12 Oct 2009, 8:05pm
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The Next Iron Chef

Yikes, my last post was in September, and here we are almost mid-way through October! Sorry for the lack of updates! Looks like I hit a bit of a dry spell. Hopefully things will pick up a little bit as the days get cooler. Not that that has anything in particular to do with food, but it does give one the feeling of the holidays, and as we all well know, holidays and food go hand-in-hand.

Meanwhile, I’ve been spending this chilly weekend indoors, and I actually caught a few episodes of the new Food Network show, The Next Iron Chef. It’s another Top Chef knockoff, but unlike Chopped, I’m actually interested this time. The set-up is quite similar to Top Chef, with two rounds in each show and one person being eliminated at the end of the second. What’s interesting about this competition is that they don’t show you footage of the cheftestants outside of the kitchen. No shots of them living together or interacting in any way outside of the cooking arena. In some ways, that makes it more intriguing because you don’t get any unnecessary drama. (That’s not to say that there isn’t any scheming and strategizing in the kitchen! There’s plenty of shenanigans going on in that front).

I like that they show a lot more of the cooking, which I have to say is not Top Chef’s forte.

The judging is pretty intense, and they take the time to critique each dish and talk to every contestant about them, so it gives the viewer a good idea of how the food is really like.

In the end though, I’m not quite sure if anyone is really up to Iron Chef level cooking. All of them seem to struggle quite a bit to finish just one plate within an hour (or 45 minutes). How are they going to conceptualize and execute FIVE dishes that would be required of them in the hour allotted for each Iron Chef episode? Though I do wonder how much of that process really is done within an hour. The chefs always start right away on the dishes without even consulting with their sous chefs. (Do they really only find out the secret ingredient moments before the cooking begins? How much are they allowed to prep beforehand?) I definitely think the final challenge should be a test run of a “real” Iron Chef battle.

…I’m also hoping Iron Chef Morimoto will make a guest appearance somewhere along the way. ♥

Alton’s doing a pretty decent job as the commentator, though I think he’s a little out of his element. His commentating on Iron Chef America is much more robust and engaged, I think. The Chairman is over the top and hilarious, as expected. XD

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