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Chopped All Stars 4/8/12 with spoilers

I thought Michael Symon was a shoe in for the first win from the get go and indeed he won Round 1. I enjoyed the show, it's clear the Iron Chefs do it better than restaurant chefs - I guess they are used to TV and the pressure and time constraints.

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  1. Garces sweats like he's in a sauna.

    Cora, on the other hand, looks like she bathed in antiperspirant before appearing on the show.

    In this episode, it was clear that salad beats soup.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      I don't why people (just certain ones?) focus on Garces sweating. Could it be that it shows up on his complexion?.

      I was just watching the end of the entree on a repeat. I could see sweat drops glistening on Symon's cheek. Forgione said 'I don't sweat this much in Kitchen Stadium'.

    2. Symon showed one or two levels of conception and/or execution beyond the other chefs -- his mind just seems quicker, and his technique is apparently more efficient as well. He also understood how the judges want the basket ingredients both transformed and readily apparent in the courses. Getting thirty minutes for those big octopi in the entree was an iron chef worthy hurdle.

      1 Reply
      1. re: moto

        When Symon first won the Iron Chef title, I wasn't too sure. (I was and am a Besh fan.) Now, having seen him cook and compete - I'm a convert. He does indeed have a mental grace and flexibility, as well as physical speed, that puts him above many.

      2. I was surprised that both Symon and Forgione tasted the coconut rum directly from the bottle and not one of the judges commented on it. How is that any different from tasting a sauce, etc. w/ a spoon and then putting that same spoon back into the pot? Ick.

        9 Replies
        1. re: HeyImBack

          Maybe the cleansing power of alcohol?

          Plus they both then cooked it. So it was safe if not demure.

          1. re: happybaker

            I've seen the Italian judge scold for this, on two previous episodes. Maybe he didn't mind this time, seeing that it was between friends.

            1. re: gonepoopin

              I cringed when I saw Forgione take a swig of rum and expected someone to comment on it. Who knows? Maybe they did and it was edited out.

              1. re: Njchicaa

                I think I've seen bottle swigs in other episodes with no comments from the judges. In a previous "all-stars" Claire Robinson was wearing a glove that sure looked like it was containing blood yet I don't recall any mention of her cutting herself. For Chopped, cutting oneself seems to be the graphically dramatic prize and thought it odd there was no mention.

          2. re: HeyImBack

            In the past Scott Conant has always scolded a contestant who drank from the bottle as being unprofessional and giving a bad image. When I saw Mark do it first I thought, ah ha... that's going to do him in but then Michael did the same.

            1. re: HeyImBack

              It shocked me, too. Judges would normally give a solid dressing down for the swig offense, and rightfully so. Couldn't believe it wasn't mentioned!

              1. re: KrumTx

                It may have been mentioned, but not included in the final cut. What's surprising is that they showed the swig without any commentary on it.

                1. re: chicgail

                  Inclusion of comments like that depends not only on the judges, and whether they notice, but whether the producer and editor thinks it worth while. By the dessert stage they are counting the minutes. Inclusion of extra footage at this stage means cutting something earlier.

                  How did the chefs use that drink in their desserts?

                  1. re: paulj

                    Symon made doughnuts and Forgione a soup. The crickets in my head are drowning out particulars, but I believe the rum was added to Symon's accompanying caramel and to Forgione's soup. How's that for a detailed answer? Sorry:)

            2. Have you ever seen "Cook Like an Iron Chef" on the Cooking Channel? Symon often comments that how he cooks caters specifically to how to please the judges.

              3 Replies
              1. re: ahack

                I liked that show. I wish there were new episodes.

                1. re: Shrinkrap

                  What do you think of Symon's other cooking show on CC?

                  1. re: paulj

                    Simon's Suppers? It's alright, but I liked CLAIC much more. ,

              2. Am I hallucinating? Didn't they say that Marc is the newest Iron Chef? Isn't Zakarian (sitting right there) the newest Iron Chef?

                3 Replies
                1. re: DGresh

                  I heard the same thing. Apparently this mini-series was "in the can" months ago.

                  1. re: DGresh

                    I thought that was the wierdest thing too.... I keep waiting to see Zakarian on an episode of IC, but all I see is (very old!) re-runs lately. Strange to see him judging Iron Chef's and seeming that there is no relationship between he and them.

                    Kind of lame of FN since they control both shows, not to clarify this somehow.

                    1. re: gingershelley

                      Couldn't the Forgione comments just mean he is the newest of that set of competitors?

                      Still, shows like this, and NICA, are often shot months before they show. FN gets enough ribbing for letting hints slip as to who wins the 'next' competitions (see NICA threads), that I'm surprised that they would choose to keep mum about Zakarian's win if this Chopped episode was shot last winter.