Amanda Rockman, the corporate executive pastry chef of New Waterloo, beat Bobby Flay on the latest episode of his Food Network show Beat Bobby Flay, which aired earlier on Thursday evening. In Peeling Away, she bested Flay with her tiramisu, which happens to be served at Cafe No Se on South Congress.
Rockman, who is an alum of Top Chef: Just Desserts, was already in Food Network’s chef database, was often asked to do various shows, including season 13 of Beat Bobby Flay, but she usually declined. However, she said yes this time.
Beat Bobby Flay is more of a “competition show slash roasting of Bobby Flay,” Rockman described. “He keeps it light-hearted, there’s a lot of talking trash.”
The episode was split into two segments. First, Rockman had to compete with another chef, Vicki Wells, who used to work with Flay for a long time. The chefs had to make something with a surprise ingredient — bananas — within fifteen minutes.
“‘Don’t bake,’” was Rockman’s approach because of the time constraints. She ended up making a version of pain perdu with sliced, soaked brioche and a custard. She fried it closer to the end time so that it would be “moist on the inside, crispy on the outside,” she said. Then she folded bananas into a whiskey caramel sauce and topped it with brûléed bananas.
“I learned my lesson on frying anything,” Rockman explained. She was eliminated from season two of Top Chefs: Just Desserts because of funnel cake that was fried too early.
Her strategy worked and Rockman won. “You’re so happy for a second, and then, ‘Shit, I have to do this again.” The next and final round is against Flay himself. She got to pick what they had to make, and she settled on tiramisu since it’s been on her mind as she is developing the menu for forthcoming Italian restaurant Il Brutto and she’s worked in various Italian restaurants. “I’ve done tiramisu fifteen million ways,” she said.
“It’s always different, which is what I like about tiramisu,” Rockman said. “It’s just soaked, aged ladyfingers, coffee-marsala mousse, and cocoa powder. You can really mess it up, or it can be really great. Something so simple can go so wrong.”
Rockman recreated the tiramisu that appears on the menu at Cafe No Se, with a caramel crémeux, marsala mousse, lady finger coffee streusel, and white coffee foam.
Meanwhile, Flay made a tiramisu with Kahlua mascarpone. “Then, all of a sudden, he starts to make hamburgers,” Rockman recounted, “because he thinks he has this in the bag, and he’s just being really cocky.” She admitted that the burger was “a little under-salted, but still very tasty.”
The judges tasted the dueling tiramisus and Rockman was declared the winner. “I beat the shit out of Bobby Flay,” she said.