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The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs (Episode 8: "Finale") [Spoilers]

Falkner versus Zakarian in Kitchen Stadium.

Secret Ingredient? Nope.

More like secret ingredients -- as in a bevy of traditional holiday favorites from standing rib roast, to squash, to cider vinegar to parsnips.

First surprise? Chairman says the chefs have to make one dish with fresh cranberries. Zakarian and Falkner have to choose one additional sous chef from the ranks of the eliminated. The chosen one? Alex Guarnaschelli, who gets to work 15 minutes for Zakarian to prep his cranberry dish, and then 15 minutes for Falkner for her sweet and tart dish.

Second surprise? Ice cream machine. Must make one dish with said machine.

Zakarian asking Falkner for ice cream advice? 8 minutes for the machine says Elizabeth.

Third surprise? Create a holiday treat to fill a martini glass.

Onto judging ...

In addition to our series long troika of judges, we have ICA Bobby Flay and Morimoto as additional peanut gallery voices.

Falkner is up first. Black garlic aioli is welcomed with mixed reviews. Beef Wellington is a hit all around. But salad with sorbet? Sure, why not. And to finish off is a candy cane chocolate cake with peppermint snow. Yowza.

Zakarian starts off with a cranberry strawberry risotto?!! It's a hit. But his beef dish was "chewy" says one judge.

Most judges feel that Zakarian had the best meal, but Falkner had the best dish (the salad sorbet).

WINNER: Zakarian.

No big surprise, or really no surprise at all, if you've been following the spoilers leaked across the 'Net.

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  1. how sad, niether one but was rooting for Falkner

    1. to me it was a surprise cos I didn't read the spoilers. Was glad for him, Faulkner has age on her side and has time to achieve more in her life.

      Kevin Brosch had a cameo role tonight I think he was on for all of 10 seconds.

      2 Replies
      1. re: smartie

        "Faulkner has age on her side and has time to achieve more in her life."

        Falkner is only about seven years younger than Zakarian. Is that a big advantage?

        1. re: taos

          wow didn't realize, thought she was at least 20 years younger than him.

      2. While I find him deserving of the win, I also find it terribly disappointing that Food Network chose to give it to a chef who already has a pre-existing relationship with them. With him on the Network, it's possible for him to make a back room dealing to ensure success. While I could be wrong, it just seems that it could have been easily done. I also didn't like how the version of Iron Chef seemed to compare itself a lot against Top Chef...the challenges were awfully familiar to me, and having Spike in a group considered super chefs seems like a joke to me.

        17 Replies
        1. re: attran99

          "While I find him deserving of the win, I also find it terribly disappointing that Food Network chose to give it to a chef who already has a pre-existing relationship with them. With him on the Network, it's possible for him to make a back room dealing to ensure success."

          My DH and I agree here. I believe his pre-existing deals had a lot to do with the whole competition. Personally, I think he would have won no matter what with the way this comp. worked. I have to admit, I was rooting for one of the women, but that aside, there were other really great chefs that deserved this one. I feel like we just watched a railroad match. I think Faulkner should have definitely gotten this one. She has so many new things to bring to the table.

          1. re: boyzoma

            Review the subtitle - 'super chefs' - in other words, nearly all the competitors were already familiar. Zakarian was not the only one known to both FN executives and audiences. Among the women, Faulkner was the least known.

            1. re: paulj

              Thank you for the reminder, but I am well aware of that. My point was Zakarian just has more inroads to the food network than the rest of them. Otherwise, they all have a connection. And you are correct about Faulkner.

              1. re: boyzoma

                If you're talking about FN connections then I think Alex Guarnaschelli has more inroads than Zakarian does.

                In addition to Chopped, she has had at least 2 other cooking shows on FN. Zakarian hasn't had any that I can recall.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Apologies. I didn't see it that way. But that was just my take. Guess it's just me and I just didn't care for him. But that is why it is a competition. If I had my way, it would have been Ann B. But that's just a personal choice.

                  1. re: boyzoma

                    If I had my way, it would have been Ann B. But that's just a personal choice.
                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
                    and she's another one with existing ties to/shows on FN...yet she didn't make it into the top 4.

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      All of them did with maybe the exception of Spike.

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        I'd put GZ in the bottom half in terms of FN presence, tying with Samuelson (both on Chopped, 24 hr RB).

                        Note that in the previous thread, there were strong opinions that FN executives were going ensure a female win. After all, think of who she was going to replace. Those voices were quite after TVGuide used the 'he' pronoun. And before that Anne was strong favorite.

                        Why can't people admit that Hello Kitty bandaids are an effective lucky charm?

                        1. re: paulj

                          If you take out all of the FN ties prior to the show and just went by how they did in the challenges and the food they cooked (based on the judges' comments) it's hard to make an argument against GZ as the winner. He's shown his skill throughout the competition and I think Michael Symon said it perfectly when he described GZ as a chef hitting his "prime". GZ has been in the game long enough to perfect his technique/style, and is still has the energy in the kitchen as a chef just out of culinary school. I thought GZ was just another "Executive Chef"/restaurateur that worked his way out of the day-to-day kitchen grind and just oversaw his empire creating menus, but he showed me he has the goods in the kitchen as much as anyone.

                          1. re: paulj

                            I was sure Falkner was a lock. Guess I was really wrong about that.

                            It had to be the band-aids.

                            1. re: acgold7

                              No no no, the fix was still on, you just read it wrong.

                              1. re: acgold7

                                It really looked as if faulkner didn't hit the kind of home runs she scored in other contests. There were more high points on zacharian's side.

                                I was wondering in advance if it would be fixed, but since Faulker seemed to choke and fall short of her past dishes, anyways, if there was a fix in for Zacharian, she made it easy for them.

                                1. re: acgold7

                                  I was pulling for Falkner. She hit every challenge with a great attitude and produced nice food and this style of cooking is not something she does every day. I give her great credits for doing as well as she did and being a pastry chef.

                                2. re: paulj

                                  I'm off to buy a box of Hello Kitty band aids. I'm sad that Falkner didn't win and hope to see more of her cooking. I don't think she has the personality to carry off her own show but she's an amazing chef, both savory and pastry. That beef wellington was impressive with her dough and how beautiful it looked. Her pastry skills really shined. I have to say, when they unveiled the ice cream makers, I thought, now the conspiracists will use THAT as a reason to prove they want her to win.

                                  1. re: paulj

                                    Why can't people admit that Hello Kitty bandaids are an effective lucky charm?
                                    ~~~~~~~
                                    ha! nice :)

                          2. re: paulj

                            I would respectfully disagree. Chef Faulkner was previously Cat Cora's sous chef during her beginning matches. Additionally, she's competed on Top Chef: Masters. Until recently, she was relatively successful in SF with two restaurants.

                            1. re: attran99

                              I know Faulkner competed against Cora once. She may also have been a sous, but that is a relatively anonymous role. Some standout, most do not. I was writing as a member of the FN audience. I do not follow Top Chef or SF restaurants.

                        1. I am pretty happy he won. think he'll make a pretty good IC.

                          the only issue i have with this whole season is calling it "Super Chefs"
                          And thats only because, any time you are picking a new Iron Chef, shouldnt being a super chef kinda be a pre-rec for consideration?