Royal Defeats Iron Chef in Competition
Southern cuisine and ostrich. For most, this combination seems offbeat, but Angus Barn Executive Chef Walter Royal proved the two were a winning combination in his recent appearance on "Iron Chef America."
Creating traditional Southern dishes using ostrich -- ostrich burgers, ostrich pot pie and even chocolate souffl using ostrich eggs -- Chef Royal won rave reviews from the judges and defeated celebrity chef Cat Cora 51-43 on the popular Food Network TV show taped Jan. 23.
"I'm proud of my team and the way we worked together under pressure," Royal said. "But I'm particularly proud because I know how hard it is for a challenger to defeat an Iron Chef."
Royal enlisted the help of Angus Barn sous chefs Julia Strickland and Alan McSwain, as well as 13-year-old Christopher Thanhauser, the show's youngest assistant on record, to help him bring out the flavor of the ostrich, a flavorless, dry meat, according to Royal.
"Instead of creating new dishes for the ostrich, I tried to make 'real' dishes and use ostrich in them," Royal said.
Royal made ostrich burger with homemade chips, ostrich satay with peanut dipping sauce, ostrich pot pie with black pepper honey, ostrich fillet with smashed rutabagas and turnips and wilted watercress, and chocolate souffl made with an ostrich egg. The judges particularly enjoyed the souffl.
Judge Joel McHale said, "You managed to take one of the ugliest birds and put it into one of the best desserts."
In honor of his participation on the show, Royal will host "Iron Chef America"-themed dinners at the Angus Barn in March, complete with live video of Royal creating the meal just as he did for the taping last January.
"I want everyone to try the unique dishes I made for the show and experience the same level of excitement we felt," he said.
"Iron Chef America" is based on the format of a very popular Japanese television series using a kitchen stadium format and the famed "secret ingredient." Each week, world-class chefs battle legendary Iron Chefs Bobby Flay, Mario Batali, Masaharu Morimoto and Cat Cora in a 60-minute showdown for the best dish based on taste, presentation and originality.
With 11 years under his belt as executive chef at the Angus Barn, Royal is one of only two chefs from the South, and the only one from the Carolinas, selected to participate this season.
Royal's appearance on "Iron Chef America" is one of many exciting events for the Angus Barn in the coming months.
In addition to the "Iron Chef America"-themed dinners at the restaurant, Royal will be teaching monthly cooking classes. The landmark Raleigh restaurant will also open a new addition to their world-renowned wine cellar in early 2007; it will feature a 36-seat dining room and state-of-the-art kitchen designed personally by Royal.
More like this story