Even though last night’s dinner at XIV entitled “East Meets West” was not a competition between chefs Katsuya Uechi (of Katsuya fame) and Michael Mina (XIV, and many more), I donned my Hell’s Kitchen clothes (the ones I was wearing when I judged in episode 4.08) and could not stop myself from comparing the dishes that were served side by side.
The room was absolutely packed with excited diners. Both chefs had to prepare items using the same main ingredients: American caviar, Japanese Thai snapper, big eye tuna, Nantucket “Sugar Drop” bay scallops, Jidori Chicken, American Wagyu short ribs and Petits Fours. While XIV’s executive chef Steven Fretz usually works for Mina, on this night he was helping both chefs to serve the best food possible, and his efforts certainly paid off.
Who prevailed? The winner is Michael Mina. But this does not mean in any way that Katsuya Uechi’s preparations were not interesting and flavorful. In fact, I’m looking forward to a rematch.
You can click on each photo to enlarge. All photos by Sophie Gayot.