One Chef's High Hopes for Redemption on Beat Bobby Flay
When Chef Martin Rios advanced from Round 1 to Round 2 on Beat Bobby Flay tonight, he took his place opposite Bobby Flay in the kitchen and prepared to do battle against him — for the second time. It was just a few years ago that Martin battled Bobby on Iron Chef America, where he lost to the Iron Chef. So it's no surprise that Martin declared, "This is it," as he stood face-to-face against Bobby. "Since I lost to Bobby on Iron Chef, I've been waiting years for this redemption," he noted.
With Martin's pick of lobster Thermidor as the challenge dish finally revealed to Bobby, Round 2 kicked off, but a bit unusually. It didn't take long for Bobby to gather up his ingredients, grabbing items like sake and shiitake mushrooms that, while bold, were undoubtedly Asian and quite unlike the traditional picks for a Thermidor. Martin, ever the dark-horse competitor with one failed battle against Bobby behind him, challenged himself to "modernize" the traditional lobster Thermidor recipe, and for that, he told guest Anne Burrell, "I'm not going to put it back in the shell."
It turns out that though Bobby's Asian-focused ingredients were undoubtedly unconventional, the flavors they produced were impressive. Guest Martin Cantone admitted that Bobby’s mushrooms were "freakin' good." Martin’s Thermidor sauced proved to be full of flavor too, but it also boasted an unexpected texture. "We're going to bring it to a different level," Martin said simply. He shocked the guests when he broke out an aeration canister, which would gently foam his sauce. "That's going to give me a very foamy but also very light and flavorful Thermidor sauce," he explained. Even Bobby was wowed by the move, admitting, "That would actually be a good idea, but I didn't think of it."
Though the guys used every available second of their allotted 45 minutes to execute their lobster Thermidor offerings, they managed to complete their dishes on time, and ultimately it was up to three judges to decide the winner following a blind-taste test. Despite Martin's high hopes for redemption, the dark horse ultimately fell to Bobby, who once again proved his culinary prowess by earning victory.
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