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Iron Chef 2: The Duel in the Desert Pits Mel Mecinas Against Payton Curry

Chef Mel Mecinas plates his final dish as time runs out.
Chef Mel Mecinas plates his final dish as time runs out.
Jonathan McNamara

Allez-Cuisine!

Whether you're viewing the uniquely Japanese original or Iron Chef America, the concept of pitting culinary greats against each other in a timed cooking battle has been proven time and time again to result in an amazing spectacle and tasty dishes. Last night's Iron Chef II: The Duel in the Desert sponsored by CRAVE Arizona 2009 and Arcadia Fine Wine proved no different.

Held at the Sub Zero and Wolf Showroom just steps from Scottsdale Airport, an audience of 50 or so watched Chef Mel Mecinas of Talavera at The Four Seasons Resort in Scottsdale take on Chef Payton Curry of Digestif in battle "date." The chefs' succulent variations on the theme ingredient were paired with four wines selected by Arcadia specifically for the event.

And what tastes better than Iron Chef cuisine? How about dining for a good cause? Arcadia Fine Wines donated ten percent of all wine sales from last night to Waste Not Arizona.

Chef Mel Mecinas' succulent variations on the theme ingredient: dates.
Chef Mel Mecinas' succulent variations on the theme ingredient: dates.
Jonathan McNamara

Chef Mecinas plated three date-based delicacies including a blue cheese and date fritter, pan-seared duck breast served with butternut squash and date cannelloni and a warm date and pecan tart served with date ice cream.  

Chef Payton Curry's counter attack.
Chef Payton Curry's counter attack.
Jonathan McNamara

Chef Curry played off of the theme ingredient by creating the perfect "date" in one meal. It started with date preserve pancakes, moved on to an ox tail charcuterie on date bread and finished with toasted gnocci stuffed with foie gras and dates in a brown butter sauce. The meal was served with a date cookie and a tiny milk shake.

In the end, Chef Mecinas' cuisine reigned supreme according to a vote by the audience, but everyone was able to walk away appreciating the unique, culinary spectacle. Check below for more shots from the battle.

It's not Kitchen Stadium, but it's pretty close.
It's not Kitchen Stadium, but it's pretty close.
Jonathan McNamara
Iron Chef fans know that the ice cream machine spells trouble. Last night, it spelled culinary success.
Iron Chef fans know that the ice cream machine spells trouble. Last night, it spelled culinary success.
Jonathan McNamara

 

Chef Curry's sous chef prepares dozens of tiny pancakes.
Chef Curry's sous chef prepares dozens of tiny pancakes.
Jonathan McNamara
Plating for Chef Mecinas.
Plating for Chef Mecinas.
Jonathan McNamara
Plating for Chef Curry.
Plating for Chef Curry.
Jonathan McNamara
The contenders meals were paired with the following wines: Wedell Cellars Chardonnay, A.J. Adam "Dhron" Riesling Kabinett, 2007 Martinelli Pinot Noir, and 2007 Terradora di Paolo Aglianico D'Irpinia
The contenders meals were paired with the following wines: Wedell Cellars Chardonnay, A.J. Adam "Dhron" Riesling Kabinett, 2007 Martinelli Pinot Noir, and 2007 Terradora di Paolo Aglianico D'Irpinia
Jonathan McNamara

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