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Okay, I'll do it - Next Iron Chef, Episode 2 (SPOILER)

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An example of how even the "mighty" can stumble. Ming Tsai was being a bit over-confident, and then overdid his dish and ended up in the bottom 2.

I have to say that I was surprised that Mary Dumont squeaked by, considering the toughness of her meat. Flavor must have been her savior.

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  1. thank you for doing this! I wondered if they put Ming in the bottom to create drama- never intending to send him home, but wanting it to look like he isn't walking away with the competition. Thoughts? I have to say I am liking this more than I thought I would- less personality drama than Top chef.

    1 Reply
    1. re: karenfinan

      I do think there was a bit of "drama" involved as well. I have been watching Ming for years and am really surprised they wouldn't just have him be an IC. He has the chops, he has the recognition and the personality.

    2. I think Ming got a raw deal.

      He shouldn't have been second to last.

      The episode was about innovation. He definitely innovated, albeit a bit overboard. Plus, no one commented that his dish actually tasted bad, and Simon really enjoyed the beef.

      That said, I think Ming was his own worst enemy. He's just too good, and oozing with technique and talent (dare I say, "innovation"). He just has to harness it and use it appropriately and the gig is his.

      It's like a pinch of salt and pepper can really liven up a dish. A handful of each makes it unpalatable.

      (Chef Estes rubs me the wrong way for some reason. Maybe it's those goldfish eyes, or something. Dunno ..)

      1 Reply
      1. re: ipsedixit

        i'm with you on Estes. for me, i think it's that huge chip on her shoulder and those ridiculous pigtails. for some reason she reminds me of a petulant child who's on the verge of breaking into a temper tantrum if she doesn't get her way.

      2. The "reinventing an American classic" assignment was in Forgione's wheelhouse, so it's no surprise he won. Tsai might have gotten a raw deal but it was a bit show-offish to present such a complicated plate of food, and I can see why the judges were annoyed.

        3 Replies
        1. re: NYCkaren

          Agree. He comes across as a bit smug and arrogant.

          1. re: mucho gordo

            Smug is exactlyhow he comes off on that show.

            1. re: C. Hamster

              That's how he always is.
              His on camera style is fussy ... like Julia Child fussy.

              It seemed clear to me that's why his show got dropped by Food Network those many years ago, and picked up by PBS.

        2. I'm questioning how the turkey dish that was up for win was innovative. On TV it looked like a pretty standard Thanksgiving platter, albeit with cherry sauce instead of cranberry.

          It must have tasted wonderful. But innovative?

          2 Replies
          1. re: dach

            I thought the same thing and the plating wasn't appealing either. He really just took an open faced sandwich and smeared it across the plate in different components. I don't think it compared to the chicken pot pie at all, in terms of creativity.

            1. re: chowser

              The "bread" looked like those cheap vanilla wafer cookies with the cream filling.

          2. When Ming Tsai was describing his dish, it sounded like he was never going to end with his description. I thought it was good when he admitted that as he described his dish, he knew he'd done too much, and agreed w/ the judges. I don't know if he was overconfident, as much as didn't think and just threw in everything he thought would be good, separately. It didn't seem like he'd planned out the whole dish, just each component. I'm so glad he stayed.

            I don't understand how short ribs were updated pot roast for Mary Dumont--braised meat is braised meat? They never showed how she opened her pressure cooker.

            Oh, and the meatloaf psuedo-sous vide? The best part of the meatloaf is the crustiness you get from baking it. If he was concerned about it cooking it time, make little ones or flatten it out and then roll after cooking--ooh, with mashed potatoes inside. Maybe large meatballs w/ mashed potatoes inside.

            1 Reply
            1. re: chowser

              They did show how the Texas guy (turkey dinner) opened it for her.

            2. What I'm wondering about is the whole deal with plating. It seems so subjective, kind of like you have to keep up with what's "in" or "out." I mean, I didn't see a problem with Estes' little white ramekins of stuff. Can remember some kind of cooking competition where Alex Guernaschelli said how much she hated stuff served in spoons (you know, the Chinese soup ones); later on a Chopped episode she had nothing but praise for someone who served her appetizer in Chinese spoons. I'm looking at a plate (thanksgiving) that just looks like a big smeary mess, and that one is at the top? Maybe you had to go to culinary school to "get it."

              I like that Tsai said he agreed with the judges. I wonder about DuMont; I know all these chefs are of high caliber but of course have never eaten in any of their restaurants (living near San Francisco I could probably try out any number of famous chefs but it's not really in my budget/lifestyle), can't help but wonder why she seems to be scoring so low so consistently?

              1. Can I ask a generic NIC question without hijacking your thread?

                Why do they NEED a new Iron Chef? Is the list of Iron Chefs just going to get bigger and bigger? Or do they drop one of the 'oldies' once they get a new one? (Is Food Network desperate for ratings?) It seems to me, the (original) Japanese Iron Chefs were always the same. And we liked them that way.

                8 Replies
                1. re: pdxgastro

                  The original Japanese Iron Chefs definitely were not always the same. Morimoto was the 3rd "Iron Chef Japanese" and, I think there were also two different Iron Chef Frenchs. Originally there were only 3 Iron Chefs and "Iron Chef Italian" was added later. So, even the original IC tinkered with the pantheon.

                  I don't think FN has explicitly said whether the new IC will replace a current one or be in addition to the current group. I have to believe it's the former. Five is already too much, I think.

                  ~TDQ

                  1. re: pdxgastro

                    I was under the impression that either Cat Cora or Morimoto was leaving, but don't quote me on that.

                    1. re: xo_kizzy_xo

                      I've heard that it is Cat Cora leaving, she is heavily involved with projects with Disney besides a growing family.

                    2. re: pdxgastro

                      I'm guessing that since the Next Food Network Star is such a big ratings draw (despite the fact that the show has really only produced one "star"), hence the reason for this show.
                      Otherwise, why not choose one of the winners from the regular series who beat an Iron Chef?

                      1. re: BubblyOne

                        Notsure I understamd."Food Network Stars" don't seem to be potential "Iron Chefs", to me.

                        1. re: Shrinkrap

                          I meant they should choose chefs that won on the regular Iron Chef; this show is an obvious ratings grabber like Next Food Network Star.

                          1. re: BubblyOne

                            I think it is an obvious ratings grabber. But, with TWO channels to fill with programming, I also think it's FN way of vetting/introducing their audience to new talent. Even non-winners go on to have their own shows or to become regulars (eg., as judges, or panelists, or competitors "chef vs. city") on the various shows..

                            ~TDQ

                            1. re: BubblyOne

                              As opposed to other TV shows that don't care about ratings?

                      2. i missed this thread originally so i posted my comments on the first one. i'll just copy & paste them here...

                        - Pagan needed to go, and Dumont will likely be next.
                        - Estes really irritates me. my take on the judges' comments was that they want to see her to put up plates that are more *refined* but she got huffy about not wanting to do "precious"...meanwhile, she's bopping around the kitchen in pigtails.
                        - i was incredibly relieved to see Ming Tsai make the cut, and i suspect that's the last time we'll see him in the bottom.
                        - Forgione and Caswell impressed the heck out of me.

                        oh, and to expand on Dumont, i have no doubt she's a great chef or she wouldnt have been chosen for the show...but she's clearly falling short on execution here - maybe it's nerves, or being out of her element. either way, i'm really not finding it enjoyable to watch her, and i just don't think she'd be exciting as an Iron Chef.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          Dumont doesn't really have an amazing reputation as a chef here in Boston. Not a bad one either, just kind of ...there. Yeah Harvest is fine, but its not the kind of place people rave about and recommend over and over, like Blue Ginger is. (Or to cite another Bostonian food TV star, TIffani, from one of the early TopChef season--amazing rep for doing really creative and interesting food at Rocca) I've also seen Chef Dumont at numerous food events around the city and while she is very focused, doesn't seem to have the charisma that I think is necessary to be a TV personality.
                          -Estes is super annoying, I agree with goodhealthgourmet's point about her "preciousness!"