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The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs (Episode 7: "Hamptons Beach Cookout") [Spoilers]

This episode we find our final four Chefs (Zakarian, Falkner, Chiarello, and Guarnaschelli) in the Hamptons in Long Island, NY.

The Challenge? 2 hours to cook a 3 course tasting seafood menu for 20 people (plus the 3 judges).

The theme? Passion.

The budget? $300. This is the Hamptons, remember, where Guarnaschelli tells us that a carton of eggs is $7!

And it's a double elimination challenge.

As the winner of last week's challenge, Falkner gets a 15 minute head start for her shopping spree.

Zakarian's Hello Kitty band-aids make another cameo appearance (several in fact). Love it. It's for good luck he tweets.

Everyone seems annoyed by Chiarello's "story telling". Shut the f*ck up seems to be the general consensus.

Onto the judging.

Guarnaschelli's clam chowder was found to be salty by one judge and not very original, and her lobster Hollandaise was "too rich".

Falkner's clam chowder was greeted with bowl licking and cries of "spectacular" but her scallops was too "one note" for some.

Zakarian's black fish minute steak dish was a winner -- "sensational' says one judge -- but the scallop sausage dish was not the prettiest food of the competition bemoans one judge.

Chiarello's clever use of basil was a hit and his "punny" story telling about his fluke dish got some polite laughter but the scallop was "slightly ... just a hair" overcooked. He begs to differ.

WINNER: Zakarian (1 of 2 finalists)
LOSER: Guarnaschelli

Secret Ingredient showdown: Chiarello versus Falkner (winner is the 2nd finalist)

Secret Ingredient? Town House Crackers and Entwine Wine.

3 bites.
30 minutes.
Crackers must be an ingredient and a serving vessel for each bite. Yikes.

WINNER: Falkner
LOSER: Chiarello

So it's Zakarian versus Falkner for, literally, the Next Iron Chef in next week's season finale.

Kitchen Stadium here we come.

By the way, hate that "NextIronChef" hash-tag that looms on the screen constantly.

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  1. BOO HOO! I really wanted Alex to win.

    25 Replies
    1. re: C. Hamster

      me too I love her.
      not sure how I think about MC. am I sad he's gone? not really.....his attitude
      and/or demeanor seems to have grown to the massive size of my hair.
      I want Chef Zakarian to take it.

      1. re: iL Divo

        I think MC didn't seem to be able to SEE when he makes a mistake... a big downfall.

        "I didn't overcook the scallop"!
        "My plating is brilliant!"

        Any of us is bound to fail if we can't see our own cooking with a critical eye and comments from peers who give us good feedback.

        And, he is kind of puffed up and boring.

        1. re: gingershelley

          "And, he is kind of puffed up and boring."
          gingershelly, that is something I never saw on his tv shows I've watched with anticipation.
          but watching him on ICA as well as Master Chef I can almost envision him pounding his own chest with Tarzan-esque vigor.

        1. re: hueyishere

          Can you say - AG -'I AM STRESSED!". I was pretty sure early on this was going to kick her butt on this show, and it did;

          Her indicating her stress in the 'get out of my way' while cooking on the lawn was a dead giveaway. Chef's in their kitchen's don't say that - they say 'Behind, behind, coming through, hot pan," etc.
          She couldn't handle it, even if her tomato jam had not been overpowering and too sweet.

          I like her as a judge on Chopped, I can handle most of her own show, and she does have a great background, but especially today's episode made me think. She is a kitchen yeller to her staff in the resto's she works in. If you get toward dinner service and something didn't turn out and has to be remade - is that the kind of (*&*)*^% you would say to your staff? Yikes..
          Alex, I guess the truth won out for you.

        2. re: C. Hamster

          Me Three!!! I was between Zakarian and Guarnaschelli.... so at least Zakarian won this challenge and has a shot to win it. I was very happy that Chiarello got kicked off though, I can't stand his pretentiousness. I always remember the episode of Easy Entertaining where he pretended he couldn't remember how to say something in English. All I could think was "Of course you know what it is, you were born here!!!!"

          Oh, and am I the only one who hates the past two Secret Ingredient Showdowns being products instead of ingredients? I mean, c'mon Keebler crackers?

          1. re: kubasd23

            I agree. The brand-name product placement is too much for me. The Kikkoman Ponzu challenge was slightly more bearable, but grocery store crackers and wine?!?! I was embarrassed for the participants.

            I still think Faulkner would make a good iron chef, and Zakarian shold have his own FoodNetwork show.

            1. re: jerryc123

              yeah the Kikkoman was more tolerable for me as well, because it was, in essence, just panko and ponzu. They were real ingredients, not a gimmick.

              1. re: jerryc123

                Falkner would make an interesting IC, yes.

                The store crackers and (what wine was that) wine cook-off was skating close to being ridiculous.

                1. re: huiray

                  The wine was FN's own brand. Of course. On ICA last week they revealed it is a partnership with them and Wente, not exactly known for high-end stuff.

                  1. re: acgold7

                    Didn't Alton make some comment about the wine being a quality ingredient?

                    1. re: coney with everything

                      he said something ridiculous to the effect that the chefs had turned out wonderful creations using the "highest-caliber" product.

                      perhaps the wine isn't awful, but the commercial for it sure was.

                      1. re: coney with everything

                        What did you expect Alton to say?

                        "Yeah, Entwine makes 2 Buck Chuck taste like a First Growth Ch√Ęteau Lafite Rothschild?"

                        1. re: coney with everything

                          Yes, that was laughable. The stuff cannot be anything but plonk, given its pedigree.

                    2. re: jerryc123

                      <I still think Faulkner would make a good iron chef, and Zakarian shold have his own FoodNetwork show.>

                      thats funny, because i think the opposite would be better! Zakarian's style (very technique and perfection driven) would be better suited to kitchen stadium and Faulkner's style (more energy and creativity) would be better for a show's host. especially with the spin she brings as a pastry chef.

                      That being said, i definitely dont understand all the love for Guarnaschelli. I have thought she was one of the weaker contestants the whole time.

                      1. re: mattstolz

                        Sounds like Guarnaschelli has people's opinions divided. I really like her authenticity and her food looks better than I think it will ('course I've never tasted it ...)

                    3. re: kubasd23

                      I had the same thought. Town House crackers. Really? The product placement here was so absurd as to have been embarrassing. I mean why not Velveeta. And what was that wine? Same parent company? I doubt if it was fine wine. I'm sure the chefs had their own comments about it that never made it to the final cut.

                      1. re: kubasd23

                        I find it hard to believe that turn out tasty dishes with some of the food they cook with.

                        1. re: hueyishere

                          I think the expression "in spite of" fits here much better than "because of."

                        2. re: kubasd23

                          And I wondered what Entwine wines were. Googling told me that Entwine is a partnership (cute: entwine, get it???) between Wente wines (great Cal history, not so great wines) and Food Network itself. So not just product placement, but flogging their own house brand. FN: cannot stoop low enough.

                          1. re: alfairfax

                            Did not know that. That is just dirty and pathetic.

                            1. re: alfairfax

                              I loved the comment Alton Brown made about how you shouldn't cook w/ wine you wouldn't drink and that they happily drink Entwine. Maybe it's telling that they've paired it with Townhouse crackers?

                          2. re: C. Hamster

                            So glad Guarnaschelli is gone. Gone, gone, gone.

                              1. re: huiray

                                If Alex had made it as an Iron Chef, I wouldn't be able to watch that show again. Something about her gets on my nerves - I think it's because she sounds like a douchebag as a judge on Chopped and during competition on this show.

                            1. I wanted Alex or Irvine.

                              Bleh at whatever happens at this point

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Jjjr

                                I, for one, am glad that Irvine got the boot long ago.

                                I don't need to see flabby, post-steroid, biceps every other week on ICA.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  He gets things done What do you want to watch Zakarian take his glasses off and put them on again over and over for an hour?

                                  I think he would have been great for Iron Chef because he puts the pressure on and it would have added some excitment to the show.

                                  1. re: Jjjr

                                    He gets things done What do you want to watch Zakarian take his glasses off and put them on again over and over for an hour?
                                    _______________________

                                    Better that than watching Irvine prance around in a shirt about 1 size too small.

                              2. I hope GZ wins it, for one I love the Hello Kitty bandaids! I think overall he is more rounded and experienced and would IMO do better in ICA against other chefs and against other Iron Chefs.

                                1. The original comment has been removed
                                  1. I also think Zakarian is just the better chef, technically. He might not be as inventive, but to me, his food is flat out better. Plus I love his Hello Kitty bandaids :)

                                      1. re: kubasd23

                                        I just don't like his consistent disregard for the challenge. More than once, he's gone in with the attitude of "I don't care what the assignment is, I'll make what I want." If you don't want to play the game, don't go on the show.

                                        1. re: piccola

                                          That's part of what I really like about him. He sticks to making amazing food, and cooks food in line with his point of view.

                                          1. re: piccola

                                            The most successful Iron Chefs (and contestants - and contestants on Top Chef) bend the individual challenge to their own strengths. It's actually a really smart strategy.

                                            1. re: chicgail

                                              So it's fine for an IC to make 4 dishes instead of the required 5 dishes just because he didn't feel a fifth dish was warranted or he decided he always made 4 for himself so everyone else can simply love his just-four dishes or they can go jump in the lake? Or for an IC to use the "secret ingredient" as a garnish for his dishes here and there instead because he felt that the ingredient was best used as a garnish and he therefore bent the challenge to what he thought was the appropriate use of the ingredient? Etc etc.
                                              ;-)

                                              1. re: huiray

                                                I didn't say anything about 4 vs 5 dishes or using the secret ingredient as a garnish. You said that. I was talking about taking the wacko challenges of the competition and using them to best highlight your own strengths.

                                                1. re: chicgail

                                                  Yet what I mentioned is the sort of thing that Zakarian might do in the sense of "bending the challenge" towards what piccola postulated as his tendency to disregard the challenge, the attitude of "I don't care what the assignment is, I'll make what I want." :-)

                                                2. re: huiray

                                                  I think the chef's can do what they want (within reason... attempts to cheat obviously would be lame) and leave it up to the judges to decide whether or not the contestant is following the rules sufficiently.

                                          2. I agree. I think they're probably skewing it to have a female win...Cat Cora replacement. I would have MUCH prefered Alex G to Falkner. Of the two left, I like GZ much better.

                                          3. Sorry to see Chiarello going. I thought there was such a good case for dispensing with the cook-off round since, as AB put it, there were "only a few molecules" between Zakarian and Chiarello for the top spot. But then, they wouldn't have had the last chance for a female replacement for Cora to get in.