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Our man Sietsema @ IRON CHEF AMERICA

pitu Feb 20, 2008 09:02 AM

Beloved Village Voice restaurant critic Robert Sietsema has the cover story in this weeks' Voice, from the audience of Iron Chef America. You might have read similar items when bloggers have managed tickets and been surprised at how the sausage is made, but Sietsema is a better writer...
http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0808...

The show he attended was the oddly mute *battle* between Morimoto and Fortunato Nicotra of Felidia. The funniest bit is the description of the standins for the chefs...

  1. monavano Feb 25, 2008 11:08 AM

    Dear Mr. Sietsema,
    There is no Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, or Tooth Fairy for the matter.
    <end snark>

    1. Frodnesor Feb 21, 2008 06:01 AM

      What a shocker! Pretty much everything in the article has already been publicly reported, including by contestants, and including, of course, here ->

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/461733
      http://www.amateurgourmet.com/2006/01/what_i_can_tell.html
      http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070528/CUSTOM04/70523008/1277/CUSTOM0401
      http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8717337/

      Indeed, much of it is pretty self-evident if you, say, actually watch the show more than once. Are you telling me a journalist couldn't notice that (1) they use the same canned shot of each of the Iron Chefs before the challenger makes his/her "selection"? (2) neither the challenger nor the Iron Chef ever spend any time consulting with their team about what dishes to prepare after the "secret ingredient" is unveiled (Batali in recent episodes charmingly goes through the pretense of running through a "menu" with his team); (3) the chefs only plate one example of each dish before the time expires?

      Did Sietsema really think that 4 celebrity chefs have nothing better to do than hang around a studio waiting to see if some schmoo decides to "pick them" for a challenge? Did he really think that they have the power of telepathic communication in order to relay to their team what to cook? Did he think that servings of each dish spontaneously materliaze out of the ether when it comes time to serve (and that each would still be at a perfect temperature and doneness while waiting to plate a total of 10 dishes, plus arrange camera shots, etc.)?

      Silly.

      1. y
        youngho Feb 21, 2008 03:35 AM

        I can't believe that Sietsema was really so "surprised." His mock outrage was a little tiresome, since even 5 minutes on Google or 1 minute on Wikipedia would have educated him on some of the basics behind the show. ZOMG! The actual chefs don't stand around on the podium for the entire battle?!?!? WTF? The food doesn't sit around getting cold while waiting to get tasted, and maybe this is why they only show the teams making only one plate of each dish, as opposed to four?!?!?!? Oh noes!!! I can't believe it's not all real!!! Even the Food Network itself has revealed all of these "secrets" already. Give me a break, or at least some professional integrity as a journalist of sorts.

        For an inside look from an actual competitor, read http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ar.... Here, the "secret ingredient" also would have been expected to heavily favor the Iron Chef, but the outcome was a little different. Perhaps Sietsema might have considered actually talking to any of the chefs who had previously appeared on Iron Chef America, but maybe that's too much to ask.

        2 Replies
        1. re: youngho
          j
          Jackpot Feb 21, 2008 09:41 AM

          I agree. I can't believe the article was so poorly researched.

          1. re: Jackpot
            y
            youngho Feb 24, 2008 07:41 PM

            I was a little surprised that no one here posted in support of Robert Sietsema. I suppose that sometimes there's really no excuse, Oh well.

        2. Miss Needle Feb 20, 2008 02:50 PM

          Amateurgourmet.com also did a behind the scenes look at Iron Chef as well.

          Pitu, I do agree that the "pendulous breasts" of Batali had me laughing heartily as well.

          1. m
            miss_bennet Feb 20, 2008 02:46 PM

            I could never figure out why the chefs only made one of each dish. It made no sense to me. Now I'm quite shocked to hear that the "oompa loompas" help make the food for the judges.

            1. i
              IBJ9 Feb 20, 2008 11:07 AM

              This is really great, thanks for posting!

              1 Reply
              1. re: IBJ9
                t
                thegreekone Feb 20, 2008 02:25 PM

                I knew it was a sham, er, uh, I mean copious amounts of "dramatic license" were appropriated. I just never knew it was THAT bad. I have been reduced to watching in an effort to see and learn about other chefs and hear what Jeffrey Steingarten.

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