Archives for "Next Iron Chef"

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And The Next Iron Chef Is…
Posted on December 18th 2011

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. The lord of the fireplaces… the king of St. Barts… the master of brunch… Geoffrey Zakarian beat Elizabeth Falkner in tonight’s finale of Next Iron Chef. And how do I feel about that?

I wanted to see Burrell or Guarnaschelli take it. Other than that, I really didn’t care who won or lost. It’s about the personalities to us watching at home. We’re not tasting the food, and honestly, most of it is way above the heads and palates of the average person anyway.

Didn’t catch the episode? Here’s what you missed. The challengers had 1 hour to create a 3-course holiday meal. They were able to bring back one eliminated contestant to help them for 15 minutes each, and Falkner/Zakarian decided on Alex Guaranschelli. Zakarian used her talents well, and had her make a sake risotto. Falkner, on the other hand, ASKED HER TO CHOP AND ICE FENNEL because she’s “good at it.” You know who else is good at that? EVERYONE ON THE PLANET.

For the life of me, I can’t understand that decision. You have one of the best chefs in the country at your disposal, and you task her with that? I’m surprised she didn’t ask her to make ice cubes. What a total fail. Oh Falkner, you so crazy.

The chairman also threw surprises at them during the challenge. They had to make a cranberry dish, a frozen concoction using the ice cream maker, and whip up a cocktail. Yes, a cocktail. Everyone is making cocktails on their shows these days. I’ve been calling it the “SANDRA LEEIFICATION” of the Food Network. Her influence is everywhere. Before long, every chef on the Food Network will be required to open a packet of onion soup powder and/or Cool Whip at least once per episode.

Other than that, not much happened. Except for, of course, ELIZABETH FALKNER ZESTING A FREAKING ORANGE after the ending buzzer went off. I demand a recount! Roll the slow motion footage!

Overall, the judges had more bad comments about Falkner’s food than Zakarians “modern luxury Christmas” dinner (insert eyeroll here). That is, except for Judy Joo. Judy Joo just LOVES her some Elizabeth Falkner. As I said on Twitter, Falkner could serve her a turd on a plate and Joo would say it was fantastic. You know I’m right.

And that’s it, folks! I was wrong in my prediction that a woman would win the season. I was confident about that because I was under the impression Cat Cora left the show to be with her family. I was wrong there, too. Cat Cora is still very much an Iron Chef, and in fact just filmed a new episode of the show.

I also ran my mouth a lot, saying how I thought the winner was likely predetermined before the season even started filming. Alton Brown has given several interviews and has spoken out on Twitter stating that to the best of his knowledge that is not true. And I definitely am in no position to argue with that. I’m just a silly blogger, after all.

The bottom line is that this is entertainment – plain and simple. And an entertaining season it has been. We peons will never know what goes on behind the scenes. And you know what? That’s probably for the best.

What did you think of the finale? Happy with the outcome? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

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Did TV Guide Reveal The Winner Of “Next Iron Chef?”
Posted on December 14th 2011

Is this an epic fail on TV Guide’s part or just generic usage of a masculine pronoun? Have I been wrong all this time with my prediction a woman would become the Next Iron Chef? Looks like we’re going to have to tune in Sunday night to find out!

(Thanks for submitting this, Jason! Here’s the original link.)

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Next Iron Chef: Just The Good Stuff (Episode 7)
Posted on December 12th 2011

(Sorry for the typo in the pic. I type too damn fast.)

This week, the final 4 left NYC behind and set sail for the Hamptons. Zakarian noted that it was a place that “attracts wealthy people” and that he “comes here on occasion.” Get it? Because he’s a wealthy person. With seven fireplaces. And for those of you keeping track, that’s exactly one more than the number of people out there rooting for him to win this show.


Today’s challenge was all about passion. The chefs had 2 hours to gather their own ingredients, and then another 2 hours to prepare a three course seafood tasting menu for 20 hungry white people. It is Montauk, after all.

I wish I could say something interesting happened during the next 30 minutes of the show, but it didn’t. We learned that butter costs $11.99/lb on the Hamptons, that Elizabeth Falkner uses the word “howdy”, and that Michael Chiarello is completely unable to handle even the tiniest amount of criticism. You see, Michael Symon told him his scallop was slightly overcooked, but he completely dismissed it and said: “impossible. This isn’t my first rodeo.” I’ll say. Clearly Chiarello’s been around the bull, because he’s full of its shit.

Zakarian, not to be outdone in the pretentious department, introduced his plate of food to the judges and said that it reminded him of his passionate days vacationing on St. Barths.

Alton, please take it away:


The winner of the challenge was Geoffrey Zakarian, and he earned a spot in next week’s finale. The loser of the challenge was Alex Guarnaschelli. She was eliminated from the show, and so was my last waning breath of interest in its outcome.

Why? Because we, the common folk watching at home, aren’t tasting the food. We’re not experiencing Guarnaschelli’s lobster, or Chiarello’s lamb, or one of Falkner’s 92 ice creams. This is television. And for us, it’s strictly about the personalities, because that’s obviously all we have to go on. Of these remaining contestants, I wanted to see Guarnaschelli win. She clearly had the most passion. She’s clearly the most humble. These other 3 think they’re God’s gift to Santoku knives. It’s not attractive to watch, and it’s downright impossible to root for.  Which one of them will win? Do any of us really care?

Next up, Chiarello and Falkner competed head to head in Battle Town House Cracker/Entwine Wine. I honestly have no clue what Falkner made, because my friends and I were too busy laughing and cracking jokes about how many fireplaces the Keebler Elves have in their treehouse on St. Barts (general consensus: one).  I can tell you, however, that Michael Chiarello  served a SHOTGLASS OF DRY-ASSED CRACKER CRUMBS. Oh yes. Sandra Lee, eat your heart out.

And in an elimination that surprised exactly no one, Michael Chiarello was sent home. Elizabeth Falkner moved on, and will be competing against Zakarian next week in the finale.

Cut to a confessional shot, where Falkner referred to herself as a “ninja chef” and said she was going to “kill it.” Let’s just hope by “it” she was referring to Judy Joo’s foodgasm. Gag me.

My money has always been on someone with a lot of estrogen winning this. And since Chiarello is gone, that means it is Falkner’s to take. What do you think?

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Next Iron Chef: Just The Good Stuff (Episode 6)
Posted on December 5th 2011

Man, I hated this episode! I don’t even feel like writing this recap! But for the sake of the people who missed the show, let’s just get down to it!

This week was all about risk. The chefs bid on plates of auctioned foods using increments of time instead of cash, like some sort of crazy culinary “Name That Tune.” As each ingredient was unveiled, the chefs had to say: “I can cook those sardines…  or that disgusting looking plate of tuna jerky that even my dog wouldn’t touch… in 60 minutes!”

The goal was to win your ingredient by bidding on it using the lowest amount of time to cook it in. For example, Burrell won sardines in 50 minutes, Chiarello won lobster in 25 minutes, Zakarian won Wagyu beef in 30 minutes, and Falkner won tuna jerky in 25 minutes.

Poor Alex. She was forced to take the last mystery plate, and wound up having only 20 minutes to cook a huge leg of lamb. How did she feel about that?

I legitimately felt bad for Alex here. She really needed the stand mixer so she could start grinding her meat down, but pastry chef and Joogasm-inducer Elizabeth Falkner was hogging it to “whip eggs” for her souffle. I’ve gotta hand it to Falkner, though. A pastry chef cooking a souffle IS really risky! She’s a regular risk taker! Next week, tune in to watch her drink a sip of milk one day past its expiration date.

Since Burrell won the last challenge, her advantage this week was getting to taste all the dishes and automatically send one of her competitors to the elimination challenge. As soon as I heard that, my “REALITY TV RADAR” went off and I had a hunch that no matter how great Burrell’s sardine dishes were… no matter how flawlessly they were executed… she would be in the bottom two simply for the television drama of having to compete in a challenge against the person she put there next to her.

And wouldn’t you know it? That’s exactly what happened. Burrell wrote Zakarian’s name down, because she said she felt he took the least amount of risk by simply searing a piece of beef. And a few minutes later, after Judy Joo had adequately fawned over how “hot” Falkner was, the judges sent Burrell to the elimination challenge to compete against the man she put there.

Zakarian and Burrell competed head to head in Battle Panko/Ponzu. And to make it even more difficult, they had to make a dessert.

Zakarian made souffle and Burrell made panko-coated zucchini with ice cream over a caramel ponzu sauce. The judges said both of the dishes were excellent, and the only criticism they had about either dish was that Zakarian sprinkled powdered sugar over his souffle.

In the end, though, the judges said one dish was more “sophisticated” – and that dish was created by Zakarian. Anne Burrell was then eliminated from the show. I know, lame, right?

I wanted to see Anne win this whole thing, but it wasn’t in the cards this time. But hey, you can still show your support for Anne by visiting Food Network’s annoying pop-up ridden website and voting for her in the Iron Chef Fan Vote!

I’m now throwing 100% of my support behind Alex Guarnaschelli, and want to see her mop the floor with these other 3. She has the least ego, she’s the most sincere, and she wants it the most. And I hope she goes all the way.

And that brings this week’s recap to an end. Stay tuned next week, when the final 4 chefs head to Long Island, two people are eliminated, and risky Elizabeth Falkner leans back too far in her office chair. THE HORROR.

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Next Iron Chef: Just The Good Stuff (Episode 5)
Posted on November 28th 2011

Another week, another episode of Next Iron Chef!

This week was all about storytelling. Each chef was assigned a landmark area in NYC and was tasked with both cooking a dish that represented the area – AND telling a story about why it was a special place to them.

Burrell got Central Park, Falkner got the Brooklyn Bridge, Samuelsson got Broadway, Guarnaschelli got the Empire State building, Zakarian got Times Square, and Chiarello got the Statue Of Liberty.

Anne was up first, and frankly, she OWNED IT. She told a story about being from a small town, and how she often escapes the hustle of city life to spend time in Central Park because it reminds her of home. Well played, and the judges ate it up.

Alex was up next, and despite dropping half of her food in the pasta cooker back in the kitchen, pulled it together and kicked major ass as well. Her location was the Empire State building, and she cleverly included a “smell bag” that the judges were supposed to open up and inhale before tasting the food. It set the stage for her meal and her story, and contained things like burned peanut shells, pretzels and other street food-y things that reminded Alex of her first days in NYC when she walked past the Empire State building every day to get to her kitchen job.

Genius, right? Not if you’re Judy Joo! “I feel everything that is sent out to the table should be edible,” she bickered. Bitch, please. If Falkner sent that scented bag out, Joo would have been licking her chops and talking about how creative she was. And you know I’m right.

Anyway, Alex, the rest of the world loved it. Just remember: next time you give Joo a scent bag, make sure you spray the outside liberally with Falkner’s cologne first. I’m sure you’ll find Joo to be much more receptive to it then.

Zakarian was up next. Once again, he broke the rules and decided to make about 92 dishes to show everyone how marvelous and talented he is. “I’m not afraid of the judges,” he said. “I’m not afraid of anyone.”

Chiarello was up next. He bragged about what a great story teller he was, and then broke into a 20 minute soliloquy about the 1700s. Yeah, he’s “good” all right… good at curing INSOMNIA. God, it was boring. I’m sorry, was he telling a story or reading 12 pages straight from my 8th grade history book? Zzzzzzzzz.

So, who won? Anne Burrell! She definitely blew everyone else out of the water on this competition, and she deserved the win. Nicely done!

The worst performers of the evening were Samuelsson and Falkner, who then went head to head in battle bagel.

Now I don’t want to get off on a rant here, but there is just something I can not stand about Elizabeth Falkner. Her mannerisms, her attitude, her facial expressions, her voice, her words, her food… maybe it’s just me, but everything about her makes me want to repeatedly stab myself in the face with a fork. Maybe she’s a lovely woman. Maybe she rescues puppies and donates to charities and helps old ladies cross the street, but I don’t care. I’ve never wanted to see someone lose a reality show competition more, and that’s saying a lot.

Falkner made another ice cream (eye roll). What a total shocker there… OR NOT, considering the woman’s food is more one-note than a Black Eyed Peas song.

This time, Falkner whipped up a “bagels and cream cheese” ice cream, which honestly could not sound more disgusting to me. Dear chefs of the world, just because something CAN be made into an ice cream doesn’t mean it SHOULD be. Enough is enough.

Something else that really pissed me off: At one point during the cooking, Falkner had bagels on the grill. Guarnaschelli, watching from the sidelines and trying to be helpful, casually told her to watch the bagels because they were starting to burn. Falkner turned to Guarnaschelli and rudely said, “Yeah. I know what I’m doing.” I rewound it 3 times. I wanted to slap her.

Not only did she make more ice cream (yawn), but her plating was hideously ugly. At one point, it literally looked like a dog took a dump on a plate. Now who wouldn’t want to just chow down on a heaping spoonful of that!

The funniest part of the show was when Anne turned to Alex and said: “I don’t like the schmeary thing on the bottom of Falkner’s plate… but I hope it tastes good.” Without missing a beat, Guarnaschelli said, “no you don’t.” I died. And I’ll tell you something: if this show is not making you fall in love with Alex Guarnaschelli, there is something wrong with you.

It is with great sadness and heaviness in my heart that I say Falkner won the challenge – and Marcus was sent packing. It really wasn’t any surprise, though. I knew Judy Joo was going to fight to the foodgasming death to keep her dream lover on the show – and that’s exactly what happened.

Unfortunately, we’ll all have to see the obnoxious Joo/Falkner love affair continue another day. Gag me with the largest spoon available.

Stay tuned next week, when the chefs cook more stuff, and Judy Joo shows up at Elizabeth Falkner’s hotel wearing only an apron.

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