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Iron chef America- what are they doing? And why?

i'm watching the battle right now, and it's Morimoto vs the competitor in battle seaweed. Why do they have as judges stupid anorexic actresses that don't know anything about food (because they're usually borderline anorexic due to their need to stay thin)? Honestly, the "judges" seem like the sorriest lot ever- why not use people who really love food? Is that so hard?

Morimoto has proven himself way beyond these bimbos.

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  1. Who were the judges? Any repeats, or all new faces?

    1 Reply
    1. re: paulj

      Stefan Gates, Julie White and Michael Fernandez

    2. How do you know Julie White is anorexic?

      She looked fine to me.

      9 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        Julie White has been on multiple times. She knows what she is talking about, is funny and is a good eater. What's the problem? And did you ever think, maybe the EDITING sucks?

        Another regular actress they have on is Cady Huffman. She a delightful female Jeffrey Steingarten, though clearly a tad more feminine...

        1. re: happybaker

          This was a typical line up - a food professional (critic or writer), someone with links to the secret ingredient, and a celebrity.

          People like Cady and Julie are not bad choices. They've traveled and eaten at fine restaurants. They are far more likely to have had caviar and truffles than most viewers. In this case Julie wasn't as familiar with seaweed as the other judges, but she was far more articulate and entertaining. I suspect a lot of viewers identified with her, trusting her reaction to the black nori sauce more than that of the other judges.

          1. re: paulj

            I wouldn't mind seeing a 10 year old, a starving African refugee and a 500 lb compulsive over-eater as judges or 3 anorexic supermodels. Change 'em up every week. Believe me, there is nothing more challenging as a cook as cooking for the general public with all their weird food hang-ups. Can you prepare a caviar dish so it is palatable for a 10 year old?

            1. re: LorenM

              On battle Hot Dog they had a pair of sports commentators. Their tastes leaned much more toward the ball park hot dog than the typical IC offerings.

              1. re: paulj

                That makes sense. However I would love, love, love to see battle liver with child judges for instance. What an honor it would be to hear "Gee, I always HATED liver, but this was really good"! That takes some rare skill! Battle foie gras to a bunch of food critics and restauranteurs? Snoozefest! Like preaching to the choir.

              2. re: LorenM

                While that would be interesting, I'm not so sure that's the spirit of Iron Chef America, and it certainly wasn't the spirit of Iron Chef.

                The competition was to see who could prepare the best dishes from the secret ingredient, not who could necessarily please the most diverse of palates.

                Maybe you say the two are the same, but I'm not so sure that's the case.

                There are those who swear by Kraft Mac N Cheese and wouldn't touch anything made with a Emmenthal, Gruyère and Fontina sauce that's finished off a touch of truffle oil.

                There is nothing wrong with that diner, but I don't believe that was the target judge that the original Iron Chef was looking for, nor is it the on that Iron Chef America is targeting.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  You are right. I suppose I am just kind of tiring of ICA and imagining an entirely different show (I have entirely too active an imagination, also). I really preferred the Japanese version, with it's exotic and often totally foreign ingredients and techniques and do enjoy Chopped (making good food from crappy or incompatible ingredients). I guess ICA just feels like retreads of old episodes to me. Doesn't help that I find Alton intensely annoying as well. Morimoto is still a pleasure to watch, though.

                  1. re: LorenM

                    What is exotic or foreign to you in ICJ most likely was familiar to the judges, and v.v.

                    Often the IC battle was between some innovator and a representative of the traditional. Especially in the later battles with Morimoto, he was the innovator, stretching the experience of the judges.

                    While the IC ingredients were often more exotic to American viewers, I think the plating and originality of the ICA dishes are generally more advanced. I can't speak for the taste. At least that's my impression when I watch reruns of IC on CC.

                    1. re: paulj

                      Regarding the plating and originality aspects - not so sure about the superiority of ICA over ICJ in that regard. I often feel that the ICs on ICA other than Morimoto go overboard w/ the plating (especially in the beginning) and especially with Bobby Flay - they often look like explosions and train wrecks to me with body parts strewn over the landscape (it was particularly bad in the beginning of ICA), while Morimoto's look sleek and elegant/refined to me. The platings on ICJ were almost always restrained and tasteful. Originality - I think there was as much of it, if not even more, on ICJ as on ICA.

        2. Stefan Gates is a totally respectable food writer - I'd trust his judging any day, and I thought his comments were interesting and informative.

          1 Reply
          1. The original frequently had a giggly Japanese soap starlet among the judges - so they are just being true to the original : ) Shouldn't a true Iron Chef be able to wow a food critic, a restaurateur, and a starlet all at the same time? If the food ONLY appeals to the geeks, what is it worth?

            1. I think they use a celebrity judge thinking that the common viewer will be able to relate to a "less" refined palate.

              As for figure, I don't see the problem. Food critics/enthusiasts come in all shapes in sizes. I don't think you have to look a certain to be able to appreciate food.

              Further, the argument could be made that a borderline would increase ones focus/interest in food given that they're likely hungry all the damn time :D

              1. I didn't realize Morimoto was still doing the show!

                11 Replies
                1. re: Shrinkrap

                  He had 7 battles in season 8, and 2 in the current season.

                  1. re: paulj

                    What a neat refernce! Thanks!

                    Wow...the secret ingredients have included pork fat? I dont remember that one.

                    No more Cat Cora though, right? I don't think they show her picture anymore.

                    1. re: Shrinkrap

                      I haven't paid attention to the opening credits. Cora had 2 battles this season.

                        1. re: Shrinkrap

                          Is being an Iron Chef a clear case of you either are or you are not? I imagine they are paid by the episode. And the pairing of Chef and challenger is probably the result of negotiation between producers, challenger, and available chefs. Personal availability probably has a lot to do with it. They all have their hands in multiple projects, restaurants, other TV appearances, books, speaking engagements, promoting a cookware line, etc.

                          1. re: paulj

                            I see. That makes sense. I sort of notice who they say when they roll through what I thought were the opponents choices. Lets me know how old it is, by who is the newest chef on line up. There are some chefs I hardly ever see, and I think I would make a point of watching when they are on.

                            1. re: Shrinkrap

                              They are most likely to reshoot the opening sequence when a new chef is added to the lineup - i.e. after a Next Iron Chef competition.

                          1. re: paulj

                            which was filed over a year ago...

                        2. re: Shrinkrap

                          I noticed Cat Cora wasn't picutured, either!


                    2. I laugh because I thought this post was going to be about how the Iron Chef America competitons have yielded very little TV star talent since Michael Symon was added.

                      Both he and Cora go way back to the FN small time shows where time, talent and eventual recognition played it's course out, much like baseball farm teams where you learn the business slowly and then decide where to go with it.

                      Anymore, a short attention span and immediate gratification for a "new" star gets the process and the talent backwards, much like NFNS and Hell's Kitchen (albeit different processes and different judging methods.)

                      That is not to say Iron Chef America does not have a high caliber of talent. It just forces it often where it doesn't want to go.

                      As for judges, I seldom have a problem, and IIRC, the woman on the Iron Chef Japan judging panel who called herself "psychic or clairvoyant" in the first year then asked to be called "food critic" soon after, but I think she had family ties to the Chairman and was somewhat of a "ringer" due to nepotism.

                      IC America is far more entertainment based vs. heavy competition based for name and notariety and restaurant owner pride for the .jp version. That's my opinion.

                      The Boomer Esiason episode and the Keyshawn Johnson episode of ICA were the only saw were I saw picky eaters with no food experience act as judges. And it showed.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: jjjrfoodie

                        On Iron Chef Japan, I think you may be lumping Asako Kishi (the "food critic") and Kazuko Hosoki (the "fortune teller") together as one person. Both were regulars on the show, often taking the last seat at the judging table.

                        1. re: jjjrfoodie

                          Keyshawn being a restaurateur was especially disappointing to me.

                        2. And you expect something better when the Chairman's nephew (or whatever) does the stupid back flips to open each show? Now he does look anorexic, or wait, are only thin fit women supposed to be this? How does his shirt stay tucked in during those flips?

                          Or wait, maybe, I'll just watch the chefs and channel hop during these moments. Yeah. That's entertainment.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Quine

                            The 'nephew' actor is a 'martial artist'

                            As for that shirt staying tucked in - editing and multiple takes. Since you pay so much attention to his shirt, does he wear the same shirt and tie during the back flip as during conversation with the challenger?

                            1. re: paulj

                              You actually thought those were serious questions? I don't think he wears a tie, btw.

                              1. re: Quine

                                Oh, he always wears a tie!

                                EDIT: I just did a google image search. I'm totally wrong. He often does not wear a tie! I always picture him with a tie!


                          2. Why all the brouhaha over an entertainment program? So what if they don't have trained food professionals as judges? Not every viewer is a food professional and it's nice to be able to relate to an average person tasting these dishes. It's an opportunity for chefs to showcase their creativity in an entertaining way. No reason to get hung up on the judging.

                            1. I must ask you to exclude Chef Michael Fernandez from your category of 'bimbos'. As a former student of his and someone familiar with his extensive resume, I can assure you that he is more than qualified to have judged ICA. In fact, having eaten his food I would put my money on him if he were to compete on ICA...even against Morimoto himself. Do some research before you resort to name calling next time, please.

                              1. Julie White is a lesser goddess, you dope.

                                1. they are doing exactly what the original iron chef show did - there the judges were often actors & sports stars, they had the japanese equivalent of a congressman as a regular judge,a s well as a professional psychic.

                                  1. Maybe because some of them may be bulimic and judge tasting the food twice. (going in and coming out)

                                    1. The battle they just showed on Saturday between Iron Chef Garces vs Challenger Cesare Casella was amazing...might have been the best food I've ever seen cooked on the show. Not trying to be a spoiler, but the 2nd perfect score in show history was given to the winner.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Bunson

                                        But, but there weren't any anorexic actresses on the judging panel; least not this pianist

                                        spoilers here: http://wannabetvchef.com/?p=7394

                                      2. I think it's common 'foodie' knowledge that the 'secret ingredient' never actually was a 'secret' at least among the IC staff/producers/chefs/assistants. R. Feenie has exploded that myth a long time ago.
                                        Is there a site where there's a listing of all the original IC shows from Japan and who won and lost? Is there also the same type of site with the same info about ICA? I could be wrong but it seems to me that the chefs on ICA are winning a LOT more often than the original chefs in Japan did. Or is it just my imagination?
                                        BTW I try to watch all the shows but I apparently missed the 'Parsnip Battle'.
                                        I thought Stefan Gates was an excellent judge. The others not so much.
                                        My 'fantasy' judge lineup would Tiny Tim (RIP) , A. B. and Tom Waits.

                                        1 Reply