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Nov 23, 2010 07:52 AM

Forgive me if this has been hashed to death already, but about Jose Garces....

I DVR Iron Chef and watch them later, sometimes MUCH later, when I'm nursing a migraine or something. Some I never watch at all.

And so it was that I found myself on the sofa last week waiting for the codeine to kick in and I chose my first Garces episode to watch. He lost. So I watched another. He lost that too, and where sometimes it's hard to predict who the judges will favor it was obvious in each of these episodes that he was going down. Then I watched a third and he won, but where final scores are usually in the 55-50 range, he won that one by scoring a paltry 40 points vs. his oponent's 37. And that's all the Garces episodes in my DVR.

He looks miserable and embarrassed. It's bad TV. Anyone have any insider knowledge about what's going on? Is Forgione going to replace him?

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  1. I don't watch ICA anymore, so have no input. But according to Wiki, Jose Garces has a 60% record -- 3 wins and 2 losses. Who knows? Maybe Garces has a losing record, but Food Network chooses not to broadcast those episodes.

    What I found most interesting was the difference in the caliber of chefs from Season 1 to Season 8.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Miss Needle

      You mean the caliber of the challengers, right? I guess it's just inevitable -- rather than bringing back the same chefs over and over, they have to keep expanding the challenger pool.

      Interesting that according to that link, Morimoto's record is only a mediocre 18-11, whereas Batali retired with a stellar 19-5 mark.

      1. re: Bob W

        I ascribe at least some of Morimoto's losses on ICA - at least in earlier days, and even now - to a mismatch between the judges' preferences and Morimoto's style & presentation. In my view there's a slight undercurrent of dislike for a Japanese/Asian-influenced style compared with a full-throated Western idiom in the food and presentation of dishes. I could be wrong if all the scores could be retrieved and compared fully, but for example IIRC Morimoto got marked down for presentation on various occasions, whereas to me it seems like his plates are 'clean' and 'elegant' - more like Japanese style - whereas somebody like Flay or Batali puts out plates that constantly look over-the-top and really, really fussy and overwrought to me, a la Westernized flash-and-dazzle.

        1. re: huiray

          There are definitely culture differences in tastes that cause Morimoto to score lower than other Iron Chefs

          1. re: huiray

            Re: Morimoto's losses: Weirder than weird, since Iron Chef started in Japan, I think. I last saw it when it was on PBS.

            1. re: oakjoan

              He got & gets it a bit on both sides of the Pacific.

              I was referring to IC America (ICA) in my Nov 24 comments, but even on the original IC Japan he had some difficulties sometimes with the Japanese panel for his fusion-tending/"Western"-pointing facets of his food, IIRC.

        2. re: Miss Needle

          As an Iron Chef, Garces is 3-2, but he competed against Bobby Flay a few years back and beat him so that makes him 4-2 overall.

        3. I have to agree on this. and chef forgione i doubt will fare much better. like i said in the last NIC thread, when you are using your picking of a next iron chef for good tv and not necessarily for picking a true master, you are gunna end up with new iron chefs like garces and forgione.

          what would be much better is if they picked it out of a group of chefs more along the caliber of the Top Chef Masters contestants. then they might have a chance of ending up with another person worthy of being called a Iron Chef.

          11 Replies
          1. re: mattstolz

            And therein lies the rub: we keep assuming that caliber matters and the ugly truth is that it doesn't.

            It's cool that you guys have all the stats. What about Flay's record? I'm shocked the Morimoto is basically only 2:1 wins vs. losses. I don't think I've ever seen him lose!

            1. re: Neecies

              I posted about my thoughts on judgments of Morimoto's food above.

            2. re: mattstolz

              a friend of mine worked for garces in philly some time ago (and has now gone on to host his own show on FN) and i believe he's deserving of his title as "iron chef." granted, another friend of mine was competing in that same season and claims originally he was pre-picked to be the WINNER OF THE WHOLE COMPETITION but the producers changed their minds because of (redacted reasons i can't post because then it will be obvious who i'm talking about). my point is, if they were going for flash and dash, then my friend PROBABLY would have won because he is made-for-tv perfect.

              and as for this season, if FN really, truly wanted to go with GOOD TV chef, they would have just tossed it all out on the ear and gone with ming tsai. i had hoped, much like many, he would win, but when he was eliminated, i wasn't surprised, and kind of relieved because he proved to be kind of dated and stale with his presentation despite being extremely tv-friendly, already famous/established and talented. that forgione won isn't much of a surprise considering who his father is; talent runs in his blood.

              1. re: selenster

                "a friend of mine worked for garces in philly some time ago (and has now gone on to host his own show on FN)"

                That would be Adam Gertler.

                1. re: Philly Ray

                  Unfair, using your inside Philly knowledge ;)

                  1. re: gaffk

                    If I remember correctly, when Adam was on Next Food Network Star, they showed him as a server at Amada.

                    1. re: Philly Ray

                      Good eye. I thought the same. (But must admit that was the last season I watched this show, as they did always seem to have a favorite from the start. Plus, I can't stand any of the winner's shows.)

                      1. re: gaffk

                        Who's the big 'THEY'?

                        When speculating about what really is happening in a show like this, it is worth keeping mind that there are 3 major stages:
                        - before show planning
                        - actual filming (both 'realtime' takes, and retakes)
                        - editing

                        As discussed in a Chopped thread, editing can make a big difference in how the contestants appear.

                        I can imagine, for example, that during the planning stage(s) 3-4 strong contenders are identified and invited to participate. Another half dozen are chosen to round out the field. Over all they might have initially asked 20, with half declining for one reason or another. Think of the whole college admissions process.

                        - I'd like to think that the judging was fair, not fixed by the producers (the THEY), and preferably not even biased by them.

                        - I'm guessing that most of the editing is done after all the competition cooking and judging is complete. Assuming that's the case, the producers can then pick clips that highlight the eventual winners, though I think they are looking more for drama than confirmation of the final choice.

                        Another way to look at this is: what do the producers of NIC and ICA really want? Do they want a particular person to be the Iron Chef? Or do they want the kind of drama that attracts an audience? Even if they chose a winner for NIC in the preshow interviews, there's no guarantee that he will be a great Iron Chef. They can't reliably judge cooking skill and personality under ICA conditions just by interviewing people.

                        1. re: gaffk

                          I also think that these 'Next' shows are part of a broader search for new talent. Symon has appeared in several other FN shows (at least 3). Also from the 1st season Cosentino and Sanchez have appeared on other shows (Chefs v City, Chopped). From the 2nd Freitag has been a Chopped judge (and commenter on a Cooking Channel show). Garces, from a FN producers viewpoint, might have been a disappointment, not so much because of his cooking skills, but because of his laid-back screen personality.

                          From the 3rd series, I wouldn't be surprised if we see more of Canora and Tio.

                          1. re: paulj

                            I thought Canora would be Batali's replacement on FN. I still expect to see him. Hey they gave us Tom Pizzica and he didn't win TNFNS

                            1. re: scubadoo97

                              that was another new show i wasnt particularly thrilled with. especially since they already have triple d, AND just started meat and potatoes too. THEYRE ALL THE SAME THING.

                              plus i thought pizzica was annoying.

                              i was glad that jeffery saad got a show on cooking channel though. he was definitely my favorite from his season.

              2. funny. i am currently watching the ICA with garces, and i noticed just HOW MUCH this guy is sweating. on his head. sweat pouring down his face like freaking waterfalls, and presumably into all those lovely dishes he is preparing.

                which is why i remembered this post heading, wondering whether it was about his excessive sweating.

                i guess it's not, but.... ew. can't that guy wear a headband or something? gross.

                2 Replies
                1. re: linguafood

                  i see that with a lot of the chefs on these competition shows - ICA, Top Chef, Chopped...gotta wonder why we don't hear more comments about over-salting from the judges!

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    gotta wonder why we don't hear more comments about over-salting from the judges!

                    or soggy dishes.