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Losing interest in Iron Chef America

  • Bob W Jan 9, 2012 07:15 AM

Sorry chairman, but the revolving door is not doing it for me. I tried watching the first Zakarian show, and ended up shutting it off in the middle and deleting it.

Zakarian, Forgione, Garces are certainly talented chefs, but that's all they are to me. Watching a show with them as the Iron Chef to me is like watching two challengers. In the immortal words of Bill Parcells, they are simply JAGs. Just another guy.

Flay, Morimoto, and Batali have that something extra.

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  1. I am right there with you, Bob. In fact I lost interest a few seasons ago when the Batali and Morimoto episodes began to dwindle.

    1. You got 2 out of 3 in the latest episode
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/826082

      While Batali is gone, I don't detect a significant drop off in Morimoto and Flay appearances. In 2010, season #8 Morimoto peaked at 7 episodes, but that was above the 3-4 of previous and subsequent seasons. (Wiki has a nice set of tables of episodes)

      1. it has always been awful

        2 Replies
        1. re: BarackHObama

          So do you watch it faithfully even though you don't like it, or just like commenting about something that you never watch? :)

          1. re: paulj

            i've seen enough to know that it is obnoxious and fake.

        2. where did Batali and Cora go?

          4 Replies
          1. re: iL Divo

            Being an Iron Chef is not a full time job, so presumably both have continued to do what they did before - run one or more restaurants. Elsewhere Cora's family has been mentioned, as well a talk show appearance. Batali made the Spain road trip series, and has insulted some paying customers (Wall street bankers).

            1. re: paulj

              so are they both off the show then, for good or not....................sorry its' late here :(

              1. re: iL Divo

                Cat Cora has a new show coming out with Curtis Stone "Around the World in 80 Plates" on Bravo.
                http://eater.com/archives/2012/01/09/...

                1. re: Firegoat

                  maybe these Iron Chefs just get bored of the show and concept.
                  sheesh, I would, and would also want to end something I no longer have a passion for.
                  I'm waiting for MS to leave, although I hope he doesn't.

          2. w/o the bad voice dub of the original Japanese version it just sort of lost something at the start.

            13 Replies
            1. re: hill food

              It is even better with the Japanese soundtrack and bad English subtitles -- but, I agree, the bad voice dub was also entertaining . . .

              1. re: zin1953

                Cooking Channel, 11 pm, every night!

                One of my most memorable life's lessons comes from the original Iron Chef: On an episode in which the secret ingredient was the apparently disgusting natto, one of the judges, a good sport, said, "Well, some days you get homard lobsters, and some days you get natto."

                So true!

                1. re: Bob W

                  That's hilarious- and so true.

                  1. re: EWSflash

                    That's where I learned about nato. I think it was a tie breaker ingredient (30 minutes). But I must have missed the comment that implied the judge(s) did not like nato - though I'm sure some Japanese like it better than others. I think it is eaten more as a condiment with breakfast rice than as a fancy cooking ingredient.

                    Koniyaku was another such ingredient (both as tie and introduction).

                    I have enjoyed ICJ more as a window on Japanese food culture than as a cooking show.

                    1. re: paulj

                      I recall battle natto as being characterized by the judge's comments as "wow, this tastes good you can't even TASTE the natto"...lololol
                      Seemed that the mark of a great natto dish was to completely disguise its taste!

                      1. re: freia

                        natto is a like a fine soft ripened cheese.
                        the stinkier the better. :-)

                      2. re: paulj

                        i am a little late to this party, but i recommend this post. :-)

                2. re: hill food

                  Totally agree. I tried watching ICA a few times and it just never captured my interest like the original. The format works a lot better in Japan for some reason. Also, the host and comments by the various folks get on my nerves. I can take about the first 10-15 minutes and then I have to cut it. I hope no one tries to duplicate Dotchi Cooking - that would really suck over here...

                  1. re: bulavinaka

                    ICA is all about alton brown. i love alton brown from good eats but i do not care for his persona in ICA.

                    1. re: ritabwh

                      If you'd watch the show with mute on you'd barely know AB as there. He is the main voice, but the camera is rarely on him.

                      1. re: paulj

                        i dunno paul. i think he is a big presence at the judging table leaving the chairman mute at the head of the table.
                        anyway it is moot because i rarely watch ICA anymore. i just remember being annoyed at alton brown.

                        1. re: ritabwh

                          Alton isn't @ the judge's table . . . unless the Chairman isn't there.

                          Je suis confus . . .

                          1. re: zin1953

                            ah wells. my memory must fail me. i haven't watch ica in a very long time. :::bowing out:::

                3. and yet, people complain that FN has abandoned food for personalities. Seems that personality does matter! as long as it is the right kind. :)

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: paulj

                    Sad, but true!

                    ~TDQ

                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      too bad there are no personalities on food network
                      only media whores

                    2. re: paulj

                      First they make an Iron Chef America that is more based on personality than food, unlike the original Iron Chef. Then, they hold real contests that pick iron chefs who cook better than they project a personality. There's no hook, if you can't follow the food closely due to sketchy narration and then you have dull chefs.

                      What I watch is Next Iron Chef. Next Iron Chef is the new Iron Chef.

                    3. Just for the record, I do like Symon!

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Bob W

                        Agreed on Symon. And that personality DOES matter. But so does skill, and in my opinion Garces, Forgione, and Zakarian aren't in the same league as guys like Morimoto and Batali. And they would be absolutely crushed in a battle with the likes of Chen Kenichi. Good chefs, perhaps, but Iron Chefs they are not. The show has definitely jumped. (But I'll still watch it, every week, just to see how bad it gets :-))

                        1. re: davis_sq_pro

                          +1 for Chen shout-out!

                          1. re: Bob W

                            lol. My hubby loved Chen. I was more of a Hiroyuki Sakai gal ;)

                            1. re: livetocook

                              The Delacroix of French Cuisine!

                              1. re: Bob W

                                I don't watch TV anymore, but I do read about it :-)
                                When Symon was a challenger, I thought the wasn't a good chef at all. But later, watching a couple of his instructive TV shows, I learned to like him.

                        2. re: Bob W

                          I really disliked Symon at first, but he's won me over.

                        3. I've become a big fan of Chopped! 4 chefs competing, one eliminated after each round, an a bunch of weird ingredients. It's much more exciting and interesting to watch the successes and failures of more average chef faced with a challenge!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Aaaaargh

                            I'm not a huge fan of chopped (though I do watch it when I stumble across it), but I agree that it's fun to see "on the fly" creativity, as opposed to Iron Chef, where we all *know* that they are absolutely not making this stuff up on the fly.

                          2. The whole concept is limping badly. Just too many juried hour-long torments and whether the casting is stars or dogs does nothing to relieve the triteness and tedium. Tuned out a couple years back and don't miss 'em--at all.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Kagemusha

                              I think its limping badly. I liked the Japanese version most, where you picked an Iron Chef based on cooking style not on the personality. Iron Chef Japanese, Iron Chef French, Iron Chef Italian, you know, then you had battles based on best of food styles rather than choosing a personality per se.

                            2. a neighbor and I used to joke about the voiceovers in the original and the judges were usually movie stars "oh yes! it looks he is doing a most amazing thing with sauteed liver and rock candy" "oooh, very intriguing"

                              I sort of doubt that was the true dialogue but it was a lot more fun than the US version.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: hill food

                                "...and Iron Chef Japanese is PULLING OUT THE RICE COOKER! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT???? Will Iron Chef Japanese FINISH IN TIME????"
                                LOLOL I loved the lod show

                                1. re: hill food

                                  actually, the hokey voice over translations were pretty accurate.

                                  1. re: ritabwh

                                    . . . except for their inane pronunciations of French.

                                    1. re: zin1953

                                      no joke! it took me years to realize that the chairman was saying "allez cuisine". imind you, i speak japanese. i thought he was saying some weird japanese phrase that sounded like alle kizeene. :-)

                                2. I lost interest many years ago in the Iron Chef series, Japanese and American, once I saw how frantic the production of a meal was. The show makes cooking look like drudgery.

                                  1. The show needs more conflict. The best thing about the original Japanese show was Morimoto vs the Ota faction.

                                    What the show needs is a string of sneering French traditionalist challengers and an Iron Chef to face them while violating their sensibilities.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: FoodPopulist

                                      hahah. YES!! +1 for the Ota faction. It came off as some sort of Mafia group. Loved the vibe.

                                    2. I used to love Iron Chef, back in the late 90s early '00s I think it was, when it used to be an Asian show voiced over for us. Ever since they brought it over here it lost its magic for me.

                                      1. My main gripe is with the judges. They used to have a group of snarky people who know a lot about food. Now they have actresses and jocks. I miss Jeffrey Steingarten in particular, even though he always pisses me off.

                                        1. ICA is getting tired because almost every food show is now some sort of a competition and it's just been beaten to death. ICJ was really the first "competitive" cooking show where there was a winner/loser when someone was cooking a piece of food. It was somewhat tongue-in-cheek at the time but competitive cooking is now probably the biggest sub-genre of food programming.

                                          It's almost like Survivor and reality TV. It was the groundbreaker but now there's so much reality TV the original show itself is tired and worn out.

                                          1. I have lost interest when they have shows like last night when it was Battle Tortilla and Tequila. First you take Ecuadorian chef Garces and the Argentine lady and make them make Mexican food with a "mixologist". After about 5 minutes I could not watch any longer.

                                            8 Replies
                                            1. re: LikestoEatout

                                              Good to know I wasn't the only one!

                                              1. re: LikestoEatout

                                                Neither contestant is known for cooking food from their country of origin, though both have stayed within the broader Hispanic world.

                                                Given the challenger, Chef Alexandra Raij, what you have chosen (for IC and ingredient)? Maybe it is time to revive the 'what you choose as a secret ingredient' thread
                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/516147

                                                IC has done a mixologist pairing before - in 2007 with Batali and mangos, and same winning bar tender, Tony Abou-Ganim

                                                1. re: paulj

                                                  I'd love to see the show go back to the basics...can Iron Chef French cook a better french inspired meal than the challenger can in his/her culinary area? And the secret ingredient would be....giant water bugs
                                                  http://images.joelsartore.com/gallery...
                                                  LOLOLOL

                                                  1. re: freia

                                                    The American chefs are not tied as closely to a particular culinary area as those Japanese chefs in the 1990s. In this latest battle, Garces is described as 'Latin Fusion', and Raij as 'Contemporary Spanish'. (from the Wiki ICA episode guide). Batali was 'Italian', but no one batted an eye when he based his dishes on his latest trip to Spain.

                                                    Morimoto cracked the original Japanese mold, with a modern American-Japanese fusion. Compared to the American contestants he is thoroughly Japanese, but he was the main target of the Ohta faction (representing traditional Japanese cooking). But I think Japanese have different ideas about team spirit and competition, ones that don't fit was well with contemporary American chefs.

                                                    For some reason I'm reminded of MXC, the redubbed Japanese game show that Spike TV used to run - and its contrast with the individualism of American elimination shows.

                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                      OMG I LOVED that show...MXC was awesome! I miss the days of the Japanese Iron Chef...

                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                        What would be fun would be to have a specifically Italian-American Iron Chef defending the fusion of Old World and New World against a horde of authenticity snobs who whine about anything presenting itself as Italian-influenced that wouldn't be done back in Italy a hundred years ago.

                                                        1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                          and the secret ingredient? fresh New Jersey tomatoes?

                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                            I have a few ideas.

                                                            California Wine
                                                            French cheeses
                                                            Ham, including Smithfield ham, proscuitto di Parma, and serrano ham
                                                            Polenta

                                                2. Totally agree with you, the novelty seems to have worn off and all the bells and whistles just bother me now. I still learn something interesting now and then, but now it's very rare. My favorite part is when they introduce the challenger and getting to see their career and restaurant, because right now I'm still learning about all the famous/talented chefs out there.

                                                  1. Last night I watched the Flay/Valladolid vs Morimoto/Zimmern Battle Sea Whistle Salmon. Pretty good show. Morimoto is a funny guy. Nice looking fish!

                                                    1. I thought the show took itself too seriously and could not live up to the original Japanese one which at least had some charm, some humour. I could never sit through a whole hour of the American version and the Super Chef thing was excessive, over the top.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: Professional_Amateur

                                                        Well, to give the current chairman some credit, to me it looks like he's always on the verge of cracking up when he gives his opening spiel about the theme on which our chefs will offer their succulent variations. 8<D

                                                        1. re: Bob W

                                                          who also has a supporting role on the current incarnation of Hawaii 5-0 (yeah I know it's all just TV)

                                                      2. I didn't want to start a new thread on ICA for fear there was already one going and I'd get bashed for doing another. Yes I did a search and although my topic wasn't listed, once again fear prevails and caution takes over.

                                                        I have never been into ICA as much as others possibly are.
                                                        Watched the new one that I'd taped the other night just now. Was surprised at something but since I don't want to spoil for people that haven't viewed it yet, curious if anyone catches what I thought was an over-site.

                                                        16 Replies
                                                        1. re: iL Divo

                                                          I used to typically watch this on Saturday afternoon at 5, but they no longer do the replay at that time so I'm all off-kilter. Who was on the episode if I want to try and find it myself?

                                                          1. re: DGresh

                                                            it featured Bobby Flay and Angelo Sosa. AS was on at least one of the TVFN shows, maybe Top Chef or ??
                                                            there's just one thing that I noticed and wonder if what I saw was typical of the show or not. won't ruin it for you or others though.

                                                            1. re: iL Divo

                                                              I watched it last night, but not with much attention. That said, I didn't notice anything unusual. Come to think of it, I even missed the scoring.

                                                              But looking at
                                                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_...
                                                              I'm not surprised at the outcome.

                                                              1. re: iL Divo

                                                                You aren't going to get an meaningful replies by playing coy. What did you find odd?

                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                  Im not being coy paulj I didnt want to ruin it for anyone whod not seen it
                                                                  it was new
                                                                  he didnt make it to the judges table in the time alloted to get it there, the time clearly ran out and he wasnt penalized
                                                                  was shocked and thought by end of show theyd have taken points off

                                                                  1. re: iL Divo

                                                                    That is kind of shocking! Maybe it happens more often than you'd think and they usually edit it out and, as you say, it was an oversight that they didn't this time. Or, maybe they tried to edit it out and just couldn't make the storyline work if they did, so they left it in and hoped no one would notice?

                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                    1. re: iL Divo

                                                                      I took a look, and you're right, he didn't make it to the table. But his foot was on the stairs to the podium, and who knows, maybe that is the criterion. Certainly I've seen them in the process of putting it on the table (10 inches above) when time runs out, and that's been deemed ok. I guess I wouldn't call it a grievous miss.

                                                                      1. re: iL Divo

                                                                        Are you referring to the 20 minute 1st course? That's a gimmick that they've added in the last couple years. All it adds is some drama.

                                                                        Considering that they shoot multiple takes of things like the unveiling of the secret ingredient, I don't pay much attention to that run to the judge's table.

                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                          so you know >
                                                                          no coyness involved here
                                                                          just wanted to make that known

                                                                        2. re: iL Divo

                                                                          I looked at this again with OnDemand. Yes, BF was stepping onto the platform at the 0 mark. But how many plates was he carrying? 2 at most. Maybe an assistant was up there already?

                                                                          I suppose the producers could have made a big deal about it. What would that contribute to the overall flow and tenor the show? CH posters complain enough about 'all-competitions-all-the-time', and not enough focus on food and cooking.

                                                                          I'm writing this at around the 15 minute mark. The editing has one food-porn zoom after another.

                                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                                            they *ALWAYS* carry only one plate. I guess unless it's Sosa with his sword thing. But presenting them all in one thing like that is really unusual.

                                                                      2. re: iL Divo

                                                                        If you're referring to the chairman's inane acrobatic entrance where his shirt rolls up revealing his belly but is perfectly tucked in when he lands, yes, I've seen it.

                                                                    2. re: iL Divo

                                                                      I actually like new posts. Old ones can get so long it's cumbersome.

                                                                      For me the curve balls and general shift in the show although staying fresh leave me wanting for straight up cooking in a competition

                                                                      My viewing has declined. Watch it as a sedative :). White noise

                                                                      1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                        Our family gathering around the TV with chips and dip to watch the original IC is a fond memory for sure.
                                                                        I started watching ICA. Then I saw Flay jump up on his cutting board and that ended ever watching ICA again.
                                                                        When ever that little red haired weasel appears on my TV screen I press 'previous'.

                                                                        1. re: Puffin3

                                                                          And in Japanese! Ahhhhh, those were the days . . .

                                                                          It started declining when they dubbed it into English and, it's only gone down from there.

                                                                          Granted there are some days when it can (at least) still be interesting, but it's never been as good as the original.

                                                                      2. re: iL Divo

                                                                        I didn't notice anything odd; now I'm curious!

                                                                        I *hate* the use of a valuable, tasteless ingredient in food. Just the thought of where it ends up is offensive to me!

                                                                      3. I had no interest in that frantic show once I saw that it was insane. I'm surprised that no one got killed by someone running with knives.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                          that's right. it's all fun and games until some gets hurt. :-)

                                                                          1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                            WEll, thank heaven they weren't running with scissors! ;^)