Recap: Next Iron Chef 4, EP 4

NIC4Banner Recap: Next Iron Chef 4, EP 3

TV’s ultimate cooking competition may be Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef.  This cast is sick!  Easily the best line-up since NIC 1 which included John Besh, Aaron Sanchez, Chris Cosentino and eventual winner Michael Symon to name a few.

Battle: Improvisation

NIC Falkner 225x300 Recap: Next Iron Chef 4, EP 4Chairman’s challenge:   “Food is Funny” (Secret Ingredient: Various, Octopus to Marshmallows) The chefs are brought to a comedy club, where comedian Kevin Nealon tests their ability to improvise by selecting a disparate list of ingredients they’ll have to cook with, ranging from octopus to marshmallows.

The first time Food Network did a comedy challenge it was stupid.  Now this challenge is both stupid and tired.  It seems every contest on Food Network these days has a challenge involving a bunch of B list comedians; it always sucks.

I fear that this will be a throw away episode which stinks because this season has been so good.  On the bright side, no matter how asinine the Chairman’s Challenge may or may not be the Sudden Death is the reason to watch this show.

Sudden Death challenge: Pits the bottom two finishers each week in a “loser leave town” match. Secret ingredient: Coconut.

Anne Burrell – Secrets of a Restaurant Chef, Worst Cooks in America (Food Network)

  • Chairman’s challenge: Braised Octopus and Tortilla Kumquat Raviolo with Marshmallow Simple Syrup.  Simon called it a “smart dish.”  Symon said he respected it.  Judy was lukewarm on it.  Top 4.

Michael Chiarello – Bottega Restaurant (Napa Valley), Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello (Cooking Channel)

  • Chairman’s challenge:  Tortilla Squared with Paprika Octopus and Marshmallow Aoli and an Arugula Salad with Black Olive/Kumquat Dressing.  It went over quite well.  All three judges were pleased.  Top 4.

Elizabeth Falkner – Citizen Cake, Orson (San Francisco), Iron Chef America – challenger (Food Network)

  • Chairman’s challenge:  Red Wine Braised Octopus with Tortilla Romesco Sauce, Marshmallow Vinaigrette and Marshmallow Ash.  It was well received although Judy and Simon disagreed on her plating.  Top 4.

Alex Guarnaschelli – Butter, The Darby (New York), Alex’s Day Off, Chopped (Food Network)

  • Chairman’s challenge:  Octopus over Cabbage and Marshmallows with Candied Kumquats and Chilies.  The judges like it a lot.  Simon literally licked his plate.  Top 4.

Chuck Hughes – Eliminated in week 3.

Robert Irvine – Eliminated in week 2.

Beau MacMillan – Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain (Phoenix), Challenge, Iron Chef America – challenger (Food Network)

  • Chairman’s challenge:  Charred Baby Octopus with Tortilla and Blue Corn Tortilla Fritter with Kumquat Marshmallow Brulee.  The judges thought it was good in concept but not execution.  Bottom 3.
  • Sudden Death: Coconut Stew with Green Curry and Shellfish.

Spike Mendelsohn – Eliminated in week 1.

Marcus Samuelsson –Red Rooster Harlem (New York), 24 Hour Restaurant Battle, Chopped (Food Network)

  • Chairman’s challenge:  Kumquat Pickled Octopus with Toasted Tortilla Gazpacho and Yogurt Marshmallow Sauce.  The judges were underwhelmed.  Bottom 3.

Geoffrey Zakarian – The National, The Lambs Club (New York), 24 Hour Restaurant Battle, Chopped (Food Network)

  • Chairman’s challenge:  Blackened Tortilla and Octopus Polenta, Marshmallow Scrambled Egg and a Kumquat Frito.  It didn’t go over well.  Judges thought it his worst performance of the series.  Bottom 3.
  • Sudden Death: Coconut Halibut Crudo and Coconut Crusted Halibut.

Leading the pack: Elizabeth Falkner, Alex Guarnaschelli, Michael Chiarello

Dark horse: Anne Burrell

Tonight’s winners:

1st challenge – Top 4: Michael Chiarello, Elizabeth Falkner, Alex Guarnaschelli and Anne Burrell. #1: Michael Chiarello
Sudden Death challenge – Zakarian vs. MacMillan.

Quote of the night – “I put a Beau Mac element dish in your face.  Bada bing!”  Beau MacMillan

Have you missed an episode of NIC because you were tracking escaped convicts from the Phantom Zone?  No problem, you can get caught up HERE.  Be sure to check out my exclusive interviews with NIC contestant Alex Guarnaschelli (HERE) and NIC judge Michael Symon (HERE).  Also check out my interview with last year’s winner Marc Forgione (HERE).

The next Iron Chef will not be . . .

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Beau MacMillan

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Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards
2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up
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