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ICA: Forgione v Cooper

Did anyone else catch the debut of Marc Forgione? The judging was pretty awful and seemed clearly designed to ensure Forgione convincingly gets the win. I don't find bell peppers to be the most exciting main ingredient but I still can't say I found any of Forgione's food to be overly appealing. However, what got me the most was during Chef Cooper's dessert course, when Karine Bakuom (sp?) is "explaining" to Adam Richman what the perfect bite is, she lets out what I swear was a loud burp! I had to rewind the dvr a couple of times to make sure I wasn't hearing things! I can't say I have a problem with belching but I find it pretty funny that FN wouldn't bother editing that out. Am I the only one that noticed this?

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  1. I didn't notice the burp, but she was a bit over excited about the pasta dish! Yikes! I am not a pepper fan, but several of both chef's dishes looked good.

    1. I saw it. Thought it was fine. I didn't get a sense that the judging was "thrown". Forgione's dishes looked pretty good to me, so did Cooper's; but the fault with his was correctly pointed out by the judging panel - the peppers were not the focus of 2-3 of his dishes (at least). He (Cooper) in fact mentioned in an aside during the contest that he had a negative attitude towards peppers when he was growing up and later one of the judges commented (IIRC) that he tried to make the peppers 'disappear' from a dish, or words to that effect...

      1 Reply
      1. re: huiray

        I agree, while Coopers food was good, it really seemed pepper was secondary in the dishes. And Forgione got called on it for his pork dish, but his other dishes were all about the pepper.

      2. Actually, this was one of the few episodes where I thought the IC really did deserve to win. Cooper seemed a bit muddled and unsure of himself. There have been plenty of other episodes where I really thought the challenger should win, and was disappointed that they seem to always give it to the IC. I like Forgione, I think he's good on the show.

        1 Reply
        1. re: chorosch

          I agree, I saw this episode and thought the challengers dishes were less compelling. It seemed to me to be a fair juding. I would have been surprised if the IC lost.

        2. I thought it was nice to see 3 judges that actually know food, instead of some actor or sports star. Anytime Nigella is on is ok with me.

          2 Replies
          1. re: saeyedoc

            Yeah, they all were "food" people, but Karine and Adam had some sort of comedy-team vibe going and it got pretty annoying to me (and I like Adam a lot). I got the sense that Nigella was sitting there thinking, "Oh, these children."

            My take on the result is similar to huiray and libgirl's: Cooper's failure to make the peppers the focus of dishes 1-3 doomed him, and his pathetic score of 8 in the originality category reflected that. Still, I liked the look of his food and really need to get back to Vidalia -- it's been over ten years, I'm sure.

            @libgirl: Karine's reaction to the pasta dish was way, way over the top (for a family show).

            1. re: Bob W

              I won't say what her reaction sounded like!

          2. With these new Iron Chefs, I'd really like to see someone (Challenger or IC) go and use a protein that is outside the box. Enough with the fish, fowl, beef, pork, etc.

            How about some insects? Bell pepper relish with some roasted crickets? Now, that would be cool.

            10 Replies
            1. re: ipsedixit

              or squab with head on? - opps, that's being hashed out in another thread.

              How about insects as the secret ingredient, with the exotic food travel hosts as judges?

              They had tongue and cheeks as the secret ingredient(s) not too long ago.

              1. re: paulj

                I think having the Chairman lift the veil and reveal baskets and cages and cages full of live chirping crickets might be a bit too much ... might get an NC-17 rating and get booted off public television.

                My biggest gripe is that when the secret ingredient is a complementary item (e.g. bell peppers) or a spice (e.g. vanilla), the chefs always fall back on the tried-and-true proteins. I could swear that there is always some sort of sashimi dish (a hamachi or a tuna tartar) or some sort of beef prep. Just want a little out-of-the-box cooking.

                I mean seriously, if you ever watch the original Iron Chef (in Japanese) those dudes were all over the place. Their bravado with the dishes were sometimes so outrageous it made me want to learn Japanese just so I could get the play-by-play straight from the horses' mouth, so to speak.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  I was prompted to try nato and konyaku from that show.

                  However I'm not so sure that most dishes where unusual, from a Japanese viewpoint. Often there was a tension between sticking with traditional methods v. innovative ones (with Morimoto being the most innovated).

                  1. re: paulj

                    Actually, what I wish they would do with Iron Chef America is designate each chef a region like they did in Japan .... e.g, one was French, another was Italian, etc.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      You got me thinking, Ipse. Why doesn't ICJ add an American chef to their lineup just as ICA got Morimoto from them?

                      1. re: mucho gordo

                        What would be an "American Chef"?

                        Someone like Mel from "Mel's Diner"? A real life Betty Crocker?

                        Or a cook with a cooking pedigree akin to that of a mutt like, say, Guy Fieri?

                        Thnking about it some more, how about Anthony Bourdain as "Iron Chef, America" ... Even though he cooked at Les Halles, a french type bistro, he sort of cut his culinary edge working all sorts of venues and places -- a typical mutt, if you will.

                        Now, if Bourdain was an Iron Chef that would definitely be "must-see TV".

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          Good point. Someone like Flay, Batali, Emeril or even Forgione. Doesn't even have to be 'American', just non Japanese.

                        2. re: mucho gordo

                          Is ICJ still being produced? My impression is that Morimoto was the last addition to the ICJ, and he was promoted as a American (US flag on his uniform etc).

                          1. re: paulj

                            It may not be; I don't know. Maybe that's why an older looking Morimoto is now part of ICA. Obviously I'm looking at old reruns if the Morimoto on ICJ looks years younger.

                            1. re: mucho gordo

                              According to the Wiki article, ICJ:
                              "The series ended on September 24, 1999, although occasional specials were produced until 2002"