Go Symon! Not only is it our new favorite chef’s first battle in the blue, it’s the “Chairman’s Annual Fall Classic” – in years past there has been apples, squash, and turkey.

The challenger, Ricky Moore, was specifically selected to battle Symon. He’s the head chef of Agraria, where they daily select their farm-fresh produce. (Oh, also? It’s totally the Battle of the Bald – from the chefs to their sous(s?), there’s not a hair in the house!)

The secret ingredient? Thanksgiving. I hate it when the chairman does this. The last time it was “farm fresh produce” and…well, yeah, of course? Duh?

Both chefs start with the turkey of course, as it takes the longest. Moore ripped his to pieces with his bare hands. Symon used a knife. Also early on are the peelings: sweet potatoes, russets, and apples.

Comments on the groundbreaking nature of the battle, yada yada. Oh! Venison! I love anyone who uses venison over turkey at Thanksgiving. Turkey is nasty. Venison *and* bacon! Delicious.

Symon seems to have an apple crumble of some kind. I love apple crumble. The challenger is going with something involving maple ice cream. Can I put the maple ice cream on the crumble?

Cracklins are in the process on Symon’s side, which pleases Alton greatly. Also there is comment on how very quiet the Stadium is. Tsk!

Symon’s first judges! Ted Allen, who is awesome, Alexandra Guaranschelli, AND JEFFREY STIENGARTEN! He gives thanks for crispy skin, by the way. You know, if you’re surprised.

Symon’s got ice cream too, and a sweet cranberry application. I am hungry! Moore’s cranberries are in stock, which could be interesting.

…Ricky Moore has very vile-looking cornbread stuffing that I would not touch. Symon has “old skool” stuffing. I want Symon to win, thankyou.

There are duck eggs looking to get poached on Moore’s side. Oh, and apparently not entirely the battle of the bald – that particular sous did have a bunch of hair.

Brussel sprouts on the challenger’s side. Ew. However, he does seem to have sweet potato chips, which is a point in his favor.

It is noted that Iron Chef coats have sleeves, which Symon does not normally wear. Symon cries out with heat.

Interesting! The challenger is putting his mashed potatoes through a fine mesh seive to mash them. Symon used a potato masher. Once again, I prefer Symon’s method. The only points that the challenger gets is the sweet pototo chips and the venison.

Symon loses an egg! This is why they make extra – and Symon’s got all his plates in motion. The challenger, whose been yelling about plating for 15 minutes, still doesn’t have a one down, according to Alton. Moore is not doing so hot! Oh, there is a pumpkin soup now, with mushrooms and bacon.

OH NO! Symon spilled the grappa into the apple crumble! Oh, but he seems okay with it. Maybe it was going to go in eventually?

Moore’s venison is still raw. Moore is not doing so hot at all. 3 minutes to get that up to a servable temp! It will be pretty sad if Mike wins his first battle on forfeit.

Symon, DONE! He’s wiping plates with 30 seconds left to go. Challenger is darn unhappy, but he’s got to plate with 10 seconds left. Happy Thanksgiving??

Moore’s food was inspired by growing up. 1st course: Pureed pumpkin soup, with apple ragu and bacon. The judges love it.

Cornbread dressing and braised turkey, as inspired by his mom. Awwww. Alexandra doesn’t think the sweet addition wasn’t necessary. Ted likes the stuffing.

Deep fried turkey with zinfandel cranberry sauce. Ted appreciates the crispy skin. Alexandra thinks it is bold to have such thick slices, and Jeffrey tells her to say what she means, which, he tells her, is that the turkey tastes like shoe leather. Typical Jeffrey.

Venison wrapped in bacon with potato rubachon, which Alexandra loves – even though she normally hates potato puree. Jeffrey actually likes the brussel sprouts.

Sweet potato streusel is up next with apple cider. Alexandra calls it seduction. Ted likes the ice cream.

Symon’s judgment. He wanted to bring out the nostalgia, and at his house they start with drinks and oysters. There’s that grappa. The oyster was in a strange sauce that sounded okay. The judges are very interested in this – and they appreciate the lightness of the first course that is acidic, to cut the later fats.

Turducken spin next. Duck, turkey cracklins, and chicken somehow. Ted thinks turducken is nauseating, but this, being not bird-inside-bird, is okay. Alexandra likes the liver, Jeffrey likes the crunch.

Mashed potatoes with fried turkey liver. Alexandra thinks the breading on the liver was unnecessary. Jeffrey loved the potatoes.

Braised turkey with squash and cranberries next. Ted thinks that the deconstruction of everyone’s traditions is clever, but not too clever, and thus awesome. Alexandra was pleased that the cranberry sauce was tart.

Apple-fennel crumble and ice cream up for dessert. Ted wasn’t expecting to feel the fennel, and he wasn’t too sure about that. Jeffrey wasn’t as sure about the lack of cinnamon in the dish, either.

Verdict!
SYMON TAKES IT!

Taste 24 – ?? (My computer died and I lost the numbers)
Plating 11 – 11
Originality 14 – 10