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Celebrity Cooking Challenge

Guest blogger John-John Williams IV reports:

I just love the holidays! I get to spend extra time in the kitchen cooking and watching T.V. -- that means lots of the Food Network.

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Anywho, one of my favorite offerings over the holiday was the Iron Chef America's Battle Cranberry. ...

The cooking challenge showed Mario Batali and Rachael Ray laying down some serious spices in the kitchen. I was most impressed with Rachel Ray. We all know that the girl can make 30-minute meals, but she truly showed that she can hold her own against the likes of top-chefs Bobby Flay and Giada de Laurentiis.

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Rachel and Mario worked it out with their cranberry-accented dishes that included pancetta-wrapped cran-glazed shrimp (shrimp and sage, wrapped in thin pork). It was good inspiration as I was whipping up my own feast for a dozen family and friends that I had over later that day. (I wound up serving up spicy dilled shrimp cocktail as an appetizer).

The tension was fantastic as the celebrities scurried to finish their tasty treats. (The food looked so tasty!)

The originality and flair worked in the favor of Rachel and Mario as they scorched Bobby and Giada 53-46. Mario and Rachel won in every category -- taste, plating and originality.

The judges were a little over the top and slightly corny, but the overall concept of the show was great!

I hope the Food Network plans another installment of this show. Next time I would like to see the female contestants in less of a sous-chef role. Both females were the draw of the show and have proven that they are more than capable of holding their own in the kitchen. But at times it appeared that both were taking orders from Mario and Bobby. I didn't appreciate that too much…

I would love to see some tag-team action featuring Gordon Ramsay, Emeril Lagasse, Paula Deen, B. Smith, Martha Stewart, or G. Garvin.

What cook/chef would you bet the kitchen sink on?

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