Characters/Pairings: Luke, Elle, Hiro, Ando, Mohinder, Noah Bennet, Angela Petrelli, Adam Monroe, Claire Bennet, Eden McCain, Lyle Bennet, Jeremy Greer, Sylar
Content Advistory: None. Other than crack fiction!
Disclaimer: Heroes belongs to Tim Kring, NBC et al. Also, Iron Chef America is not mine.
A/N: Written for Heroes Advent Calendar 2013
Summary: At Kitchen Stadium, Chairman Mohinder Suresh is about to open a new battle between one of his Extreme Iron Chefs and a new challenger...
On Ao3 or below the cut!
Hiro Nakamura – in a voiceover, with dramatic music playing in the background over shots of Kitchen Stadium.
“A delectable Indian tradition has taken root in American soil. We have been graced with the establishment of our very own Kitchen Stadium, where our nimble Chairman (cut to shot of Mohinder flipping up onto the stage in a suit) has brought together the pungent flavors of East and West. Here is where the best of the best meet and battle in the ultimate gourmet challenge.
“This is, Extreme Iron Chef America!
“All me to introduce a veritable pantheon of culinary giants. Your very own Extreme Iron Chefs, America.”
Quick close-ups of all the Iron Chefs
“Iron Chef Sylar Gray, master of Mediterranean cuisine and unexpected fusion flavors.
“Iron Chef Matt Parkman, American grill master.
“Iron Chef Nathan Petrelli, master of Italian cooking and haute cuisine.
“And Iron Chef Elle Bishop, innovator of world flavor and pioneer in new cooking frontiers.”
“Our Extreme Iron Chefs were all born with powers that help them both in their lives and in the kitchen. Iron Chef Gray’s telekinesis means every item from his pantry is always right where he needs it.”
Quick scene of Iron Chef Gray floating over a dozen ingredients to his station.
“Iron Chef Parkman’s telepathy means that his team works in perfect synch at all time, and no competitor can keep secrets from him, as many a challenger has learned to their dismay.”
Montage of Iron Chef Parkman’s team working with eerie, wordless efficiency.
“Iron Chef Petrelli’s flight means the clock has never caught him out, though the cameras sometimes have!”
Montage of Iron Chef Petrelli flying up to snatch a thrown bundle of herbs from the air, flying from one end of the kitchen to the other to put a dish on the counter before time is called, at one point crashing into one of the overhead cameras.
“And Iron Chef Bishop’s power of electricity means she’s given us some shockingly fresh cooking, sometimes right at the judge’s table!”
Quick shots of Iron Chef Bishop with various proteins between her sparking hands, cooking them. Another shot of her flash-frying/shocking a ham on the judge’s table.
“In mere moments one of these Iron Chefs will be pitted against our challenger; who thirsts to discover our secret ingredient and enter the heat of battle in Kitchen Stadium. Our challenger today is an award-winning prodigy that worked his way up through several of the most renowned restaurants in the world, including Sampson’s and The Watchmaker. Completely self-taught, he’s worked under several famous chefs, including Daniel Linderman and our own Iron Chef Gray. He was the youngest ever recipient of Ted Sprague award for Best New Chef of the year. He’s currently executive chef and owner of Micro in Trenton, New Jersey, where he serves up innovative twists on classic American favorites.
“The Chairman welcomes… Chef Luke Campbell!”
Lights come up on Chef Campbell standing in the doorway, arms crossed. Uncrossing his arms, he walks down the fogged and lit pathway to stand before the Chairman.
Hiro adds in an undertone as Luke makes his entry walk, “Chef Campbell, like our Extreme Iron Chefs, also has an ability. Like the name of his restaurant suggests, he is a microwave emitter. No heating equipment malfunctions will be catching him out today!”
Chef Campbell pauses by the entrance to Kitchen Stadium as the Chairman bows to him.
“Chef Campbell, welcome!”
Luke bows awkwardly in return. “Thanks for having me, Chairman.”
“Your restaurant is called Micro. Will you be able to take down one of the giants of Kitchen Stadium?”
Luke smirks a little, not missing the innuendo. Someone in the audience snickers, and he makes a gesture behind his back. The camera carefully doesn’t show it.
“Chairman Suresh, I’m sure I can be the David to any of your Iron Chef Goliaths.”
Mohinder raises an eyebrow. “Very good. Now, which of my Iron Chefs will you pick to battle today?”
Luke regards the chefs standing on their shadowed pedestals thoughtfully. “Chairman, this is someone I’ve admired for a while, who’s innovative, exciting, and inspiring. I’d like to challenge Iron Chef Bishop!”
The cameras swoop in on Elle, and she smirks and gives Luke a little wave, blowing a kiss in his general direction. Sparks dance on her fingers, and Luke responds by waving a glowing hand.
“Well, this will certainly be an explosive fight!” Hiro says enthusiastically.
The chefs gather in front of the covered ingredient altar, dry ice smoke oozing out from the bottom.
“There is one more ingredient to this battle,” Mohinder says. “Our secret ingredient. The theme on which our chefs will make their succulent variations! Today’s secret ingredient is…” Mohinder makes a lifting motion with his arms and the altar cover is whisked up into the ceiling as dry ice fog spills over the floor. Bowls of glittering colored sugar, fluffy powdered sugar, and artful bouquets of sugarcane were strewn around the altar.
“Sugar!” Mohinder announced. The audience gasped and applauded, and both chefs looked pleased, Luke rubbing his hands, Elle grinning widely.
“Allez-cuisine!” Mohinder shouted, making a chopping motion with his hands. Both chefs lunge for the altar, grabbing bowls and sugarcane and handing them off to their sous chefs.
Both jumped back to their sides of the kitchen, Luke pulling Lyle and Jeremy in for a quick conference.
“Lyle, get those short ribs in the pressure cooker once I get the rub ready, and the pork belly too. Jeremy, get on the ice cream and lava cake. I’ve got the pickles, and the rubs, and I’ll be taking care of the rest of the protein once it comes out. Compote, sauces, and the funnel cake. Got it?”
“Yeah.” “Good to go.”
“And it’s high fives all around on Chef Campbell’s side of the kitchen. I think I heard him say funnel cake? Ando?”
From one side of the kitchen, Ando, the floor reporter, walked over to Luke, nearly getting run over when Luke came barreling through with a huge bowl he liberally filled with sugar, water, vinegar, and spices. Knives flashed and vegetation went everywhere as he sliced up cucumbers, peppers, and jimeca.
“Chef Campbell, did you say funnel cake?”
Luke kept his hands moving, more vegetables going into the bowl as he responded. “Yup. ‘Cause why not? Best use of sugar. Ever.”
Ando laughed a little nervously as the knife flashed within inches of his nose, and Lyle could be heard to snicker as he backed up a pace. “And what are you doing there, Chef?”
“Pickles for the barbecue ribs.”
“Ribs in sixty minutes?”
“We like to live dangerously at Micro.”
Jeremy actually laughed out loud, and Ando took another step back as Luke’s knifework got a little flashy.
On the other side of the kitchen, Elle waved over her sous chefs, Eden and Claire. “Get the spices going for the hot chocolate, and prep the corn, Eden. Claire, brownies and ice cream. I’ve got the pork and I’ll do the skewers.” All three scattered without another word, collecting ingredients and digging out cooking equipment with odd little smiles on their faces.
Ando sidled over to talk to Iron Chef Bishop. She looked at him and pulled out a huge butcher’s cleaver and began to hack apart sugarcane. He sidled away. Hiro cleared his throat self-consciously and continued his commentary.
“Both of our chefs are working furiously, all forms of sugar in play. I see Jeremy over on Chef Campbell’s side working with simple syrup, spices, and food coloring, and laying it out in molds on a sil-pat, Lyle mixing together what looks like an ice cream base while several pieces of dried fruit are boiling in what looks like a thick sugar mixture, and Chef Campbell himself using a lot of brown sugar in what appears to be a barbecue sauce…?
“On Iron Chef Bishop’s side, we see a mixture of sugar, corn, and cream in ramekins in a water bath that Eden is putting into the oven. Perhaps a corn pudding? And roast pork being graced with a sugar rub from the Iron Chef herself, and then, ah, she’s skewering them on pieces of sugarcane to roast! Very nice.”
The battle raged on, sugar flying everywhere on both sides as the time ticked down, garnishes and dishes going every which way as they plated their final dishes. Chef Campbell actually does a few little odd jumps as he plates, and the sharp-eyed might have noticed tiny bolts of lightning coming from Iron Chef Bishop’s side of the kitchen. He glowered at her, and unobtrusively aimed a hand at a pot, making something dark and gooey explode over the stove. Elle nearly shrieks in dismay as Claire frantically spoons enough of the sauce up to drizzle of their final dish.
“And that’s the horn! Battle Sugar is over!” Hiro said. “Now we’ll take this up to our judges for a tasty test. Today we have Adam Monroe, a New York institution, owner of the famed Kensi restaurant, Mr. Noah Bennet of the Company, enigmatic guru of all things culinary, and Angela Petrelli, restaurateur and critic for the past forty years, known for her oracular knowledge of future food trends.”
The Chairman gestured Chef Campbell forward. “Please tell us about your dishes.” Luke’s shoes were still smoking, and he swayed a bit from side-to-side as he talked.
“Today I have for you spiced sugar barbecue ribs with fresh pickles, candied fried pork belly with funnel cake, crystalized fruit sorbet with molasses spiced twill cookies, mocha lava cake with dark caramel sauce, and shattered stained sugar glass with roasted marzipan and apple-plum compote. Let me just warm those up for you…” Luke held his hand above each warm component before it was served to the judges, a wide smile on his face. Angela smiled at him, perfectly poisonous, as she let each bite past her lips.
“Though this is a sugar battle, I think you’ve achieved a nice balance. The addition of the pickles with the pork, the salt with the pork belly, and the spice and coffee of your desert courses temper the sweetness nicely,” she said.
“If you overlook the toughness of the ribs,” Noah pointed out. “I expect mine to be a lot more tender, and you lose a lot of the smoky flavor by just nuking them.”
“Well, what can you expect? Chef Campbell’s restaurant is a tapas place,” Adam said, pushing aside his place. “A little flavor is all we can hope for.”
Luke’s smile crystallized in place like sugar as he regarded Adam, and his hand twitched, making the last of the shattered sugar glass melt into boiling hot liquid that he accidentally bumped on Adam’s lap. He hissed in utter agony, and Angela smiled broadly at Luke, making a high score on her scorecard. Noah Bennet seemed to be hiding a smirk.
Mohinder frantically waved Elle forward as Adam’s skin regenerated itself to the point of him not screaming.
“Good luck, micro-boy,” she muttered under her breath. “Scalding the judges is a surefire way to win.”
“You saw Angela Petrelli’s face, right?” Luke shot back, and swaggered off.
Elle glared daggers at him before turning a megawatt smile on the judges. Ignoring the Chairman’s opening speech, she launched right in to her dishes. “Today I have for you sugar-rubbed pork on sugarcane skewers, sweet roasted corn pudding, amaretto crème brulee with sugarplum ice cream, brownie parfait with mint crème, and spiced hot chocolate ice cream with cocoa nibs and chili-cinnamon biscotti.” As the crème brulee was served, Elle zapped the sugared top with electricity to caramelize it.
“Lovely, my dear,” Adam said. “A truly sweet sensation.”
In the background, one might have noticed Luke mock-gagging. Angela Petrelli looked like she had eaten a toad.
“A bit over-sweet for my tastes, though the pork was perfectly prepared.”
“Very well-done dishes, very tasty, but maybe a bit less innovative. I don’t feel like you pushed yourself,” Noah said, looking sternly at Elle.
The cameras cut away before Elle could do anything more than look shocked and narrow her eyes, Hiro frantically saying they’d be back after a short break.
Now both chefs stood at the empty altar, the Chairman standing above them on the steps. Faint wisps of smoke were still being fanned out of the air by the frantic support crew.
“Today, two champions met in Battle Sugar here in Kitchen Stadium. The judges have spoken. And the winner is…”
He paused dramatically until Iron Chef Gray, standing up from the audience, began to make a classic cutting gesture with his hand.
“Iron Chef Bishop!” Mohinder shouted frantically. Elle grinned in triumph as Mohinder dove to one side of the stage, out of Iron Chef Gray’s range. The show broke up into chaos as Sylar and Mohinder began yelling at each other, and Luke was able to get right next to Elle.
Luke grinned and slipped a rather warm hand into Elle’s back pocket. “You think they’ll figure out we know each other before Sylar offs Mohinder one of these times?”
“Not if I keep setting your shoes on fire.”
“It’s a date.”