After eight weeks on the road to redemption, just one battle stands between the final three rivals, Chefs Nate Appleman, Amanda Freitag and Alex Guarnaschelli, and the culinary kingdom that is Kitchen Stadium. Of course the stakes have been high throughout the competition, as it’s the nature of the Redemption beast for chefs to be eliminated each week, but come Sunday, the rivals are put to the ultimate test in a last-supper challenge, one that will require them to bring their A games if they want to make their dreams of total redemption reality.
The judges’ panel on The Next Iron Chef has made known what they want to see from the chefs’ challenge offerings: elegant, sophisticated plating techniques, unparalleled creativity, expert use of the Secret Ingredient and, of course, ingenious flavor profiles. But looking at the sneak-peek image above from Sunday’s finale episode, it seems as though judge Donatella Arpaia is suggesting that these elements are not enough anymore — that in this all-important finale, the remaining rivals must raise the bar to new levels of Iron Chef-worthy greatness if they want to cook in Kitchen Stadium. Do you think Donatella is referring to one chef’s approach to challenges in particular? Which rival do you think is most in jeopardy of not earning a place among the final two?
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Next Iron Chef judge Donatella Arpaia took home the People’s Choice award at last night’s Meatball Madness, hosted by her fellow maven of Italian cooking, Giada De Laurentiis. Donatella served up classic tomato-braised veal meatballs, a recipe she attributed to her mom, who proudly helped serve them up to hungry crowds all night.
Psyched to finally beat out last year’s winners from the Meatball Shop, whose booth was as popular as ever, Donatella thanked the guys from Pat LaFrieda Meats — stars of Meat Men and sponsors of the event — who were in part responsible for the tastiness of her meatballs. She said she’s purchased her meat from them ever since she got into the restaurant business.
After slinging Neapolitan-style pies at lunch and dinner for the past couple of months, Donatella Arpaia’s eponymously named New York pizzeria rolled out a brunch menu this past weekend.
2010 has been a big year for Donatella—she opened this very personal addition to her restaurant mini-empire, served on the judges’ panel for The Next Iron Chef Season 3 and on several episodes of Iron Chef America, and published her first cookbook, Donatella Cooks. We’d be surprised if the lawyer-turned-restaurateur ever sits still long enough for a lazy brunch, but she clearly gets what it’s all about. Her sunny pizzeria is perfectly suited for relaxing mid-day repasts and the menu is full of carby comfort.
Take the Hangover Pizza. Donatella’s executive chef, Jarett Appell, came up with it when he was making himself some food after a night of, well, too much of the obvious. The blistered crust is topped with breakfast sausage, an egg, and thin, melting slices of cured lardo (pork fat). The whole thing is oozy, decadent, satisfying—a delicious interpretation of the classic breakfast plate. The boss told Jarett to run with it on the brunch menu.
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