Paul Bartolotta vs Mario Batali with rice as the secret ingredient. What a match up. If I would have laid odds, I would have given Paul the edge due to his innovativeness.
When it came to plating, Paul went first. He stayed in the over all tradition of Italian/Mediterranean cooking with one great dish after another. The judges loved every dish. The literally found no fault in anything at all. Having seen Mario on a number of occasions, he'd have to not only pull something out of his butt, but also cook like he's never cooked before.
The crimson croc wearing chef did just that. He did a more around-the-world sort of theme and if Paul dished up the foreplay, Mario served the orgasm. His food was amazing. Paul lost by one point in each category. He would have trounced any other chef on any given night.
I guess that's why Mario is an Iron Chef!
BTW, the new season of "The Next Food Network Star" started, and one person went home already. Looks like it could be a good season.