base with the Iron Chefs — very memorable.

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Comments (17)

  1. Rueben says:

    I always love seeing our military. It was great that the three military chefs were mentored by the Iron Chefs. Ahi Tuna was a great secret ingredient. Chef Symon rocked out his dishes both creatively and taste-wise. Congratulations!!

  2. Laura says:

    I just wanted to make a point of saying I love Iron Chef America.. But I am very disappointed that the US Coast Guard is not represented in this Challange. They have a big base in Hawaii and it would of been a full and just battle. Just because they are a smaller branch does not make them any less important with awsome chefs, my husband was one of them!

    • Sarah says:

      Agree wholeheartedly!

    • Vanessa says:

      If you're going to be a turd, go lay in the yard. Really? You're going to belittle men and women who are doing more than sitting around on their fat butts playing computer games all day? You obviously have never served your country in any capacity. Leeches and idiots like you are what the men and women in our armed forces are protecting. May you never go out on a boat with a buddy and some beers, get stuck in the middle of nowhere when you run out of gas, and have to depend on the Coast Guard to save your sorry skin. Please be wearing a t-shirt that says, "Coast Guard might as well be Mall Security." when they pull up…

  3. Laura says:

    What was the name of the rice stew Cat Coira and Morimoto did? Biba…??? I would like to try it at home.

    • Scott D. says:

      It's called Bibimbap. There are 2 recipes on the Food Network web site. Unfortunately, they aren't from the Iron Chef America show. Good Luck.

  4. Candice says:

    I was there :) Does anyone know if / when this will be available on iTunes??

  5. NelleGCSUB says:

    I just got done watching this episode, and I would just like to say how much fun it was to watch some of the iron chefs work with and teach members from our military. I also enjoyed that it was in Hawaii, and that Ahi Tuna was the secret ingredient; it added a nice twist that could have had the iron chefs and military chefs relieved to see. This episode was fun!

  6. Sarah says:

    Does anyone remember the name of the dish that Chef Miromoto used Spam in?

  7. Carol says:

    It was fun to see this set in Hawaii with two Hawaii 5-0 cast members. Daniel did a great job judging. I was wondering why the "chairman" didn't eat. Oh, and for 5-0 fans, I am glad that they have moved away from the Wo Phat story line. I mean, if they want to catch him, they just need to go to New York and the Iron Chef show to find him…

  8. jason says:

    when did this air and when will it repeat?

  9. Karen Tanner says:

    My husband was stationed at the Marine base in 1971 It was good to see it again. What a grw#t thing o do for the military. It was a boost to their moral and a blessing to the audience. I hope this will e done again soon or at least once a year. Blessings to all who made the show possible.

  10. rugumayo richard says:

    i love iron chef Amarica.

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