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Next Iron Chef 3 (Ep. 1) [SPOILER]

I'll kick this post off with "Who is being replaced? Do we really need another Iron Chef?"

Theme: Ingenuity

Marco Canora
Bryan Caswell
Maneet Chauhan
Mary Dumont
Duskie Estes
Marc Forgione
Andrew Kirschner
Mario Pagán
Celina Tio
Ming Tsai

Mini-interviews... Chefs are stating Ming Tsai is their biggest competition.

Quickfire Challenge - The secret ingredient is Bread! [Look to the right with swishing sound]. Using ingenuity, 30 minutes to make a sandwich. The usual drill... the sandwich should represent your culinary philosophy.

Judges - The twist, the other chefs.
What's up with Chef Estes voting for her own sandwich! That's quite a move.
She wins the sandwich competition and an advatange - 5 extra minutes for the elimination challenge.

Elimination Challenge - If you're stranded on a desert island, what one ingredient would you want?
The challenge is to cook a meal at the beach. Their heat source looks like the Big Green Egg with hardwood lump charcoal.

Their ingredients (the one's that I remember)...
Marco Canora
Bryan Caswell
Maneet Chauhan - Turkey
Mary Dumont - Corn
Duskie Estes - Suckling Pig
Marc Forgione
Andrew Kirschner - Duck
Mario Pagán - Limes
Celina Tio - Corn
Ming Tsai - Suckling Pig

Michael Symon
Dontella Arapia
Simon Majumdar

Chef Kirschner roast a jalapeno. He has a hard time lighting his Donatella bites into the pepper before Kirschner can warn her about the heat. She's overwhelmed.

Chef Estes has a suckling pig, but plates a skewer with only two or three small cubes of pork. She had the five minute advantage where she grabbed seafood. She ends up bottom three. Karma?

Winner: Chef Tsai
Eliminated: Andrew Kirschner

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  1. I enjoyed the show.

    I'm pulling for Ming Tsai.

    Love the cool bandana action as Tsai was getting ready to attack the "pantry" on the beach.

    I think Tsai would be a great Iron Chef.

    Loved the "too much bread" tissy-fit.

    I thought Estes should've been eliminated. How do you use your secret ingredient and then come up with a seafood platter?

    3 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      I agree with you 100%. I thought her error was far more egregious than Chef Krischner's. Not only did she not feature her selected item, she good it improperly.

      1. re: DiningDiva

        Yeah, as a chef how do you NOT know that raw pineapple and pork (in fact any other protein) don't match.

        I think she stayed because they said that even though her dish did not use the main ingredient correctly, the dish she did make tasted good unlike the improperly cooked and non innovative duck breast.

        I thought she was going home too.

        1. re: septocaine_queen

          Plus, she just doesn't have that "it" quality you want in an Iron Chef.

    2. other ingredients:
      caswell was amberjack
      forgione i think was suckling pig as well

      agree estes' mistakes were worse. in fact it sounded like they liked kirschner's just that it wasn't that special. she raises pigs. she should've known how to cook them. but she's good drama. can't believe she voted for herself. ugh.

      2 Replies
      1. re: AMFM

        I felt it was some kind of warning; without good character, things will not go well....you've been warned!

        1. re: AMFM

          Forgione had free range chicken

        2. I know Alton Brown said the secret ingredient was based on each contestant's answer to what one ingredient they would bring to a deserted island, but I'm wondering exactly how that question was phrased.

          Was it, "What one ingredient would you bring to cook with?"

          Or was it "What one ingredient would you want to eat"?

          Or something else.

          I ask because some of their choices were kind of odd. Lime?? Turkey is kind of odd too.

          5 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            I was out of the room when Alton presented the EC. I was thinking maybe they drew cards? Or perhaps Alton asked them outright? If not, maybe how they arrived at their choices wasn't broadcast?

            1. re: xo_kizzy_xo

              It seemed to me they were asked in some sort of interview or questionnaire prior to the competition starting. I agree it would have been interested as to how the question was phrased -- especially given one of the contestants (Tio's?) explanation for selecting corn.

              1. re: pollymerase

                Yeah, Alton Brown said it was part of the questionnaire that each of them was asked to fill out.

                I mean, seriously, limes???

                You figure the question had to be pretty specific because of the answers, esp since so many of them provided the same ones -- e.g. suckling pig and fowl (turkey and chicken) and corn ...

                I'd imagine the question had to be something along the lines of, "If you were stranded on a deserted island, what one food item would you want to have to cook with." or something like that.

                Couldn't imagine the question being, "what would you want to have to eat" because who the hell would want to eat limes all day long. Maybe they thought they would have eggs, butter, condensed milk, graham crackers, butter and sugar to make a pie?

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  If you were stranded on a deserted island, limes make sense. You can catch fish and make ceviche with limes. No fire necessary. Limes hold pretty well before spoiling so I thought this was a good choice.

                  Now a suckling pig, while positively versatile, makes no sense for a deserted island....unless you're going for the luau.

                  I know we have no clue on the context of how the question was asked but it's interesting to see the responses. Some chefs answered with their brain but others answered with their palate. Corn is fairly versatile (you can dry it and grind it, as Chef Tio explained) but any of the proteins will have fairly quick spoilage rates unless you have some preservation methods (and equipment) in mind.

                  Or am I over thinking this??? *grin*

                  1. re: Dee S

                    I think what happened is that some of the chefs realized that their answers would probably be part of a challenge at some point (hence the chicken, turkey, pork) and others answered it from a more practical standpoint (limes, corn).

          2. Why did Donatella have to be warned that a roasted pepper would be hot? Who would eat a whole pepper like that?

            1 Reply
            1. re: chowser

              The look on her face was amazing. And she looked like she was seriously suffering for the next challenges too- like she was going to cry.

            2. I agree about Estes. But beyond anyone else, I'd like to see two people eliminated from the entire Iron Chef universe: Donatella and the bad actor who portrays the Chairman. Isn't it about time Food Network just admits that the Chairman is a failed element of Iron Chef (robotically bad actor vs. the entertainingly kitschy Kaga of the original), and adding whoosh sound effects only cheapens the show further. There's a reason you pretty much only see him in recorded videos now -- without a teleprompter, he'd have nothing to say.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Lobstr

                Absolutely agree; the 'chairman' has got to go. The histrionics are inane.

                1. re: mucho gordo

                  Agreed, I hate the "swooshes" every time he moves his head; but I think Alton is going to be my reason for failing to finish watching the entire series.

                  Alton used to seem very helpful, kind of like the uncle everyone likes; but since he lost his weight (and I give him credit for that) he has become a narcissistic, abrupt rude host (in this and ICA).

                  1. re: gmk1322

                    I don't know that I'd call Alton rude, so much as I'd say it really seems like he's trying very hard to be witty, urbane and erudite. I used to find him amusing and entertaining, not so much any more. The more he tries to impress with his command of the English language and knowlege of minutia, the less interesting he's become (to me). I like him better when he didn't take himself, or his press, quite so seriously.

                    1. re: gmk1322

                      I like to believe someone is telling him to be that way.

                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                        :nodding: It's like Fox telling Ramsay to be over-the-top. Makes for good TV :rolls eyes:

                      2. re: gmk1322

                        I agree. Alton knows his stuff but his shtick turns me off.

                  2. I don't know how I feel about this show anymore. It was exciting when Michael Symon won the first season because the calibre of chefs was outstanding. The level of the chefs they've had in the two most recent seasons are more Top Chef candidates than Top Chef: Masters candidates. For the Iron Chef, the chefs should be of the Masters calibre.
                    I've also read interviews from Ming Tsai saying that he's always rejected these competiition shows....wonder what changed his mind....and why he'd want to compete with this cast instead of prior casts?

                    13 Replies
                    1. re: attran99

                      wonder what changed his mind??


                      1. re: attran99

                        In one of the confessionals, Chef Tsai stated his reason for trying out was to see if he still has game... (something like that).

                        Based upon his comment, my guess is that he doesn't need the $$$ nor the notoriety. The competition is more of a personal challenge and whether he's still relevant. However, the added notoriety and $$$ wouldn't hurt either. :-)

                        1. re: dave_c

                          If he really wanted to see if he still has game, he should have agreed to any of the two seasons of Top Chef: Masters or first season of ICA. The calibre of chefs would have been more up his alley. Just my opinion. But according to some interviews (yumsugar.com and a few others) I believe he was asked, but he turned them all down.

                          1. re: attran99

                            He was asked, but the timing just wasn't right.

                            Like he said on th ICA Season 3 premiere, he felt like now was the time he wanted to see if he still had this mojo.

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              Or wait for a lower calibre of chefs to compete so he has a better chance of actually winning?

                              1. re: attran99

                                Do you really believe Ming Tsai has been sitting around waiting for a reality coking show with lower calibre of chefs so he can improve his chances of winning?

                                1. re: chowser

                                  His actions and interviews with the press would imply so. He can spin it any way he wants, but it doesn't mean that it's the truth. I remember reading an article, a year or so ago, quoting him as to saying that he wouldn't compete if he didn't think that he had a good shot at winning. Now I can't remember the article because it was a while ago, but that's when I kind of lost my respect for him.

                                  1. re: attran99

                                    Here's the article from yumsugar from September 2009:


                                    YS: Any chance we'll ever see you on Top Chef Masters?
                                    MT: Apparently I was one of the first they [Bravo] asked to do Top Chef Masters. To be honest, my agent said, "Absolutely — if you can guarantee that he wins." I had more to lose than to gain. It was a huge commitment — two and a half, three weeks. I don't have two and a half weeks; I've got two kids and a business. And you know what gets me? That some of the old Top Chef winners and runners-up are judging them. What right do they have to be judging Hubert Keller? That's so wrong. They have no right critiquing Hubert Keller's food and Rick Bayless's food. That absolutely would've irked me.

                                    1. re: attran99

                                      Thanks for the link!

                                      To me, that is not the some as "him .... saying that he wouldn't compete if he didn't think that he had a good shot at winning."

                                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                                        I guess we all interpret it differently. I find it off-putting that he wanted a guarantee that he would win.

                                        1. re: attran99

                                          A. According to the quote, his agent said that.
                                          B. It was his way of saying "No, I don't want to be on Top Chef Masters" since the prize wasn't worth the effort, in his opinion. I disagree with that sentiment, but that's how I read that quote.
                                          My read is that he wasn't going to go through the process of competing in a reality show unless there was a prize he actually wanted.

                                          1. re: Fukui San

                                            His agent represents his interests directly. The agent's job is to go after what the client wants regardless of whether or not it is right to do so (i.e. refer to ridculous contract demands from any entertainer/professional athelete). I'm not entirely sure that what the agent said would have been too far from what Ming Tsai wants.
                                            Like I said, we all interepret things differently. Perhaps, I'm tainted because I work in the entertainment industry and am privvy to plenty of ridiculous demands from agents and their clients.

                                            1. re: attran99

                                              I guess I think an agent can represent your interests (i.e. to make money and be "successful") but not necessarily reflect your values. Interesting that he quoted his agent this way.

                                              But my only experience is from television! Seinfeld, Frasier....What was that show about the sports agent? Arli$$!