Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sono vs. Flights: Battle Noodles

The most recent battle in the Fire in the Triangle cooking series "went down" last night in Raleigh. It was my first time at such an event, but having watched numerous cooking battles on TV I had a good idea of what to expect. Although I have never been to Sono nor Flights, I was pleased (in general...) with what they cooked last night. We were served a total of three courses from each side, equalling a total of six dishes. The secret ingredient was noodles. Being forced to use noodles probably was not ideal for these chefs, given that they would probably prefer to make their own from scratch, however the clearly worked around this.

While Chef Michael Lee of Sono was responsible for my personal favorite dish, Soy Braised Pork with Beet Infused Sweet Potato Puree, Crispy Wonton and Iced Green Onion Salad, he was defeated by opposing Chef Dean Wendel of Flights. While Lee's soy braised pork was my highest scoring course, the "pro" judges obviously thought differently as they awarded it a very low score. Their low score was likely due to the use (or lack of proper use) of the secret ingredient, noodles (in this case, a fried wonton wrapper was used as a sort of garnish for the potato puree, see below). Another possible reason why Lee lost was due to his lack of a desert course. Instead of including a desert course, Lee decided to include two starter size courses, leaving Chef Wendel's desert to stand by itself. In fact, Chef Wendel's desert was the best of any of his three courses, giving him a big leg up on his competition.

Regardless of the scoring, both chefs preformed quite well in such a high pressure environment.

Chef Lee's Soy Braised Pork with Beet Infused Sweet Potato Puree, Crispy Wonton and Iced Green Onion Salad (note the use of the wonton wrapper. Creative? not so much)
 Chef Wendel's Wonton Pistachio Crusted Blackberry Cake with White Chocolate, Strawberry Sherbet and Pistachio Wonton Cigarette

Photo Credits: Competition Dining Series

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