The Next Iron Chef


[Editor: To read about the winner, click here.]

The Next Iron Chef

The Food Network is mining Japan's Iron Chef again.

Super Chef has been making suggestions for years (see previous article "Iron Chef America Meets Survivor") about how to improve the show, and it seems that the Food Network has been studying suggestions.

This time around, the Food Network is going for the not-so-novel set up of a reality TV show competition to choose the next Iron Chef America. Eight American chefs will compete against each other – but not the original four Iron Chefs, to win the fifth spot. The result is The Next Iron Chef, a six-part series premiering October 7 (Sunday) at 9:00 PM ET/PT.

Iron Chef America's Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto, Cat Cora, and Mario Batali

The show begs several question. How were the first four (Bobby Flay, Mario Batali, Masahara Morimoto and Cat Cora) chosen? Why aren't the current Iron Chefs involved? It is not easy to figure out what the criteria are for becoming an Iron Chef. Is it owning a restaurant? Cat doesn't own one. Is it mastery of a single cuisine? Bobby cooks both Spanish, American barbecue and regional specialties. They all have previous Food Network experience: most likely, network executives chose them for TV appeal or to leverage their popularity on other shows.

What about the new contenders? These eight chefs are called "finalists" in the press release, but it doesn't make clear if they have competed regionally or in some national competition. Who to root for? The list includes:
The judges are Donatella Arpaia, Michael Ruhlman, and Andrew Knowlton. Donatella is David Burke's partner at DBD Restaurant. Michael has already judged another reality TV show, the less-than-stellar, Cooking Under Fire (see previous article Cooking Under Fire: Doused") At least there are no judges with public relations backgrounds. But there are no working chefs either, so chances are the chef's skills aren't as important as their appeal to restaurateurs and journalists.

Alton Brown Happily, the able Alton Brown is hosting this show, in addition to his hosting Iron Chef America, Good Eats and Feasting on Asphalt.

Will The Next Iron Chef America make for good food television? Perhaps, since all eight chefs can cook and should be fun to watch. Why would top chefs want to compete on national TV against each other? The money, the exposure, the book and consulting deals to come. Or perhaps cooking in front of a large TV audience is lots of fun.

Get ready: if things work out, then we might be seeing a sixth, seventh and eighth Iron Chef America joining the team.

Anyone taking bets on who will win?

Previous articles:
Iron Chef America: Judge Karine Bakhoum
Iron Chef America: Milliken and Feniger v. Bobby Flay
Cooking Under Fire: Doused
Cooking Under Fire: Already Over Done?
Iron Chef America Meets Survivor
In the Audience of Iron Chef America
Cat Cora Wins on Iron Chef America
The Today Show Emulates Iron Chef America
Anita Lo Defeats Mario Batali on Iron Chef America
Iron Chef Pizza Wars: Batali vs. Puck
Cat Cora: Iron Chef America's First Lady
Iron Chef America: Running on Empty
Iron Chef America v. USA
[Food Television - complete]

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are so many things wrong with this show. Not the least of which is that these contestants, compared to the ones on Top Chef, are higher caliber as such need to be treated differently. Plus, it's totally unclear why passing these eight "tests" would make someone suitable to be an Iron Chef. Finally, the show lost a lot of its appeal after the first show -- any format that would eliminate Traci Des Jardins in the first episode needs to be reevaluated. She and John Besh were the main draws and now one of them is gone!

1:07 AM, October 08, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed - there is a problem when the chefs are more qualified than the judges. In fact, I am so annoyed at how stupid the judges comments are, I might not be able to stomach the whole season.

12:54 AM, October 15, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. I enjoy the show but at the end I keep thinking "these people are judging these chefs?"

10:25 AM, October 24, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you notice every minority went out first. What is up with that?

10:00 PM, October 28, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if I can stomach watching anymore of the food network "elimination" sort of series. I can't believe that Mike Symon is the new Iron Chef. Did he even win his battle when up against any of the existing iron chefs? I personally think that Besh has the personality and skills for the job...he also won battle andouille against Batali. As for that next food network star series...at this point I want to throw up! I can't believe that Amy or Rory actually made it to the finals in that particular series. I can not get into Amy's show at all. The previous series winner, Guy Thierry, needs all the help that he can get! Food network has to be desperate for real talent giving him another season. They don't seem to recognise real talent when it stares them in the face!

6:48 PM, November 12, 2007  
Blogger Wesley said...

John Besh would make the best new Iron Chef. Kindof hoping that Symon loses his first battle. And he needs to shave off the soul patch on the chin.

1:07 AM, November 19, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The critics on this show I think are way to critical. These critics don't smile, and always seem to find something to complain and bitch about. These critics need lighten up and make the chefs feel good and not always on edge and having the critic always breathing down their back. There is nothing worse when someone is breathing down your back and is like with their fingers going tap tap tap.

12:46 AM, October 26, 2009  

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