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Iron Chefcooking with gas

Iron Chef N.Y. Battle won Food TV its highest rating ever. The second hour of the Sunday, June 25, show pitting New York's Bobby Flay against Japan's reigning Iron Chef, Masaharu Morimoto, pulled in a 2.0 rating/960,000 households for Food, up 33% from a 1.5 for the first hour.

The two-hour special N.Y. Battle grew out of the regular hour-long series, Iron Chef, an import from Japan's Fuji Television. Iron Chef has acquired a word-of-mouth following since Food first put it on the late-night schedule last summer. It combines elements of a quintessential cook-off with the camp of old-fashioned All Star Wrestling.

In each episode, a renowned chef goes up against the incumbent Iron Chef in a timed cooking contest in the elaborate Kitchen Stadium to win the title for which the show is named. Judges range from gossip columnists to pop singers to self-proclaimed gourmands who ceremoniously taste each dish and pronounce it adequate, tasty, mushy, too salty, fun, piquant or whatever strikes their fancy.

In the New York version, Flay and Morimoto whipped out rock crab dishes at a makeshift Kitchen Stadium for the likes of publishers Tim and Nina Zagat; actress Donna Hanover (New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's estranged wife); and a member of the audience. After suffering a self-inflicted knife injury, Flay stepped on a wet floor and took a few volts of the electricity running through the ovens and surrounding set. Morimoto emerged with his title intact.