Next Iron Chef »

Next Iron Chef: Just The Good Stuff (Episode 1)
Posted by Jillian Madison

Another year, another season of Next Iron Chef! This time, 10 well-known celebrity chefs are competing for the title: Anne Burrell, Michael Chiarello, Elizabeth Falkner, Chuck Hughes, Spike Mendelsohn, Marcus Samuelsson, Alex Guarnaschelli, Robert Irvine, Beau Macmillan, and the guy with four (4!) fireplaces, Geoffrey Zakarian.

Back to host is Alton Brown.

Here’s how it works: every week, the chefs will compete in a wild and crazy “Chairman’s Challenge” (think “Extreme Chef” but with people who actually have talent). The two worst performers in that challenge will then compete in a head-to-head sudden death challenge. Whoever loses sudden death is then eliminated.

Spike won the match draw, and chose Marcus as his teammate for the first challenge. He then assigned the rest of the teams: Anne/Robert, Michael/Beau, Alex/Elizabeth, and Beau/Geoffrey.

For the Chairman’s Challenge, the chefs were transported to “the wilderness” (code for “a lake in Orange County, California”). Each team was given an entire pig and limited pantry items, and was asked to create 2 dishes in 90 minutes. Beau somehow managed to roll his ankle and injure himself within the first 30 seconds of the challenge. Robert stole all the kindling. And Geoffrey bragged about the fact that he was building his team’s fire “BECAUSE HE HAS FOUR FIREPLACES IN HIS HOUSE.” Oh. Well excuuuuuuuuse me. Would you like a cookie?

Mind you, this is the same guy who filed bankruptcy earlier this year, presumably to dodge a class action lawsuit from restaurant employees whom he allegedly failed to pay. But he has four fucking fireplaces!

Meanwhile, the cooking continued. Guarnaschelli was upset that she burned an entire pig leg. Anne planned the entire menu for her team while Robert just followed her orders. And Marcus/Spike simmered their pork dish in buckets of LAKE WATER. Yum!

With just a few minutes left to go in the challenge, Chiarello ran off into the wilderness to gather up some “wild hyacinth” he spotted on his way in. Say it with me: “of course he did.”

The judges for the show are: the token Iron Chef who has the inside scoop (Michael Symon), the token overly-critical guy with the exotic accent (Simon Majumdar), and the token Asian lady who likes everything put in front of her (Judy Joo).

The judges said Robert and Anne didn’t serve their skin crispy enough. Michael and Chuck didn’t serve enough pig ears in their salad. Marcus and Spike cooked in LAKE WATER, and served “anorexic” chops. Alex/Elizabeth served one good dish and one bad dish. But the judges loved both dishes that Geoffrey and Beau put in front of them.

The most nauseating part of the 90 minute show came when Michael Symon told Geoffrey there was a lot of “finesse” in his dish. Geoffrey then slyly turned to the camera and flashed a grin, as if to say, “You hear that, world? MY DISH HAD FINESSE, BITCHES.”

Of course, Geoffrey and Beau were named the winners. The bottom performers were Spike and Marcus, so they had to compete in a 30-minute sudden death challenge using scallops. It was totally awkward, because the other 8 competitors were standing around in the background watching them and cheering them on. There was a lot of Beau Macmillan being all “little league dad” and screaming “YOU CAN DO THIS. YOU GOT THIS. GOOD EYE. GOOD EYE.”

In the end, it was a close battle, but SPIKE was the one sent home. And then there were 9.

Stay tuned next week, when the chefs create stadium food at the San Diego Padres ballpark! Hopefully, the obnoxious hashtag – and dying whale door noises – will be gone!

Early FNH predictions: You’ll never, ever convince me the winner isn’t predetermined before the first episode films (hey, I’m a skeptic and I’ve been around the television block a time or two). Television is run by executives who care about profit, and that is all. Therefore, the winner will have to be someone entertaining to watch – which eliminates boring people like Chiarello and Samuelsson. The winner will also have to be someone the public will embrace and recognize, which eliminates people like Chuck Hughes and Geoffrey Zakarian. And right now, there are no female Iron Chefs. The Food Network won’t want to be labeled sexist, so I’m thinking a woman WILL win this season. The only three women are Anne Burrell, Alex Guarnaschelli, and Elizabeth Falkner. We’ll see how it plays out!

Other posts on Food Network Humor:

---Next Iron Chef: Just The Good Stuff (Episode 2)
---Anne Burrell, Robert Irvine, and Alex Guarnaschelli Will Compete To Become The Next Iron Chef
---Next Iron Chef: Just The Good Stuff (Episode 4)
---Next Iron Chef: Just The Good Stuff (Episode 6)
---Next Iron Chef: Just The Good Stuff (Episode 7)

    150 Responses

  1. Jennabella says:

    My 13 month old son started to cry when he saw the giant, creepy video of the Chairman at the beginning(ish).

    True story. Poor kid is probably traumatized.

  2. Mimarin says:

    Isn’t Cat Cora a female Iron Chef? o.o

    • Glen Coco says:

      They fired her and or she quit. For some reason, she is not on new episodes.
      And did anyone else die of laughter when the lady judge said she wanted 12 foodgasms?

      • Mimarin says:

        Oh my! I had no idea. :O Oh well, never liked her anyway. Go, Anne! ^^

        And yes, the foodgasm request was amazing. XD

        • Ina Garten DaVida says:

          I couldn’t believe they didn’t censor “foodgasm”.

          And every time those doors made that noise, I laughed like hell thinking of the dying whale sound comment!

          Really, what purpose does that noise serve? A good squirt of WD40 could eliminate it, I think.

          Team Anne.

      • Leisa says:

        I think she hasn’t been on current episodes because she was pregnant at the time they were filmed. Isn’t she still shown in the intros?

    • MOTOWN SARGE says:

      She is/was. Don’t know about her being asked to leave — I heard she was pregnant with child number three (or is it four?) and that’s why she bowed out…

      • jj says:

        She had #3 (her wife had #4). I haven’t heard anything about another kid, and she didn’t seem particularly pregnant when on TC:JD. I imagine two kids under age 2 is plenty in one house… Perhaps she’s on hiatus from ICA. She’s still on the show’s page.

  3. Fellow Foodie says:

    Go Anne!

  4. deb says:

    if elizabeth or Geoffrey wins , I swear I will NEVER watch iron chef again!!!!!
    I cannot stand them!!!

  5. LauraS says:

    For me the highlight of the entire episode (and perhaps season) was Anne’s dig on Irvine.

    “Is there a rivalry between me and Robert Irvine? No, because I win”

    I didn’t know about Geoffrey’s bankruptcy thing…I always thought he was an obnoxious prick, and that’s just more proof.

    • Mimarin says:

      OMG, I totally forgot about that part. Anne’s so amazing, I can’t even…

    • FuryOfFirestorm says:

      Can’t wait to see Anne kick Beau and Robert’s asses…AGAIN!


      On a different note, I thought the complaint about Mike & Chuck’s salad not having enough pig ears was ridiculous. The damn pig only has 2 ears for fuck’s sake! How much pig ear did you think you were going to get?

      Michael Chiarello skipped (more like sashayed) through a field of flowers? This is my shocked face: 8^|

  6. Gypsy says:

    Chuck Hughes is an amazing chef but they won’t have a Canadian Iron Chef. I think Spike was brought in as a throwaway because he was obviously out of his league here. Zakarian is too.old to be an Iron Chef.

    Those are my only comments/predictions so far. Next week I’m sure I’ll have more…

    • Amber says:

      Because Morimoto is actually from Kansas. Also, two words: Kevin Brauch. If good old Chuck did win, do you think KB would still be Alton’s favorite Canadian?

      And Jillian, I typically agree with you assessments, but think Chuck is a bit more recognizable/likeable than you might be imaging. He’s been popping up a good bit more on FN, which I a, guessing is due to the popularity of his Cooking Channel show. Or possibly that’s just their way of justifying his inclusion as a “Super Chef”. I dunno, either way — my vote is for Anne.

      • gwenhara says:

        Yeah, but Morimoto is a hold over from the original Japanese Iron Chef so he’s grandfathered in.

        How the hell did Spike get on this show? Was it because he had his own SyFy show? Does that mean Pioneer Woman can get considered for Iron Chef?

        • Amber says:

          Yeah, still doesn’t explain
          Jehangir Mehta who is from India and Jose Garces who was born to first generation Ecuadorian immigrants… if they were really concerned with an all “American” chef winner.

          Not that I think Chuck will win (pretty sure KB will take care of Chuck in his sleep before he can steal Alton away).

          And Spike I have only seen on Top Chef back in the day — he was an idiot then too. I am guessing they just needed somebody for whom going home first is still an honor.

        • KelliGerl says:

          Barf! Is Pioneer Woman still on? HAHAAHa…totally forgot about her!

          Go ANNE!!!

        • Jen says:

          Marcel was on SyFy. Spike was a judge on Extreme Chef. Either way, I don’t know what he was doing there.

  7. Jillian F. says:

    I have a theory that Food Network wouldn’t “allow” anyone from Top Chef fame to win Next Iron Chef also. Spike was on 2 different Top Chefs, Elizabeth is a frequent judge and Marcus won Top Chef Masters. I will not be surprised in the slightest if they are picked off pretty early on.

    • Gypsy says:

      Chiarello was a Top Chef Masters winner, too, wasn’t he? And Mcmillan was a finalist, as I recall. I love me some Anne Burrell but I suspect the fix is on for her. She can replace Coral and Batali, so it makes sense.

      Btw,.Judy Joo made foodgasm comments on Iron Chef UK. I remember nothing else about her, though.

      • Drew the Walrus says:

        Nope – Chiarello lost to Rick Bayless. He was in the top 3 though. Regardless, he ain’t gonna win.

      • Yorke says:

        It’s ture that Chiarello and Samuelsson competed on Top Chef Masters, but they also have had significant exposure on Food Network. Chiraello had his own show, and Samuelsson has been all over the network the past couple of years. I think the top two contenders are Anne and Marcus, both in terms of their cooking chops and their stock with the Food Network. I’d be shocked if anyone else won.

        • Dick says:

          Don’t underestimate the corporate synergy appeal of Chuck (who’s becoming the face of Cooking Channel it seems) being an Iron Chef.

        • M says:

          “I think the top two contenders are Anne and Marcus, both in terms of their cooking chops and their stock with the Food Network. ”

          I thought something like that during Forgione’s season … and then Ming Tsai lost. And he already has two Emmys, among his other accolades. All it takes is a bad day at the wrong time.

          (Those are my two favorites, though. I’m not sure “even-tempered” (for a chef) and “boring” are quite the same thing — and anyone who thinks Marcus is boring hasn’t had a meal at Red Rooster, imho.)

  8. Kate says:

    I agree with all your reasons as to why you think a female will win. That female better be Anne Burrell or else I will have officially lost all hope in humanity.

  9. Deaner says:

    Geoffrey has 4 fireplaces.

    And apparently he was also the warden at Shawshank.

    • FuryOfFirestorm says:

      Maybe Geoffrey could get Andy Dufrense to help him with those financial problems he’s been having. Red says he knows a lot about tax law, you know.

  10. Missy says:

    Hi All,
    Love this site and the commentary!
    The vegetarian in me recoiled in horror at the sight of the pig carcass.
    The realist in me also recoiled in horror as I tried to answer this question: “Where did the chefs WASH their hands after handling the raw meat and potentially exposing people to salmonella, the LEAST of their worries?”
    Then, I realized: “The pure, clean lake water!”

    • Ina Garten DaVida says:

      Using lake water…WTF??? Goose toilet water, says I.

    • Crimdellacrim says:

      That lake water creeped me out! Even boiling the water will not remove cysts & other nasties. That’s just common sense–they should’ve both been kicked off for that! Some parasites take months to manifest symptoms in the host. Hmmmm . . .

  11. Moriah says:

    I KNEW they wouldn’t keep Spike around long. Even if I hadn’t seen the ending first, I think the editing really let that show, they didn’t have any footage of him at the beginning. I knew they’d keep Marcus Samuelson over Spike because Marcus is one of FN’s pets, maybe this is just a crazy conspiracy, but I think the whole thing is fixed to some extent. I’ll keep watching though.

    Totally off topic but… Chuck Hughes, I’d tap that

    • Dr. L. says:

      Well, that’s nice, Moriah, but would HE tap YOU? I keep thinking Chuck swings the other way.
      Either way (see that?) Chuck’s cool. I’d eat his food.

      • cloverleaf says:

        Cooking Channel aired a Chefography about Chuck Hughes yesterday and showed him and his girlfriend in their new apartment.

        I think Chuck is very entertaining and his food always looks great. He would make a good addition to the IC roster, but I would love to see Anne win.

    • Jana says:

      I’d tap that too. And Dr. L…I saw his Chefography last night and his girlfriend is HOT. Maybe wishful thinking on your part honey?

  12. Brink says:


    As if it was difficult to come by …

  13. You got that right. says:

    I can’t believe you didn’t even comment on that awkward blush of Alton’s after Judy Joo’s ‘foodgasm’ comment – and his later tweet of – whatever the heck that is.And she never did seem to get there, did she?

  14. Drew the Walrus says:

    I’m just glad Donatella’s not there for this season. She probably would’ve taken a bite of the plate and whined about it.

    • Lisa says:

      Yeah I am so glad not to see her. It didn’t occur to me last night that her annoying face/voice wasn’t there. Quite refreshing.

    • orchidgal says:

      Amen to that. Perhaps she’s not there this time because TPTB do want a woman to win and Donatella always finds fault with the female cheftestants and votes against them.

  15. TennisAce says:

    I actually think Chuck Hughes will win. They have been marketing the bejeebers out of him the last few weeks; he has a show where he now travels the world looking for authentic cuisine; they are now doing a Chefography on him on Cooking Channel and his show Chuck’s Day Off is really quite popular especially with young people. How do I know this? My daughter in law and her friends are madly in love with him, so much so that they have actually gone to Canada to eat at his restaurant/pub.

    • XANDER says:

      I unequivocally agree with everything you’ve said. I’m rooting for Anne, Alex or Chuck so if either one of them wins, I’ll be happy. I’m giving the edge to chuck though. He seems to be one of the most popular shows (if not the most popular show) on Cooking Channel and they do seem to be promoting the hell out of him. The night that Next Iron Chef premiered, they also premiered his Chefography an hour before and continuously played the commercial for one of his specials airing next month; so I think it’s between him and Anne. Also, these is that article on Grub Street saying why they think he’ll win:

  16. Susan says:

    Geoffrey = HAND JOB… Puhleeeeeze FN, get rid of him!!!

  17. MK says:

    I thought the foodgasm coment was a little lame. It’s just not that funny…Also, does anyone else think Alex should shut the f*&! up!!! What the hell is she comparing gladiators to cooks for??!! Oh wait, I’m sorry, chefs ;)

  18. stoup says:

    Alex Guarnaschelli makes me SICK! I can’t stand her on Chopped, but she’s even worse on Next Iron Chef. She should have gone home first.

  19. Annie says:

    I think Anne will win. I don’t know much about Elizabeth and I think Alex G. is too weird

    • LauraS says:

      Alex won’t last long…she’ll end up beating herself, honestly. She seems to get stressed out WAY too easily and starts getting weird. I don’t think she’ll be able to tough it out week after week…she’ll have a total meltdown and she’ll be done.

    • Robert says:

      Elizabeth is an incredibly talented baker and is coming into her own as a savory chef. The problem is that she always chokes on televised competitions. She choked on Food Network Challenges and she choked on Top Chef Masters. When she’s not in competition mode, she fun, relaxed, and very engaging. We’ll see if she can actually handle the pressure of this competition. I’m not holding my breath.

  20. Tyler says:

    God I hope Chuck Hughes doesn’t win. I find him terribly annoying. Every time I see on TV it’s like: “*crazy wide eyes* Oh YEAHMANWOWTHISLOOKSGOODMANICANTWAIT!!!!” -_-;;

  21. [mecha:spider] says:

    In all honesty, I think it’s going to be down to Irvine and Anne AGAIN. :-/ Like always.

    • Ina Garten DaVida says:

      I sincerely hope not but it wouldn’t really surprise me.

      Robert’s got the Popeye arms. He should lay off the ‘roids.

  22. LaLa says:

    I could have figured out without watching the episode that Spike would be the 1st to go, due to lack of experience. Here’s my prediction for elimination:
    Spike – too little experience
    Beau – not enough class
    Zacharian – too much ‘finesse’
    Elizabeth – too little recognition
    Alex – too whiny
    Robert – more muscles than talent
    Marcus – too much talent / too complex food
    Michael – too little personality
    Chuck – not as good as the winner
    Anne – the Next Iron Chef

  23. S.R.S says:

    I don’t know if you guys caught it, but last night when they were advertising Anne’s cookbook, they played that ad twice. The first time, they referred to her as an Iron Chef, but by the time they ad played later, that reference had been removed.

  24. Yorke says:

    I’m also suspicious about the show being fixed, but I disagree that the winner has to be a woman. I think the winner has to meet two criteria:
    1. They have to be able to hold their own cooking against top-notch chefs. I can’t imaging Guarnaschelli doing that on a consistent basis. She looked like she was going to have a nervous breakdown on the first episode.
    2. They have to be marketable within the Food Network Family. That knocks out people like Zakarian, who is a douche, and Falkner, who is just forgettable.

    In the end I think it will be a showdown between Anne Burrell and Marcus Samuelsson. They are both ready-made Iron Chefs, and they both add diversity to mix.

    • Lana N says:

      I disagree that holding ones own against top-notch chefs has ever been a criteria for Iron Chef America, after all Bobby Flay is still there.

    • Hols says:

      Samuelsson irritates me to no end. I don’t know if it’s just that I’ve seen him on so many shows at this point that I can’t deal or what, but if I have to hear his “Born in Africa, raised in Sweden, live in America” shtick one more time, I’m going to bang my head against the wall until I lose consciousness. Also, he’s boring. And there’s something about him that bugs me. Actually, he wasn’t as bad last night as he was during TC: Masters, but still wouldn’t want him on Iron Chef all the time.

      I assume that Anne will be the winner. They need a woman and she’s probably the best pick out of the three — although I don’t mind Alex, as others here seem to. Plus, it’s that story FN loves — started as sous chef on Iron Chef for Batali, comes full circle, yadda freaking yadda yadda, blah blah. And it’s a nice way to cap the network’s other story that Anne Burrell is such a badass that all the male chefs are terrified of her and constantly lose to her.

      I like Anne and I don’t mind watching her humiliate Beau McMillan, Robert Irvine and Aaron Sanchez, but FN has a whole storytelling “arc” on her and this is its natural conclusion.

      • KelliGerl says:

        I agree…Samuelsson is boring…a major snooze fest! And there is something that really irritates me too. I don’t know exactly what it is…maybe because he fucks with his food too much!

      • Yorke says:

        There’s no doubt he’s an asshole as a judge. One time on Chopped he made a chef come over and taste something on the plate to show him how bad it was…even the other 2 judges looked at him like he was a jerk. But there’s also no denying these shows love him. Whether it’s Top Chef Masters or Food Network, they’re doing everything they can to make him a star.

      • Oob Oob Yittik says:

        Okay Samuelsson irritates me too. I can’t put a finger on it, something is just off.

        Interesting to note I’m not the only one who gets that vibe from him. I just figured it was me and since I have major bitch tendencies I kind of disregarded it.

  25. Oob Oob Yittik says:


    I’m only watching for her, I have a girl crush on her big time. I want her to get her ass in my kitchen and make me some food.

    I’m Asian and I want to kick Judy Joo in the teeth for that lame “foodgasm” comment. Really? I defend my Asian sistah’s like nobody’s bidness – but stop with the stupid shit trying to sound funny. Major pet peeve of mine is when unfunny people try and be hip and humourous. Just stop. We all can’t be comedy masterminds.

    But I have to say I’m kinda digging this show. Great to see good chefs competing with each other. :)

  26. Your NameJamie says:

    Can someone tell me how these chefs are any more super chefs than the original contestants on next iron chef? How is Spike a super chef, but Ming Tsai is just regular? So odd.

  27. cheddarpretzels says:

    Guarnaschelli proved herself. She made one of the best dishes of the day! YAY.

    • sugar meg says:

      if only she could do what she does with a gag in her mouth…in a perfect world

      • Jen says:

        HA! My thoughts exactly – she whines WAY too much to be even remotely entertaining.

        • Really? I thought she was funny! She made me laugh out loud with the “watch yourself on TV with a bowl of popcorn for one episode” comment.

          • LauraS says:

            Alex is really funny, I love her tweets..yeah she comes across bitchy on Chopped and last night seemed like a chicken with it’s head cut off, but she seems like a very real, likable person.

    • Brown Sugar says:

      Agree – I love the heck out of her. I was on the fence until I started following her on Twitter; her passion is contagious. I could watch her compete any time. She was stressed on the first episode but I hope she finds her peace with it and becomes a serious threat.

  28. FoodieOne says:

    I wouldn’t discount Marcus as the winner because he’d be the first black Iron Chef. That too would provide diversity…

    • But he’s so……………. boring.

      • FoodieOne says:

        Too true…but he’s BLACK. Think of the added demographic that would bring.

        I gotta say too…I like him, boring or not. I can’t really explain it. Maybe it’s because he’s a genuinely good chef. He also has an unusual accent going for him. Plus…he puts 1,000 ingredients together in unusual ways.

        But…I don’t think it takes a genius to figure out that the main demographic of FN is female.

        My money is on either Marcus or Ann.

    • KelliGerl says:

      his personality blows! He is sooooo…..

      …z.z.z.z…oops…huh? Where am I? Oh…I fell asleep talking about Marcus!


  29. mkeller819 says:

    Did anyone notice that the commercial for Anne’s new book played during every commercial break? Are they already showing the winner? I would like to see either Anne or Marcus become the next iron chef. I’m getting tired of the Robert vs. Anne thing.

    • Dick says:

      They were also promo’ing the hell out of Irvine’s show. Just cross promotion. Got to move units of Burrell’s book and NIC’s going to have her fans tuned in.

  30. Bellossom Ranger says:

    Cat Cora: “Here you go, my usual fealty to Food Network so they can rig the Next Iron Chef for this season to make it so that the women are all eliminated and I get to keep my monopoly on being the only female Iron Chef.”

    FN: “Uh… Cat, sorry about this but the public just learned that you were gay and wants us to remove you from Iron Chef America. You DID see that you weren’t on the roster anymore in the show, right?”

    Cat: O_O *dies*

    No seriously. When has a woman won Next Iron Chef? All three of the next Iron Chefs were men. Tio and Frietag almost made it but got knocked out just at the last challenge. Though to be fair, I am surprised that Michael Chiarello is in this. I used to watch “Easy Entertaining” religiously ten years ago. I especially loved the Halloween episode where he dressed up as a vampire.

    I mean, yeah, I don’t seem Michael being an Iron Chef. But I doubt that we’ll get a woman to win this season either. FN isn’t sexist, they just failed to deliver the skills in Kitchen Stadium.

    Anne will probably win this competition. (1) She’s a brat and will throw a tantrum if she gets eliminated “Are we rivals? No, because I ALWAYS WIN.” (2) She has more experience in Kitchen Stadium than any of these rubes[Michael has never seen Kitchen Stadium before!] (3) She’s probably bribed Sandra Lee to get the judges all sloshed.

    So yeah… <_<

    • FuryOfFirestorm says:

      I doubt that Cat was kicked off of Iron Chef (if she didn’t leave of her own volition) because she’s a lesbian. It’s not something she hid, and her partner (or wife, not sure if they married yet) was seen and mentioned on “Best Thing I Ever Ate” a while back. Cat’s sexuality wasn’t a problem for all those years she worked on FN, so why would it be a fireable offense now?

      • LauraS says:

        And if she was fired because of her sexual orientation, she would have cause to sue the living CRAP out of FN and provide them with the worst publicity imaginable. As dumb as FN is, they’re not THAT dumb.

        • FatCat says:

          Everyone knew Cora was openly gay. I respected her for being truthful and not hiding like some people *cough Chiarello cough*.

      • Kelly says:

        No. Food Network is definitely LGBT friendly. Bob Tuschman himself is gay. And in FN Magazine, they featured Cat Cora’s barbecue and had pictures of her and her partner and her kids. So they clearly don’t have a problem with Cat Cora being a lesbian.

      • Dumplin' says:

        They also did a story about her and her family in a FN magazine few years ago. I doubt FN would have done that if her sexual orientation was that important.

    • whereisfreitag says:

      Cat’s been out forever, it’s not that.

  31. Boke1 says:

    Zakarian zucks and Chiarello is a closet case. Learn how to pronounce “L” for choking out loud!

  32. MrStPaul says:

    I didn’t think Spike would last too long, but I was a little disappointed that he went right away. In the finale of Top Chef, he was Richard Blais’ sous chef and pulled aside to call him down after Mike Isabella got under his skin. I thought that was savvy on Spike’s part.

    But it really bugged me that he went by ‘Chef Spike’ instead of using his last name…i.e. ‘Chef Burrell’ or ‘Chef Hughes’. It was a little too Ferry-esque for me.

    I agree that Anne looks like the one to beat.

  33. BKHouston says:

    How come no screen shots of Anne after all her makeup had melted off?

  34. LQ says:

    I thought it was hilarious that Spike got sent off after cooking scallops, considering that his crappy scallops led to his getting kicked off Top Chef.

  35. cooljazz99us says:

    Random thoughts:

    I am in agreement that Anne Burrell will win. I would be shocked if she did not. I believe the results are rigged on this show and on all contests such as Next Food Network (Sunday morning meaningless time slot) “Star” and Chopped. If they really wanted to judge fairly, or at least more fairly, all of the judging would be blind as to who prepared what dish. It could always be rigged that way too, but at least it would seem a bit fairer.

    I’m not a big Burrell fan – I think her schtick is tiring. Why does she get a pass on the whacked out hair but Fieri get consistently called out on his affectations? Watched her show once and I believe she said hello to every piece of food as she opened them. Very annoying.

    The constant references to this pseudo-contest being some kind of “war” or gladatorial contest are just grating. It’s a cooking contest for chrissakes. They are not warriors or gladiators or doing battle or anything else. They are competing for the right to appear weekly on another cooking contest. The worst is that you lose and go back to your restaurant. You don’t die or lose any body parts of suffer PTSD.

    Just once, I want an interviewee to state: “I don’t really care if I win or lose that much. It’s just kind of fun being here.” Instead of “I really want to win this” or, “I came her to win” or something similar. Yeah yeah… we know how “tough” and formidable you are. But that wouldn’t help amp up all the fake drama.

    By any stretch are these truly the best chefs in America? The superstars? As they remind us every few minutes. By what measure? Because they are on tv all the time or are executive chefs at a good restaurant? I think that while some of them might be very good chefs, most of them seem to be just media whores that are on tv over and over again. I would bet there are many other more talented chefs working outside the media spotlight that are much be better chefs than these.

    They contended that the challenge this week was similar to what is expected in kitchen stadium challenges; making something out of nothing. That is pure nonsense. In kitchen stadium they are told what the secret ingredient might be a week in advance (one of three things) and then allowed the time to plan a menu around each possible secret ingredient. They are also afforded a full pantry of any other ingredients they want, top-of-the-line appliances, and a little group of sous chefs. No one makes something out of nothing on iron chef.

    Robert Irvine has a classic “bar body”. Way overemphasized biceps and chest that have no real functional purpose except for show. He looks very awkward and nonathletic.

    Anne looks really stocky – roller derbyish and dresses so matronly.

    Always thought Alex has a cute face but those shots of her from the rear literally blocked out the sun.

    No wonder Beau rolled his ankle. He must be at least 100 pounds overweight. His ankles don’t need much coaxing to buckle.

    Spike was a mediocrity on both Top Chef contests in which he was inexplicable as to why a guy who has lost every cooking contest he has been in is suddenly elevated to superstar chef status. He’s just a colorful (also in a very tiring way) character that makes for good early elimination fodder (kind of like the red shirts on the original Star Trek). At least he didn’t wear his dumb hat this time.

    • Oob Oob Yittik says:

      I’m cool with you stating your random thoughts, but man, you really came across as a debbie downer.

      …they’re good chefs, but they’re not great and I hate the way their bodies look…

      Really? Backhanded complement to Alex “she has a cute face but a big ass” doesn’t that strike you as a bit harsh. It’s a cooking show, not a modeling show.

      I’m really not trying to flame you and yeah we all rip on different people for different things, but your post oozed negative karma. brutal!

  36. Rob says:

    I used to think Robert Irvine had big ears, but that annoying douche Majumdar shows up with those wings on the side of his head and makes me wonder how Alton is able to dodge those things at the judges table. The guy looks like a VW bug driving down the street with the doors open.

    I wouldn’t make fun of the guy for something like that but he’s such a condescending arse I can’t help it. “Not enough pig ears…”

  37. Spencer says:

    I hated Spike on Top Chef Season 4. I hated Spike on Top Chef All Stars. I hated Spike in this episode of Next Iron Chef. I’m happy he is gone. And Alton and Spike made it blatantly obvious who was going home, especially when Spike said in his one-on-one interview with the camera, “You know, I felt good and I thought I felt everything was going to go fine.” I paraphrased, of course. Good riddance.
    And this recap was superb :P

  38. deb says:

    haven’t been too interested in this since mike symon (with that IRRITATING LAUGH) beat out john besh.
    now THERE was a iron chef.
    Anne is the best of the bunch. besides she knows how it works on iron chef, she was batali’s sou-chef the whole time.

  39. Ali says:

    Since when is Spike considered a celebrity chef? Is anyone on TC considered a celebrity even though they can’t cook?
    He bloze.

  40. Bob says:

    Anybody else notice the multiple shots of Anne Burrell without any makeup? Scary..

  41. Molly says:

    I get that Anne is probably going to win (why can’t we have an un-rigged competition show?).

    But I’d love to see Chuck stick around for a while. His show on the Cooking Channel is awesome. Every recipe I’ve made from his website has turned out amazing.

    Also, his looks don’t hurt.

    • Dick says:

      I think Chuck and Anne are the in-house type candidates. At least one of Samuelson and Chiarello need to go deep to maintain the credibility of the “competition.”

      Everyone else is cannon fodder.

  42. Liz says:

    FN loves it some Anne, so the fix is definitely in for her to at least make it to the finals (one of these days she has to lose a competition to add ‘drama’). I expect this ‘sudden death’ thing to pit her against Robert because that’s the blatantly obvious choice.

    If she gets it that’s fine by me, though. “Secrets of a Restaurant Chef” is one of their few cooking shows I can still stomach, anyway.

    I’m mainly watching for Alex to leave, and I hope it’s quickly. She spends the whole episode spouting reality show cliches (I think she even said something about watching everyone leave one by one during the sudden death, but it was late) and whining about not wanting to go home already. And even that’s better than watching her glare down and ridicule some sous chef on any other show she’s ever done.

  43. Chris says:

    The casting on this season is absolutely horrible. It wasn’t really that strong last season either. I’ve never eaten at Marc Forgione’s, but how he beat Ming Tsai or Bryan Caswell is really puzzling. I find myself watching NIC because I can’t wait to see Robert, Beau, Alex, Anne, Geoffrey, and Elizabeth go down in flames. I had one of the worst meals of my life at Beau McMillan’s place in Phoenix some years back. The casting of contestants on Iron Chef America has been really weak this year also. If anyone besides Michael Chiarello or Marcus Samuelsson (whom I’m not a huge fan of either) wins, I think I may be done with ICA forever.

  44. Jaime says:

    Am I the only one not on the Anne wagon? I can’t stand her, but besides that, there are at least 5 people on the show that could cook circles around her. She just happens to have the most “Kitchen Stadium experience.” So what? Two other contestants have beat Bobby Flay. And the only people whinier than Anne are Alex and possibly Beau. (No one needed to know you rolled your ankle, dude. It didn’t affect anything.)

    Falkner, Zakarian, and Samuelsson have the most respect and talent in the “real world,” but I’m also fond of Chiarello and Irvine. I root for them even though I doubt they’ll win. I don’t even have to explain why, since none of you have been able to give an actual good reason for liking Anne. So there.

    • Liz says:

      You say ‘beating Bobby Flay’ like that’s an accomplishment. He’s one of the simplest IC’s to beat, and usually it’s not a close race. And that’s his side job, around frequently getting stomped on Throwdown.

      Considering you’re complaining about nobody giving good reasons, you sure aren’t willing to offer any yourself.

      • Jaime says:

        That was my point. You missed that somehow? I fully admit that I like Irvine and Chiarello as a matter of opinion. I don’t think Irvine stands a snowball’s chance in Hell of winning, but if he did, I’d watch every battle. And no, I don’t think he’s “hot,” I just like his no-nonsense method of getting things done. As for Chiarello, I like the combination of confidence and the talent to back it up, and I enjoy watching him cook.

        I just wish the Anne lovers would admit that they like her based on opinion instead of pretending that she is actually a better chef than everyone else. If you were to survey real chefs and critics working in the field instead of the housewives and hobbyists that make up the largest percentage of the FN audience, Zakarian, Falkner, and Samuelsson would come out on top in terms of respect and talent. That doesn’t mean they’ll win, because this is all about marketing. Anne may very well win, but not because she deserves it.

        And as for the Bobby Flay thing, I was comparing it to Anne being on ICA. Yes, Bobby has probably had the highest percentage of losses, but he’s stll an Iron Chef. Anne’s been on Iron Chef all this time as a sous-chef. If that’s supposed to be a big deal, then the guys who beat Bobby are a big deal. Which they’re not. And neither is Anne.

        It’s Bobby’s job to lose on Throwdown. Have you see the people that “judge” those things? No one would ever want him to come to their little crap town if he won all the time. He takes dives to help promote other people. It’s actually quite philanthropic of him.

        And now I’m angry that I took the time to explain all of this to you. And you’re going to tear into me and I’m not going to care because I have better things to do with my life.

        • Chris says:

          If Anne Burrell was any good, she would have an executive chef title in a restaurant of her own. But she doesn’t. Being on TV a lot doesn’t make you a good chef. Try eating at Mesa Grill sometime and you’ll taste that Bobby can, if fact, cook.

          There is no one heaping any praise in New York dining circles on Alex, Anne, or Geoffrey. Spike flips burgers in DC. Elizabeth got the lowest score in the history of ICA, or at least close to it, no? Is Robert Irvine really a chef or just a steroid freak? I disliked the one meal I had at C-House in Chicago where Marcus is the consulting chef, and the meal I had at Beau MacMillan’s restaurant was one of the worst I’ve ever had. At least Michael Chiarello gets good press and good reviews for his restaurant Bottega in Yountville, and I know nothing about Chuck Hughes.

          Why not pick Scott Conant, an FN regular? Why not pick April Broomfield or Gabrielle Hamilton, former ICA competitors? Why not pick Wylie Dufresne or Anita Lo, who are Top Chef Masters favorites? These people all were nominated for James Beard awards. No, instead FN picks all these other zeroes? Give me a break.

    • whereisfreitag says:

      Also not on the Anne Wagon…I can’t put my finger on it.

  45. Plumpy says:

    Silly me was actually looking forward to this show and I was bored stiff. Loved the recap. Anne will win.

  46. Daria says:

    I think I’m going to enjoy this season. I like the new concept of the battle between the bottom 2 to decide who goes.
    I’m very sad though that the dying whale doors are back.

    I don’t really buy that Anne and Robert have a true rivalry, I think they seem civil towards each other and only hype it up. It is clear that Robert knows Anne’s food is better, because he is normally a control freak on his restaurant shows, yet here he just rolls over and lets Anne decide the whole menu.

    Also I knew there was no way they’d let Samuelsson go on the first episode.

  47. COUSIN OLIVER says:

    Other than the stuff excellently covered in the recap, my fave moment of the episode was when Geoffrey was talking about Michael, and you know he’s saying “Mister Chiarello”, but he says it so that he pronounces it “Miss Chiarello”.

  48. Erv says:

    Its will either be Anne or Geoffrey. Anne because is one of the last semi-real people on FN. Geoffrey because someone owes him a favor at FN and needs some cash until the lawsuits clear up. I like Alex but I don’t think she has the speed to compete as an Iron Chef.

  49. laura says:

    Ok, since I live by the creed “say it forget it, write it regret it.” I am going to leave out the source of the information sent to me.
    Back in December 2010 a nationwide survey was conducted by three PR firms that were hired by the Food Network.
    The FN wanted to see what people were willing to watch since they were losing viewers. There were 175 questions in total. 115,000 total people were surveyed. The survey was conducted over a two month period.
    68.6% of viewers were unsatisfied with The Next Food Network Star. The comments most stated were that they would watch the competition, but not watch the eventual winners. The viewers also were annoyed with the term “Star Power” as quoted by Susie Fogelson. The viewers felt that learning how to cook was more interesting than who could sell the most products. Viewers also noted that the foodies of today, wanted tips and techniques not just shows that made food.
    22 of the questions focused on the usual suspects, who are on FN daily, but in answers to the question
    What type of show would you like to see most?
    87% of the respondents stated that shows that featured popular chefs competing against each other would be preferred.
    Chopped All Stars??
    76% stated that they would most likely watch a show that pitted chefs who normally are judges against each other.
    The most likely reason given was that people wanted to see if the judges on these shows knew how to cook.
    84% were interested in cross over chefs such as those on Bravo shows and The Cooking Channel who would be featured in challenges on the FN.
    Anne Burell scored high in the ratings. and was voted favorably as someone who was well liked by viewers.
    Taking this information into account, Anne Burell is the most likely to win Next Top Chef. She was scored high among the respondents, and the comments stated they wanted to see more of her. Most surveyed viewers remembered her as being the soux chef for Mario Batali and really appealed to viewers at that time.
    81.2% of viewers felt her show was actually teaching them something rather than just cooking for them. They also felt that she was engaging and would most likely be DVR’d by viewers.
    The FN will be conducting another survey this coming January to see if some of the changes they have made were more palatable to viewers.

  50. Scoobie-Doobie-Doo says:

    I have a hard time finding anything creditable in a show that promotes some sick, industrial kitchen menage a trois between Robert Irvine, Anne Burrell and Beau Macmillian. That’s just all kinds of wrong.

  51. JayAre says:

    I realize that there are ways around them, but did anyone else find all the flippin’ commercials to be annoying as hell? Every 5 minutes. If the rest of the episodes are like the 1st…

  52. AmyL says:

    I personally would be happy to embrace Chuck. Just sayin’. :)

    Seriously, like last year, I think it’s time for another woman. I would be okay with either Alex or Anne.

  53. Emmanemma says:

    Was anyone else completely annoyed by the stupid hashtag at the top of the screen throughout the show? I also think 60 minutes would have sufficed.

  54. Renee says:

    When Geoffrey said the four fireplaces thing….I literally said outloud…..”Oh Fuck You”

    • Xio says:

      Thats halarous!

    • Ronnie says:

      You could almost hear the viewers’ minds snapping shut at that. His hipster glasses had me on the fence, but the fireplace thing tipped it for me. Maybe they are grooming/editing him for “the guy you love to hate” role?

      I don’t want him to win or anything, but its nice to see him competing with the plebes.

  55. whereisfreitag says:

    Geoffrey is a cocky fuck, but his food did kick ass, even the untrained eye (me) can see that his plating is impressive and his shit is mostly together. He’s an ass, but he is a good chef. And if Iron Chef doesn’t work out for Alex (I, too, agree it’s most likely going to be Anne…ehh) she could always make a TON of money on a webcam with that ass. Seriously – that thing is impressive, and it’s true. She’s a PAWG. Look it up, people pay lots of money to see that kind of thing in the air. But either way, it will be entertaining. Alton is scary looking. Just my FYI. Cheers

  56. jo says:

    Alex was disturbingly neurotic about the burned meat. How’s she going to cope when she can’t run off to her butcher, fishmonger, cheese guy, or Asian grocery mid-show? I just don’t see it happening. Wish they had brought in more contenders from outside FN.

  57. Claire says:

    I love Geoffrey. Even if he is super pretentious. Also, I’m pretty sure there is a female Iron Chef…Cat Cora.

  58. Erin Butcher says:

    Chuck hughes is a popular chef on Food Network Canada, and he actually cooks and seems like a pretty chill guy, just thought I’d throw that out there!

  59. Erin says:

    love how my mac automatically put my last name in there. Awwwwwesome.
    and by “he actually cooks” i mean in comparison to all the shitty “pre packaged” and lazy “chefs” that are so popular

  60. Matt says:

    I kinda like Elizabeth Falkner, but would also be happy with Anne or Alex… How come you didnt mention when the Asian lady said ” I expect at least 12 foodgasms in this competition” i couldnt contain myself when she said that with such a straight face

  61. Alicia says:

    Did I miss something?: Is Cat Cora no longer an Iron Chef? Last time I checked she is a woman.

    • AladdinSane says:

      Yes-Cat has left IC/KS to pursue other interests. She is a woman-yes. Both Cat and I are lesbians, however I am trapped in a mans body

  62. Kristin says:

    Anne Burrell will win. How many more Secrets of a Resturant Chef can she reveal? Alex G. is pretty comfy on Chopped with her “I gotcha critiques”– you never know where she’s going to go with those open-ended questions. Annnnnd no one knows who Elizabeth Faulkner is besides a tough lesbian chef.

  63. Mal_Pal says:

    Forget about the hastag, what about the relentless knife slicing graphic/sound effect? That’s always been part of Iron Chef, but it’s gotten more frequent and louder. “This is Iron ::SLICE:: Chef America ::SLICE:: 10 contestants :SLICE:: Robert ::SLICE:: Irvine and Anne ::SLICE:: Burrell ::SLICE::” I mean it’s enough already seriously. I dealt with it when it only gave me a headache, but I’m not getting a migraine for this show…it’s not worth it.

  64. Jersey Jack says:

    I was away for the week and just got the opportunity to see this mess on the DVR. The thing that I noticed that apparently hasn’t been mentioned is how filming outdoors requires talent and the ability to plan, something that the FN producers do not have.

    Whe the “contestants” began cooking and pretty much throughout the cooking portion, the shadows were very short, therefore the sun was near to noon.

    When “judging the food” took place, the sun was so low on the horizon that it made the judges squint, caused color balance problems and could occasionaly been seen just above the hills on the horizon.

    By a very rough estimate the food had to have sat for at least two hours before judging, probably more like three if this was shot in the summer.

    Or, the food presented for judging was not the same food cooked hours earlier. Which seems more likely?

  65. Vikman says:

    Is no one going to mention the Pouty, Whiney, unsatisfied door sound effect. every time the kitchen stadium door opens it sounds like a desperate housewife who got Coach instead of Prada.

  66. goosey1018 says:

    Isn’t Cat Cora a female Iron Chef? I still agree it makes sense for them to go with a women, but there technically IS one.

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