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The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs (Episode 6 "Food Auction") [Spoilers]

We're at the Chelea District in NYC.

And the theme of the Chairman's Challenge is "Risk", so the setup is a reverse auction.

Chefs must use their allotted time of 60 minutes to bid for the ingredient they will cook with. The lowest bid in terms of time, wins the ingredient. But the chef's winning bid in time equals how much time each chef has to cook.

The chef who loses in the auction -- i.e., none of the bids wins an ingredient -- is stuck with the fifth and last ingredient and by default is given 5 less minutes to cook than the otherwise lowest winning bid time.

Confused? Sorry, pretend to understand and just follow along.

Burrell = canned sardines, 50 minutes to cook
Zakarian = Wagyu Beef, 35 minutes to cook
Falkner = tuna jerky, 25 minutes to cook
Chiarello = lobster, 25 minutes to cook
Guarnaschelli = leg of lamb, 20 minutes cook

But wait, there's more! Burrell won the last challenge, so what's her advantage? Burrell gets to be the 4th judge! Or more precisely, she gets to choose 1 of the 2 "losing" chefs who has to compete in the Secret Ingredient Challenge.

With great power, comes great responsibility ... and irony?

So who did Burrell ding as a loser? No quite yet. It's signed, and delivered ... in a sealed envelope.

First, onto our regularly scheduled panel of judges.

Judges said Zakarian's dish was "fantastic" and the Wagyu was "light and fantastic"!

Burrell makes a trio (uh-oh!) of sardines maybe because she had too much time? Bread pudding was a loser. Cute little sardine can as a plating technique? Cute, yes, but it still has to taste good. And it didn't.

The butter poached lobster from Chiarello with risotto was "thoroughly enjoyed" by one judge even though some felt that poached lobster, in and of itself, was not very risky.

Guarnaschelli's leg of lamb in 20 minutes resulted in a lamb sausage and the effort was lauded as "well done" but the sauce was not a hit and maybe the sausage was a bit bland? Tough crowd. 20 minutes. Leg of lamb. Sheesh.

Tuna jerky souffle from Falkner was said to be "incredibly risky" and who would've thought that tuna jerky could be mistaken for bacon bits! Seems like a winner.

WINNER: Falkner
LOSER: Burrell
LOSER per Burrell: Zakarian (he would've been runner-up to Falkner)

(Sidenote: Wasn't Burrell's nasty comments towards Falkner sort of out of character?)

So the irony of ironies. Burrell chooses the loser and ends up being one. Hmm, takes one to know one, I guess.

Secret Ingredient Challenge: Burrell v. Zakarian
Secret ingredients: Panko and Ponzu (courtesy, of course, of Kikkoman)

But wait, there's more! No savory dishes. Must create dessert from Panko and essentially diluted soy sauce. Yikes.

Zakarian makes a ponzu blackberry souffle with a panko dipping sauce
Burrell goes with a zucchini involtino with a ponzu ginger kumquat ice cream

NON-LOSER: Zakarian.

Irony of all ironies. Bye bye Burrell.

Next week it's the Final Four and we find ourselves looking at eliminating 2 chefs!??!

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  1. Just like last week, I'll say again...can the best chef win? Not the chef best at working with weird ingredients and ridiculous rules and games? Maybe next they'll have them jumping through flaming hoops to deliver food. Sorry to see Burrell go--Zakarian is a master but just seems like kind of a jerk as well (and a complicated history with his restaurants that might add a not-so-halo effect to the Iron Chef franchise.

    1 Reply
    1. re: berkleybabe

      No one cares about their business practices. Batali is exhibit one to that effect.

    2. thought Anne Burrell was unkind about Chef Faulkner - 'she's made 3 ice creams and a souffle wonder when she'll make some real food'.

      I'm rooting for Zakarian.

      10 Replies
      1. re: smartie

        She probably made that comment after she was eliminated already so she was probably pretty upset.

        I love Zakarian's arrogance, as well as watching his "flawless technique". Its actually pretty inspiring to watch, much as Hung from Top Chef was fun to watch in that regard.

        1. re: Xericx

          I'm a little tired about hearing about "technique". For crying out loud, does it TASTE GOOD? It just seems a bit precious to me.

          1. re: DGresh

            Well, seeing that we can't taste the food, I think watching good technique is better for television purposes.

            1. re: DGresh

              I suspect it ALL tastes good. They have to find SOME way to sort them out, and it can't solely be taste simply because these guys are most likely at the top of their games. And unless you have the identical ingredients side by side, its hard to figure out what tastes better I think. Is this souffle a better souffle than the sardines are better sardines?
              In any event, I love the odd ingredients, prevents the chefs from using tried and true recipes from their hip pockets. This is another way to sort them out.

              1. re: freia

                I agree with what you say, but the emphasis on "technique" gets to me; what does that mean, really? It was cooked well. It *can* mean other things, but in this case, he cooked the darn souffle well.

                1. re: DGresh

                  That's a good point, we do tend to bandy about that term without really knowing exactly what they mean. I guess I understand it to mean that in terms of how to prepare and serve a souffle, it was done well. I imagine with respect to, say, lobster, a well cracked claw and meat extraction in one piece shows good technique. Now, mangled claw meat might taste darn good and be cooked perfectly (I dunno, they're seabugs with an exoskeleton but I digress) but the technique of removing the meat may not have been done well. So I think that maybe they are looking for the results of good knife skills, proper step completion and so on? I don't know, just speculating...

                  1. re: DGresh

                    Good technique is just that which leads to delicious flavor, pleasing texture, attractive presentation, etc.

                    I think the issue is that the chef and judge knows what 'good technique' is in the context of the dish in question, but the viewer doesn't necessarily. And the editors don't think having someone explain that is worth the time it takes away from pithy remarks and cheftestants bitching about how hard the challenge is and reiterating that they REALLY don't want to go home today.

            2. re: smartie

              agree smartie, plus with her comments about Chef Faulkner, she rolled her eyes.
              to me Chef Burrell has been the underdog as I always relate her to the sous-chef sidelines of MB on Iron Chef.

              I'll be the first to say that I have watched all these cooking competitions and Chef Faulkner has not impressed me much. this time around, I'm thinking she's brilliant. so all this time, she's fooled me into thinking she really was just a pastry chef, like she said on TC Masters once, if only this challenge was to bake chocolate chips cookies. inferring that she did 'that' really well.

              for me, I'm betting on Chef Zakarian: a. he is so talented and has so much fineness and 2. I find him lovely to gaze at *+)

              1. re: smartie

                I'm glad she left. I love that she turned around and then made....ice cream. Even her comment about Zakarian's steak being underdone for her tastes--we all like steak done differently but as long as it's done well, in an acceptable manner, it shouldn't matter in the judging.

                1. re: smartie

                  I frankly thought the Burrell comments were within character. I find her remarkably unpleasant to watch and listen to. In this episode, she was so over the top snarky I think she's finally revealed her true colors.

                2. This week I fully expected alex guarnaschelli in the bottom two. I was shocked when she wasn't. Keep in mind that I am torn between wanting her and zakarian to win, so it wasn't wishful thinking. I really thought that hers was the worst (based on what the judges and anne burrell said). I was glad that she WASN'T in the bottom though. Watching the secret ingredient showdown was a nail-biter, because both of their desserts looked really good, and I didn't really want either to go home. I guess that's to be expected as the competition continues on and the field narrows. Overall I was sad to see Anne Burrell go, but I was glad it wasn't alex or geoffrey. I do want to see Chiarello go, because I just dislike him in general, and felt so since I first saw his show. The fact that his risotto wasn't cooked all the way, and that his lobster was prepared in such a pedestrian manner did not reflect very well on him, so i was surprised that he was in the top two. I felt really bad for alex, because she got the ONE item up there that needed significant time to cook, and she had to do it in the least amount of time. But she pulled it out even with her sausage that she felt had a ton of fat in it, and it STILL seemed dry to the judges. Ok this was thoroughly a stream of consciousness post with no discernible order, so I apologize.

                  ETA: I didn't think burrell's comments regarding faulkner were out of character, remember the commentary between burrell and guarnaschelli about the brown pasty stuff on faulkner's plate in the last secret ingredient show down? I think she is definitely looked down on for being a pastry chef and consistently using those techniques. 3 ice creams and a soufflé have been on her winning plates, so maybe it's deserved, but then again, isn't she just using all her skills? She just happens to have a whole other skill set that the other chefs don't have, and using that to her advantage is not only smart, but she'd be stupid to NOT do so.

                  43 Replies
                  1. re: kubasd23

                    speaking of Alex Guarn, has anyone seen the commercial where she and Bobby Flay are dousing a bundt cake with powdered sugar? I truly think Alex Guarn [sorry her name is too long for me to type that much] is beautiful

                    1. re: iL Divo

                      i'd say watching her walk away from behind is a bit less beautiful.

                      1. re: linguafood

                        Ouch!! haha She really is very pretty though, especially in that ad.

                        1. re: kubasd23

                          I still tend to change the channel, though, when she is a judge on Chopped. I find it quite hard to watch her on that show.

                          1. re: huiray

                            Gotta agree with you -- I can't stand her on chopped, and that has colored my feelings towards her in this competition.

                          2. re: kubasd23

                            yea, to me, her face is lovely and I have no problem saying when I think a woman is beautiful, to me, Alex is beautiful

                            1. re: iL Divo

                              Dunno about beautiful, but Alex G is certainly more pleasant on the senses than Anne Burrell.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                My one-eyed cat is more pleasant on the senses than Anne Burrell. In the words of the late Ron Luciano, "a voice perfect for mime and a face made for radio."

                                1. re: jmckee

                                  She doesn't need a beautiful face or a pleasant speaking voice. She's a chef.

                                  1. re: chicgail

                                    On TV, even as a chef, she certainly does.

                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      So Julia Child wouldn't make it with that criterion?

                                      1. re: pine time

                                        Most likely not. Americans only want to see pretty folks on TV.

                                        1. re: linguafood

                                          I'm not sure that's accurate. I think it's more like, the television execs, producers and their advertisers have a perception that Americans like to see pretty faces on TV whether or not it's true. So that's what they put on, thus leading the viewing public to a belief that they possibly didn't possess before seeing a person on TV.

                                          1. re: DiningDiva

                                            It's likely a chicken and egg thing.

                                          2. re: linguafood

                                            What about Paula Deen or Ina Garten? Americans only want to see either really thin women, like Giada or really large women but average sized women fall by the wayside. Anyway, it's a moot point about Anne Burrell because she has a show.

                                          3. re: pine time

                                            Julia was very telegenic, had a great sense of the "showmanship" involved in hosting a TV show.

                                            1. re: pine time

                                              I was about to post that response about Julia when I saw your post. I also think that there is a much stronger expectation that a woman on TV be attractive than a man on TV.

                                              1. re: chicgail

                                                I think the gap has narrowed a lot since the rise of the metrosexual.

                                                And regarding Julia Child - she did great things and yes, had a great tv show, but telegenic she was not. She always reminded me of Monty Python doing drag.

                                                1. re: Chatsworth

                                                  I thought JC *was* telegenic with a sense of fun and, yes, "showmanship" as jmckee posted. There was a swashbucking quality about her demos and devil-may-care attitude yet she could produce very good food while teaching you. That episode where she had a glass of wine for herself, one for the chicken, (another for herself) was hysterical. She was quite smashed at the end. In fact, she was not infrequently sllghtly merry at the end of various episodes. :-) Naturally, nowadays the TV networks would never allow that kind of footage to go out!

                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                    Yeah. Now it's all about drinking 'responsibly'. As if it were a secret that part of cooking with wine is... well, drinking some of it, too.

                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                      If FN cares about responsible drinking why are we still seeing Sandra Lee's cocktail time?

                                                      Anne Burrell often enjoys a bit of the wine that she is cooking with on her shows. Can't think of any other hosts who do.

                                                      Laura Calder (French Food at Home) often discusses wine and cooks with it, but usually saves the drinking for the end of the show with her guests and the meal.

                                                    2. re: huiray

                                                      I don't know--have you seen Sandra Lee and her cocktails?

                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                        No indeed I have not. Does she get drunk? Babbling at the end? (Not that she needs any help doing so without benefit of alcohol, so I am given to understand)

                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                          I haven't seen much but have seen clips of the cocktails. My friend said she way an episode where she kept messing up what she was calling things and wondering if that had to do w/ the cocktail. But she must have had a drink or two, at least, to create this:


                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                            Wow. Just WOW. Since all the glasses were on that hideous tree she must have been chugging straight from the bottle.

                                                            Maybe faux artistes like SL get a pass because they are so, so...incredibly eyebrow-raising.

                                                      2. re: huiray

                                                        Plus unlike Anne Burrell, not only did she know what a comb was she could obviously find hers.

                                                      3. re: Chatsworth

                                                        "Monty Python doing drag."
                                                        You mean like this? http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/seaso...

                                                        BTW if you can avoid studying the url of the link or avoid reading any of the surrounding blurb around the picture (heh) (yeah, right), take a guess as to who that fellow on the right is. :-)

                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                          I honestly wouldn't have recognized him!

                                                              1. re: hueyishere

                                                                Look at the legend/description of the photo. :-)

                                                                1. re: hueyishere

                                                                  you kidding? the name is in the URL, on the video.... everywhere.

                                          4. re: iL Divo

                                            I think this blog
                                            commenting (rather irreverently) on this episode, has a still of that Alex and Bobby commerical

                                            I love his idea for a new FN cooking show:
                                            " I think this dude should have a Food TV show TODAY. People talk about cooking through Julia Child or the Momofuku cook book, but come on... Do a show called On Food and Cooking and have Zakarian cook America through the kitchen Bible. Done, hands down, would be the show America needs TODAY."

                                            1. re: paulj

                                              Wow, I don't know if I'm just too old or what, but that blog was pretty much unreadable to me.

                                              1. re: sharonlouk

                                                I quickly grazed through it and agree with you sharon...........

                                                1. re: sharonlouk

                                                  Isn't it revolting? I have been trying to read his blogs but find them totally incomprehensible. He's trying so hard to be "gangsta" that nobody can figure out what he's saying.

                                                  I think Max Silvestri who writes the Top Chef recaps on Eater should take over. Now that is one funny guy!

                                                  1. re: chefhound

                                                    Completely agree. Eddie Huang tries so, so hard to be a badass rapper-gangsta wannabe. He's unreadable and his "reviews" of TNIC on Eater have been repulsive to me. Apparently that's the way he writes. Sad.

                                                    Some folks might remember that Xiao Ye debacle of his (http://www.observer.com/2010/culture/...) while he has been touted as he "Jay-Z of the NY restaurant scene" (http://newyork.metromix.com/restauran...) Pathetic.

                                                  2. re: sharonlouk

                                                    I feel the same way. Can't stand that recapper's style. I gave up on it and just come here and foodnetworkhumor.com for the recap.

                                                    1. re: sharonlouk

                                                      I couldn't get past the first couple of paragraphs. It sounds like someone trying to be too creative and funny.

                                                    2. re: paulj

                                                      paulj, looking and reading that was interesting.
                                                      I never view that commercial thinking it's the tvfood networks' ploy of trying to promote Alex to be the winning contestant. guess we all see things differently..........

                                                    3. re: iL Divo

                                                      Ironic. Did you mention it because Chef Zakarian almost got eliminated because of powdered sugar?

                                                  3. My preference would be to see the two guys go home next week with the final cook off in Kitchen Stadium between Alex & Elizabeth with Falkner winning. Now whether that will happen, of course, is anyones' best guess.

                                                    Pastry chefs generally do better cooking savory, than chefs do in pastry. Tonight's challenge was interesting to watch. I think it played out about right, tho' I think it could have been interchangeable whether is was Geoffery or Michael in the bottom 2 along with Anne. Not necessarily sorry to see her go. She's fun to watch, but I think the remaining 4 chefs probably have a more refined skill set.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: DiningDiva

                                                      ''I think the remaining 4 chefs probably have a more refined skill set''
                                                      I completely agree Dining

                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                        WIth you on that ... she is so immensely irritating and unpleasant. No idea what her food is really like but these food network chefs all see pedestrian compared to Faulkner for example.

                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                              I would like to see a final between Falkner and Zakarian. Second choice would be Falkner and Chiarello.

                                                              And huiray, so glad to see we agree on Burrell. I think she's a blowhard phony.

                                                        1. I thought Judy Joo was finally going to leap over the judges table and capture Elizabeth Faulkner in a torrid lover's embrace.

                                                          You know it's gonna happen eventually.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: C. Hamster

                                                            Already did. Editing floor. It'll be re-run on Iron Chef Bloopers.

                                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                                              you mean there's an iron chef bloopers? yippppphhhhheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
                                                              where and when :)

                                                          2. I was pretty disappointed in the final two this week, as it pitted the two that i thought would make the best iron chefs against each other. oh well. someone had to go i guess. as long as guarnaschelli doesnt win the whole thing...

                                                            1. I know there are a lot of elves involved here, especially around Christmas, but I think this is getting a bit ridiculous: Alex gets 20 min. to play with that leg of lamb. Ok. But there she is perhaps losing a couple of min. to get on that meat grinder, she is making that meatball/sausage thingie and then oh wonder, there is her whole dish fully prepared - plated with all sorts of stuff on it, which does take some time to prepare. Unless that meatball was pretty raw/ inedible, which it seemed not to be, she must have produced that dish in those 20 minutes through sheer magic.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: RUK

                                                                i find it amazing that they only have one mixer in the kitchen....

                                                                1. re: samtron608

                                                                  Me too. Within reason there should be one of each tool for each chef. Doesn't seem fair for someone to have to wait.

                                                              2. The chef who loses in the auction -- i.e., none of the bids wins an ingredient -- is stuck with the fifth and last ingredient and by default is given 5 less minutes to cook than the otherwise lowest winning bid time.
                                                                I think the judging is seriously flawed. Alex had her chance at bidding on the other ingredients. When she failed to do so, she's stuck the mystery ingredient - leg of lamb. Instead of criticizing her for not actually cooking the whole leg of lamb, they gave her kudos for taking "risk" to cook leg of lamb in 20 minutes. She didn't take any risk! She got the leg of lamb by default. Then she cooked some ground lamb patties - which apparently were too dry and made a sauce that wasn't very good. She should've been in the bottom, instead, they kept showing her prominent bottom. How did that women get on TV in the first place? She's neither interesting nor attractive. As for talent, there are way more talented chefs out there than her. I guess intensely introverted individuals make up a large segment of Food TV's watchers?

                                                                11 Replies
                                                                1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                  She didn't take any risk! She got the leg of lamb by default.

                                                                  In some ways she took the risk of not winning the lowest bids on the other four ingredients, knowing that the fifth ingredient would come with severe disadvantages.

                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                    To me she looked incapable to make a quick decision during the bidding, that's why she was stuck with the fifth ingredient.

                                                                  2. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                    One could make the case that Alex Guarnaschelli took a huge risk by not bidding, taking what was under the last dome cover while knowing that she would have 5 minutes less than anyone else.

                                                                    Since Next Iron Chef is not really about whether any of us think Alex Guarnaschelli or any of the other chefs are attractive, maybe we should stick to discussions about the food.

                                                                    At this point, everyone still standing is an extraordinarily talented chef. It's kind of painful to watch them eliminate anyone now. Samuelson was a loss. So was Burrell (who I thought was going to take it all). I don't always agree with the judging and don't care for any of the judges except Michael Symon, but then many of the judges on ICA are far worse.

                                                                    1. re: chicgail

                                                                      You can argue what you want but it doesn't seem like it was calculated when Alex got the leg of lamb and 20 minutes to cook it. While she only has 20 minutes to cook it, she had plenty of time to think about what she's going to do. They should've started all at the same time.

                                                                      1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                        "Instead of criticizing her for not actually cooking the whole leg of lamb, they gave her kudos for taking "risk" to cook leg of lamb in 20 minutes. She didn't take any risk!"

                                                                        The risk she took was in rushing to make a cooked sausage rather than making a carpaccio or tartare that would have made sense given the time constraints.

                                                                        How in the world do you propose one cooks a whole leg of lamb in 20 minutes?

                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                          The risk she took was in rushing to make a cooked sausage rather than making a carpaccio or tartare that would have made sense given the time constraints.

                                                                          How in the world do you propose one cooks a whole leg of lamb in 20 minutes?
                                                                          I wouldn't have taken the mystery ingredient with 20 minutes. Knowing the rules of the game, I would've made sure to take another ingredient. Clearly the auction was set up to punish whoever is too stupid to get stuck with the mystery ingredient. And then they let her off the hook. If this was Top Chef, they would've spanked her a$$ for using a minuscule portion of the protein. In fact, she also wasted a lot of pork in the first challenge, IIRC. I'm not a contestant and I don't know how I would possibly cook an entire leg of lamb in 20 minutes.

                                                                          1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                            Someone had to take the last ingredient. Should that have been instant loss for the round?

                                                                            Frankly, as I was watching the bidding, I was thinking that EF and AG bid down the time for the tuna jerky too far. Given a choice between 25 minutes with an ingredient that I KNOW is tough to use and 20 minutes with a mystery ingredient, I'd take the mystery ingredient happily. Of course faulkner won this challenge with that ingredient and time constraint, but I'm pretty sure that had something to do with the judges giving her credit for using a difficult ingredient and time constraint***

                                                                            "I'm not a contestant and I don't know how I would possibly cook an entire leg of lamb in 20 minutes."
                                                                            It was sort of a rhetorical question. I'm going to go out on a limb and say there is no way to appealingly cook a whole leg of lamb in 20 minutes. She had no real choice but to break it down.

                                                                            *** There is actually one way of looking at things in which I tend to agree with you. Since the contestants strategically bid for their ingredients and cooking times, it begs the question of whether the contestants should have gotten credit for using a difficult ingredient or timeframe in the first place. Zakarian got 30 minutes with waygu beef because he played the game better. Perhaps the ONLY criteria for judging should have been the food on the plate. But then they went on about 'risk' and all of a sudden cooking risotto in a timeframe where you can't reliably get it right became a positive in the judges' minds instead of a self-imposed problem. I don't know - I liked the concept of bidding for ingredients with time as currency, but I would have liked it a lot more if 'risk' wasn't a major judging criteria because that defeats the purpose of a fairly interesting strategic conceit.

                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                              I agree--having more time played against them and it was supposed to be an advantage. The risk was in the bidding; strategic bidding shouldn't count against you. Alex Guarnaschelli made ground lamb which was the only thing she could do. How creative was that? And, Chiarello with the risotto (that looked more like rice pilaf) ddn't take a risk with the lobster which was his ingredient. His challenges have been takes on things he does all the time--ravioli, risotto, pasta, not on using the secret ingredients.

                                                                        2. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                          "neither interesting nor attractive"...attractive??? Seriously? I can list pretty much ALL of the FN male chef lineup that isn't "attractive" and they still have contracts...Wow...

                                                                          1. re: freia

                                                                            Seriously. I can't stand butt ugly uninteresting people on TV. What the heck is the point to tune in to a show that's hosted by someone who is heinous and boring? I know there are lots of ugly guys on FN -- feel free to rip them. Alterantively, express your love for fat chefs if you wish.

                                                                        3. I found myself getting tired of Anne Burrell's sour facial expressions during this episode. She certainly wasn't behaving like an iron Chef. Plus all the snarky comments - you could pretty much see her ax-ing coming by the way the elves edited her.

                                                                          As for Elizabeth Falkner - many people are apparently unaware that she not only has her bakery, Citizen Cake, but also her bar/restaurant Orson, so she has some serious savory chops (pardon the expression). Her bio on the FN website covers all this and more. Her credentials are quite good.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: cmvan

                                                                            Thank you! I could not stand to watch her twitch, and her sour face and body language during the judging. She was getting visibly angry when it was obvious she was going to be one of the last ones left in the judging room.
                                                                            She looked left, she looked right, she looked up and down, she twitched and scowled and made faces during the entire judging process. She looked like she either was dying to get out of there or she had to pee.

                                                                            Yay for Elizabeth Faulkner! I love her. I've always enjoyed her appearances on various shows and her stint on Top Chef Masters. I hate when people say she just a pastry chef. She a chef. Period. Sweet and savory. Well rounded, much more so than the savory-only chefs. And doesn't she seem like the coolest person? I'd love to hang out with her.

                                                                            Now that we're down to the final few, my vote is for Faulkner or Zakarian.

                                                                          2. anybody else irritated by the English male judge (don't know who he is and I'm English). He rarely has zero criticisms for any of the contestants. Michael Simon is a sweetie. The female is annoyingly cloying and I am not liking her much either.

                                                                            15 Replies
                                                                            1. re: smartie

                                                                              Yes, I thought his criticism of the powdered sugar of the souffle was absurd. Let's lose this guy next time.

                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                Yes!! It's a personal preference and a pretty lame reason to criticize the dish. Let's get Jay Raynor!

                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                  I really think a judge should understand the difference between his or her opinion and objective facts and weight them appropriately when making decisions. Obviously food is not totally objective but his nit-pick about the dusting is clearly a personal opinion and a rather ridiculous one at that.

                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                    I do the cooking at my house, but my wife's response was identical to mine. Since when is powdered sugar on a dessert tied to a particular period in time? It's kind of a standard practice, particularly to add a little visual definition to a textured dish.

                                                                                    1. re: jmckee

                                                                                      Yeah, it's only tied to a particular period of time if you yell "BAM!!!" when you do it.:-)

                                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                                      the dos hermanos food blog that Majumdar writes (presumably con su hermano) is fairly entertaining and informative ; no surprise that it's popular in the U.K.

                                                                                    2. re: smartie

                                                                                      both of the imported judges have more interesting comments than most of the critics on Iron Chef Amerika, and are possibly less biased than U.S.-based critics might be. there is always a significant element of luck, sampling error, and subjective misjudgments involved in judging these competitions and to make things murkier, the tastings are never blind. the winner of this kind of competition won't necessarily be the best or most creative and stimulating chef, but will be one of the cleverest and adaptable competitors.

                                                                                      1. re: moto

                                                                                        the winner of this kind of competition won't necessarily be the best or most creative and stimulating chef, but will be one of the cleverest and adaptable competitors.
                                                                                        and let's hope it's also one who's actually enjoyable to watch. of the remaining competitors, my choices in that arena are Geoffrey Zakarian and Elizabeth Falkner. (i've always had a soft spot for Chiarello but he gets too cranky and sour-pussed sometimes...and Alex Guarnaschelli annoys the crap out of me).

                                                                                      2. re: smartie

                                                                                        watched Michael S on part of the show featuring Alton's fruit cake on Iron Chef the other night.
                                                                                        funny how he said, coyingly sweet, and all the while I've thought it was cloyingly. I paused and went back and paused and went back to make sure I got what he said. maybe both words are correct?

                                                                                        1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                          I think "cloying" means an excess of something, not necessarily sweetness. But it is true that it is often referred to overwhelming sweetness....

                                                                                          1. re: freia

                                                                                            it's usually employed to describe an excess of sweetness or richness...but i think iL Divo was questioning his *pronunciation* of the word, saying that he dropped the l.

                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                              LOLOLOL I need my old lady glasses to read! You are indeed correct, GHG! (blush)

                                                                                        2. re: smartie

                                                                                          I agree with you; I can't stand him. It seems to me that when his and Symon's judgments clash, Symon tends to prevail.

                                                                                        3. Interview with Alton on this show, and his own plans.

                                                                                          About possible rigging of the judging:
                                                                                          " If I smell anything that seems like producers are producing the results… I want whoever wins, to have won fair and square, above all."

                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                                                            wow, thanks for linking that article. Alton's stock just rose in my books (it was pretty high to start with, though)

                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                              gotta wonder how his FN bosses feel about that interview. his comments about their programming & about obtaining old footage for his project weren't exactly complimentary...and he pretty much said straight out that they don't offer any food shows that are worth watching anymore.

                                                                                              methinks you took a nice bite out of the hand that feeds you, Alton.

                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                I doubt if FN executives are that thin skinned. They must be just as aware of the tension between the market demands for 'reality' and desire of some people (both viewers and producers) for quality instructional TV.

                                                                                                Alton is not simply a FN employee. Good Eats has been produced by his own production company. And he has admitted that GE was actually a money looser, with speaking fees and book sales filling the gap. I'm sure the details of who owns what rights, and who employs who are much more complicated than most of us imagine.

                                                                                                Alton may not be happy with the state of cooking TV now, but by all accounts he wasn't that happy with it 13 years ago. He was a TV guy who got into cooking because he though he could make better programs.

                                                                                              2. re: paulj

                                                                                                Great link! Alton speaks the truth. Too few people like that anymore.

                                                                                              3. I never much liked Elizabeth Faulkner, but this challenge really made me respect her. If winning the challenge with tuna jerky souffle with tuna jerky dashi cream sauce isn't Iron Chef material, I don't know what is. I thought Anne Burrel's 'three ice creams and a souffle when is she making real food' comment was hilarious. Totally snarky, but face it, that's how savory cooks really feel about pastry.

                                                                                                1. Boy, Chef Burrell, bitter much? If looks could kill, those judges would be dead. But, I really don't think that Chef Burrell put Zacharian on the bottom because she wanted him gone. His dish seemed the least risky to me too. I thought Chiarello was going to win as his dish really reached and he did a whole lot.