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Nov 16, 2009 05:07 AM

The Next iron Chef - Down to Two (spoilers, including for finale episode)

Was I hearing things, or did Jeffrey criticize Mehta's flower garden as excessive, and then, at judgment, say it was lovely?

Plus, it was mentioned that Mehta didn't really meet the theme requirement as well as the other two, but then it was Mullen who got axed.

Generally a disappointing episode, although I did get a chuckle when Hattori-san disagreed about the doneness of Mullen's fish. The look on Steingarten's face...

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  1. I agree. Kind of a boring episode. I've missed a lot of this season but I don't find either of the finalists as fun to watch as Symon and Besh were.

    1 Reply
    1. re: NYCkaren

      I completely agree. The cooking skill is there but the personalities this season seem a little dull when you compare them to besh and symon. I think besh should have gotten another chance at it.

    2. It's obvious the editing elves are making Mehta the bad guy. Perhaps he is a jerk and certainly some of the things he says and does seem unsportsmanlike. But in the beginning of the show I remember liking him.

      My SO said he though Mullen limping around the kitchen would be depressing to watch on Iron Chef and might have had an influence on the result. Not sure I agree but interesting theory.

      Garces is my #1 pick. He's interesting to watch and definitely puts his personal spin on everything he makes. And his respect for the product is obvious.

      Why can't Donatella deal with spice? Any time there's even a little heat she winces. Might not be the best quality for a judge.

      2 Replies
      1. re: mojoeater

        Yeah, Donatella reminds of someone who would go to New Orleans, order jambalaya, and then say, "Please don't make it spicy."

        However, I think she has a major "food crush" on Chef Garces. I always notice how she perks up and smiles broadly every time he walks in to be judged.

        1. re: mojoeater

          I haven't been watching the show, but the thing you have to remember about this, as well as the New Food Network Star, is that it's much more about casting a successful TV show than it is about the cooking. Sad to so, if one of the contestants has a limp, that's going to work against him much more than another's bad food.

          These are the cold realities of casting for TV -- and they make for terribly frustrating home viewing. I'd never be able to watch that show, as I used to work in show business and saw it from the inside all the time. It literally comes down to a decision of which person more viewers find sexy. It's antithetical to cooking skill.

        2. Steingarten is a piece of work on the show (and on ICA). I find myself wondering about his personal relationships. Is he married or in a relationship? Do he have friends? How's all that going? But then I do tend to add story that I make up.

          3 Replies
          1. re: chicgail

            Jeffrey used to be mean and funny, but I've noticed that he's gotten just meaner w/o the wit and humor. He fights with all the judges now, not just a couple. Maybe he's having a hard personal life?

            1. re: Claudette

              I have no concrete evidence for this, but I've had the thought that he is not well. Physically.

              1. re: chicgail

                I was going to say something similar. He has had that sort of gray pallor, and vacant look as of late about him.

                the way he's gone after Donatella is just uncomfortable at times, as well.

          2. Finally got to watch the episode on delay last night.

            I thought that the criticism of Chef Mullen's effort was spot on. As soon as he said that he was going to do six dishes instead of five, I knew that he was dead. He was over reaching, but he almost pulled it off.

            The way they edited the cooking sequences, they wanted you to believe that Chef Garces and Chef Mullen would not be able to plate anything, and Chef Mehta had this huge display that was really over the top for the theme. My wife thinks that it will be Mehta and I tend to agree. I think that he's been sort of sandbagging up to now.

            9 Replies
            1. re: araknd

              They're really portraying Mehta as the villain of the show. For that reason I don't think it will be him. Food Network wants someone likable to be the next Iron Chef.

              1. re: Miss Needle

                Do they get to skew the results so the nice guy wins? Or prevent a substandard guy who happens to be on top at the right time over a more qualified person?

                I'm asking out of curiosity. It seems Top Chef couldn't, and got stuck with Ilan winning one season.

                1. re: Claudette

                  I do remember reading somewhere (and I don't remember where) that when Sam got kicked off in Season 2, the producers asked Colicchio to rethink his position. Obviously Colicchio didn't listen to them. On Season 2 you got 2 villains in the finale.

                  I don't think they skew the results. But I do believe they skew the editing. Hung won in Season 3. He was portrayed as an arrogant prick until the end where they started showing the whole "I'm doing this for all the immigrants in America" thing.

                  And Top Chef and Next Iron Chef are different. With Next Iron Chef, the winner becomes one of the iron chefs on Iron Chef America. It really is in Food Network's best interests to find a likeable Iron Chef. The winner of Top Chef serves a more limited function for Bravo.

                  ETA: On a show like Hell's Kitchen it is possible they skew the results for better ratings. Perhaps not in the finale, but I felt that there were contestants that lasted far longer than they should have.

                  1. re: Miss Needle

                    I think Hung switching his strategy to "I'm in it for my people" was simply canny strategy on his part. They kept telling him (correctly) that his cooking had no soul, and he began to start telling a different story to make them think his motivations were different from his true, robotic heart. I wasn't a fan of Hung at all, and would have no interest in eating his food.

                    1. re: dmd_kc

                      My take is that Hung probably said the immigrant thing at some point during the competition and the editors didn't air it til later on. They have hours and hours of footage. With careful editing, you can spin any story you want.

                      And Hung won the seafood category in the US finals for Bocuse d'Or. I think that's quite an accomplishment and would be thrilled to try his food at some point (though not at Ajna where he is cooking now).

                      1. re: dmd_kc

                        I think "heart" and "soul" in cooking is a crock.

                        If someone makes a robot that can cook great food, I am just as happy to eat it as any human made food.

                        That said, I found Hung not only accomplished but also likable from the very beginning of that series.

                        1. re: Atahualpa

                          I've wondered about that, too. And cooking with "love" - huh? One of my friends loves to cook, and loves to cook for me, in particular, but her food still tastes really awful.

                    2. re: Claudette

                      I don't think they need to fix the results; they have plenty of tape to choose from, and they knew the outcome of the competition was known before the show was edited. That's why I think Miss Needle is right: if Mehta is the winner, they would have portrayed him more sympathetically. Or maybe they'll give us some kind of personality breakthrough in the final battle.

                      I've only watched the last two episodes, so I don't really know the cast of characters, but my impression is that Garces is the more versatile chef. There are several different basic "Iron Chef" personality types. Mehta would be the flashy, temperamental sort; Garces seems more practical and unflappable.

                  2. re: araknd

                    Mullen actually did eight dishes, since the first was a trio.

                    Bad judgment.

                  3. The original comment has been removed
                    1. Chef Garces has already competed against (and beaten) Bobby Flay on IC America.

                      1. re: Philly Ray

                        And Morimoto beat Mehta in Battle Coconut.