Highlights from Iron Chef America: Battle Oktoberfest

See top moments from the special themed episode, Iron Chef America: Battle Oktoberfest on Food Network.
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Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P.

The Iron Chef Team

Iron Chefs Geoffrey Zakarian and Michael Symon have been teamed up by the Chairman to take on the first battle in a new series of themed battles on Iron Chef America.

The Challenger's Team

The challenging chef is Chef Bernhard Mairinger (center), an Austrian who loves to put modern twists on classic Austro-German dishes at his restaurant, Bierbeisl, in Beverly Hills, Calif. He is joined by Chefs Raphael Ianniello and Alexander Walzer.

Battle Oktoberfest

The Chairman announces today's battle theme, Oktoberfest. The altar is revealed, brimming with ingredients that make up a veritable Bavarian feast, including pork, veal, pretzels, sauerkraut and beer.

The Challenge at Hand

Each team must create five courses, with the first dish prepared within 20 minutes for the judges. A culinary curve ball, which needs to be incorporated into one dish, will be revealed later. Iron Chefs Symon and Zakarian are looking forward to cooking with the ingredients, but they are up against Chef Mairinger, who has an upper hand since he cooks with them every day.

The Challenger's First Course

Chef Mairinger plates his first dish of braised baby gem lettuce with pan-smoked seared trout, pretzel chip and apple mustard. He presents the dish to the judges with just seconds to spare.

The Iron Chefs' First Course

Iron Chef Symon decided to use the pretzels to create a spaetzle for his first course. To do so he combined flour and pulverized pretzels. Here he plates it in a sweet and sour broth flavored with ham hock, beer and dried cherries. The judges award the dish a perfect score of 15, beating Chef Mairinger's dish, which was given 11 points.

Beer and Bacon in Dessert

Iron Chef Zakarian uses beer to create a base for what will become a sherbet for his dessert. He plans to serve it atop a galette made with sliced apples and bacon. A toffee made with fat rendered out of bacon will get drizzled on top.

Smoking with the Culinary Curve Ball

Iron Chef Symon uses the grinder to prepare a sausage for his fourth course. He combines veal shoulder, pork fat, spices and milk powder as a binder to create a unique blend. The sausage will be served alongside bacon, which Chef Symon smoked with wood chips and the culinary curve ball of dried hops.

Infusing with the Culinary Curve Ball

Chef Mairinger adds more liquid to his pork shoulder, which is braising in beer. He plans to serve it alongside cheese spaetzle, which will feature the culinary curve ball of hops that was infused into a white wine and cream sauce. The judges end up awarding his dish 13 points, beating the Iron Chefs' dish, which received just 8 points.

The Iron Chefs' Second Course

Poached cod with pretzel, horseradish and sauerkraut sauce, pretzel chips, created by Iron Chefs Symon and Zakarian

The Iron Chefs' Third Course

Veal shoulder schnitzel with beer and pretzel sauce, poached quail egg, roasted king trumpet mushroom, pickled onion and apple salad, created by Iron Chefs Symon and Zakarian

The Iron Chefs' Fourth Course

Veal sausage and hop-smoked bacon with shaved Brussels sprout and Granny Smith salad, created by Iron Chefs Symon and Zakarian

The Iron Chefs' Final Course

Smoked pork galette with apples, Roquefort cheese, beer sherbet and toffee sauce, created by Iron Chefs Symon and Zakarian

The Challenger's Second Course

Duo of potato dumplings (fried and steamed) filled with speck and Appenzeller cheese, served over cabbage two ways, created by challenger Chef Mairinger

The Challenger's Third Course

Braised pork shoulder with dark beer reduction and cheese spaetzle in hops-cream sauce, crispy onions, created by challenger Chef Mairinger

The Challenger's Fourth Course

Seared venison loin, braised red cabbage, apple-celeriac puree, porcini mushrooms and pretzel blini, created by challenger Chef Mairinger

The Challenger's Final Course

Marble cake with glazed mixed berries, tuile, bitter chocolate ice cream and wheat beer sabayon, created by challenger Chef Mairinger

Originality Prevails

The Iron Chef team of Michael Symon and Geoffrey Zakarian earned a total score of 77 points. Even though challenger Chef Bernhard Mairinger beat them with his expert use of the culinary curve ball, the two Iron Chefs scored 3 points higher in originality and 4 points higher for their first course, winning by a narrow margin of just 2 points in total.

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For more on future Iron Chef America battles and behind-the-scenes content, visit the Iron Chef America page.

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