BATALI EDGES BARTOLOTTA IN ‘IRON CHEF’ CHALLENGE

In a battle of American star chefs who specialize in Italian cooking, Mario Batali narrowly defeated Paul Bartolotta on a new "Iron Chef America" episode that aired Sunday on the Food Network.

The New York-based Batali, who has three restaurants in Las Vegas, claimed a 57-54 victory over Bartolotta, who took Chicago’s Spiaggio to great heights before moving to Las Vegas to open Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare.

The secret ingredient was rice.

Bartolotta said he challenger Batali because they are friends and he "is the goliath of Italian cooking."

The judges were Ted Allen, Victoria von Biel , and Mario Rizzotti.

It’s the second time this year that two Las Vegas chefs battled on “Iron Chef.” In March, Bobby Flay of Mesa Grill prevailed against Akira Back of Yellowtail, The Light Group restaurant that opens soon at Bellagio.

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