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May 26, 2009 04:12 PM

who are the iron chef judges? give me the scoop.

how are these judges picked?

what are their qualifications?

why are some selected to judge who are apparently so much less knowledgeable than others about food?

who is the best judge in your opinion? i like jeffrey steingarten.

who would you like to see as a judge? i'd like sara moulton, for one.

why aren't other chefs chosen to judge?

does karine often seem like she's seeking affirmation/approval of her judgments? does jeffrey really think she is incompetent?

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  1. I liked Jeffrey Steingarten as well but haven't seen him lately. I am hoping that he has become fed up with the circus / swooney atmosphere and chooses not to judge. If that is so, I further hope someday to read a scathing and funny version of his experiences. As for the others, I think I am pretty familiar with the food and restaurant culture of the United States but often don't recognize anyone, and after being told who they are and what they do, don't grasp what makes them qualified. Not that anything beyond a well trained and open minded palate is necessary but often that doesn't seem to be a primary reason they are chosen.

    4 Replies
    1. re: tomatoaday

      I think Jeffrey Steingarten is a boor. His table manners are quite disgusting, slobbering and holding his knife and fork like a bow and arrow. He may know food but he really seems to get off on rudely criticising rather than constructively. I keep waiting for him to blow his nose at the end on the napkin he forgets to place on his knee.

      1. re: ricksgirl1

        I think Jeffrey has a great knack of deflating holier than thou, self worshiping, and self-important schmucks, especially other judges. I lover how he antagonizes the other judges when they are being idiots.

        1. re: Phaedrus

          Except when he's the self-important schmuck. I saw him on a food show evaluating hot dogs where he spoke in a manner that indicated that he was uncertain as to how to pronounce Oscar Meyer. Spare me, Jeff. Can I call you Jeff? Count me in the "Jeffrey is a boor" camp.

      2. The judges on the original Iron Chef usually included a mix of food professionals and celebrities, I assume TPTB are trying to follow a similar pattern for ICA. The panel always seems to include a food-professional, a celebrity who has a noted passion/expertise in food unrelated to their celebrity status, and a "dimwit" celebrity who has no clue but will say funny/nice/self-deprecating things.

        8 Replies
        1. re: mpjmph

          The Japanese program always managed to have a pretty young starlet as the ingénue, in contrast to the food professional and the other celebrity, either a sports figure, a government official, a fortune teller (I don't know why, don't ask), or some kind of writer or director.

          All this adds up to the witty repartee. Even though the mix of judges is really haphazard, their remarks are kind of easy on the ears because they don't take themselves too seriously and they are self-deprecating. The problem with ICA is that these people on the panel actuially think they are doing something really important and can't seem to get the fact that their role is not all that important and that their self-important posing is annoying.

          1. re: Phaedrus

            Bingo, I couldn't have stated it better. All the judges had a deep love of the food, spoke with knowledge and never ridiculed each other. I loved the original series, find ICA to be a very pale imitation. Besides, Chairman Kaga always had the best outfits! Also, the chef introductions were so much more respectful of the challenger and informative of their career history. My favorite chef to watch was always Chen.

            1. re: tomatoaday

              he's got "kaga-style!" ;-).

              i too liked chen kenichi, and loved sakai's dishes.

              i think it is interesting that these current judges do take their roles (or just "take themselves") so seriously. sometimes, i feel sorry for karine, as she so needs approval of her thoughts. as to others, the "dimwit" position -- i enjoyed the rapper who just said, "it tastes good!"

              and i always liked the fortune teller lady -- man, she had some serious bling!

              oh...and the guy who wore his culinary award medal on a ribbon around his neck. he always seemed the most serious on that original ica.

              1. re: alkapal

                Jeffrey Steingarten and Michael Ruhlman were on the other night. Two great judges there. They were seated with Meredith from "The Office"

            2. re: Phaedrus

              To true. And NO ONE is more nauseatingly self-important than that metrosexual Andrew something-or-other, who worked for Bone Appetite. Maybe it's people like him who drove the rag under? (Off-topic, but I'll take Saveur any day. In fact, I still do. Becuase I CAN!)

              1. re: noneemac

                I agree with you about the non existant appeals of Andrew Knowlton but think you are referencing the wrong rag - Gourmet has departed, not BA. I'm not that impressed with Saveur the last year or so either.

              2. re: Phaedrus

                I remember hearing once that a number of the Japanese starlets did soft adult films.

                1. re: beachmouse

                  Yep! I remember a japanese website way back in the day that had a collection of the pics and episodes they appeared it. Unfortunately it was quickly shut down :( lol!

            3. I hate that high maintenance Italian chick.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Evilbanana11

                Here's a partial listing of past judges to give you a sense of the spectrum:


                1. re: ferret

                  ah yes, it was the esteemed "bonecrusher" who pronounced, "it *tastes* good!"

                  and...i wish i had seen joel mchale. he's hilarious!

              2. last night i watched ruhlman and knowlton trying to outdo one another. it was sickening. knowlton was soooo trying to impress ruhlman, and get his "approval." what nonsense.

                1. "does karine often seem like she's seeking affirmation/approval of her judgments?"
                  shouldn't she be on a diet instead of putting on more calories as a judge? women aren't immune to heart disease.

                  "who is the best judge in your opinion?"
                  martin yan, mrs billy joel (as the best eye candy). steingarten was there as ace-in-the-hole for batali and flay - when all else fails, they have his vote to guarantee they defeat their challengers.

                  "these people on the panel actuially think they are doing something really important and can't seem to get the fact that their role is not all that important and that their self-important posing is annoying"
                  pure brilliance in observing this - absolute brilliance!!! couldn't have stated it better any other way.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: epabella

                    I understand that a new Iron Chef judge is Chowhound Extraordinaire - Simon Majumdar.

                    1. re: epabella

                      Karine had throat cancer a few years back. She's lost a significant amount of weight.