Knife Fight: Live Halibut

knife fight recap live halibut

Stop braiding your hair and painting your nails because it’s back to boys in the kitchen on Knife Fight. This week, Jason Paluska, a farm-to-table-type chef, will compete against Kyle Itani and his Japanese cuisine

The chef must use all of the following three secret ingredients in at least two dishes:

Cilantro: Ugh. I’m one of those people who thinks cilantro tastes like sweaty socks mixed with despair.

Collard greens: The veiniest of greens, this leaf takes a long time to cook.

Live halibut: Smash it! Crush it! Bust its kneecaps! Kill it!

Ah ha ha, there’s no oil in the fryers so take that out of your bag of tricks, boys. The first halibut meets its end at the hands of Jason with a slice to the neck. Kyle starts a dashi broth and he’s also preparing a sofrito, but with miso. Hmm.

Jason is making ceviche from the halibut, which is basically telling the fish to wander on over to the judges and dive right into their mouths. Is that a mallet to a flopping fish? Yeah. That was Kyle. Charming. He filets the brutalized halibut and slices out the engawa meat.

Kyle brought his own soy sauce and sake, and I’m wondering what kitchen wouldn’t already have a decent soy sauce in the pantry? He delivers his first plate, which is halibut engawa sashimi with flowering cilantro. The judges seem pleased even though the cilantro totally ruins the dish.

Jason comes out carrying a plate of halibut belly ceviche with flowering cilantro slaw. Again, low-key praise, probably due to the presence of cilantro.

Oh good, fryer oil arrives. We’re saved! Kyle tries out the fryer first with some fritters while Jason simmers his greens in beer. Kyle adds tomato powder to his crispy fritters and it may be just what the fried food needs. The halibut fritters with sofrito braised collard greens are presented to the judges and boy do they look happy. “The miso is like totally awesome in that…the collard greens makes it sick!” Such professionals, they should all write books.

Kyle goes for the blender with an herb mix to create a cilantro paste. The only thing more disgusting sounding than “cilantro” is “cilantro paste.”

Jason’s last dish is served, and it’s pan seared halibut with barley and collard greens. The judges are not fans. It’s “confusing.” Meanwhile, Kyle’s roasted halibut is overcooked so…whoops? He covers up the mistake with some sauce left over from the first dish and presents roasted halibut with disgusting flowering cilantro paste. “A bit overcooked…I’m a little bummed out.”

So who wins the battle? It can’t possibly be the overcooked halibut, so my money’s on Jason. But I don’t get a say, or a taste. If I did, the secret ingredients would be lamb, marshmallow peeps and foie gras. And the winner is…Kyle? Huh.

I guess Jason’s food was somewhere between subpar and mediocre.

Reprinted from

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