Recap: Next Iron Chef 4, EP 5

NIC4Banner Recap: Next Iron Chef 4, EP 4

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.

We are already at the halfway point.  Can you believe it?  The previews this week have eluded to a “shocking elimination.”  Most people have felt that Anne Burrell was the odds on favorite to win this contest but so far she has not dominated by any means.  So I guess if she went home this week that might be a little bit shocking.  To me for it to be “shocking” it would have to be something more along the lines of a disqualification or someone dropping out.

The Sudden Death challenge last week between Beau and Geoffrey was the best moment of the season so far.  Those were two incredible dishes they produced.  Beau didn’t lose because his dish was worse; he lost because it was slightly less awesome.

Battle: Storytelling

Next Iron Chef Alex GuarnaschelliChairman’s challenge:   “New York on a Plate” (Secret Ingredient: ) The six remaining hopefuls arrive at Grand Central Terminal, where they are tasked with creating culinary stories based on iconic New York City sites. Each chef was assigned a different part of New York City to use as inspiration for their dish.

Storytelling?  What the heck is that all about?  This sounded stupid.  Boy was I wrong.  The best episode by far.

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

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

  • Chairman’s challenge: Central Park – Grilled Cornish Game Hens and Chicken Fried Chicken Livers.  The judges liked her wit.  Her story was good but her food was a home run.  Top 2 finish.

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

  • Chairman’s challenge:  Statue of Liberty – Rabbit in the Pork Style with Roasted Cherries.  Few complaints.  A good showing again.  Top 2 finish.

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

  • Chairman’s challenge:  Brooklyn Bridge – Pork Schnitzel with Fennel & Apple and a Rhubarb & Raspberry Mustard.  The judges loved her food and the idea of her story, they thought here delivery was a little dull.  Bottom 2 finish.
  • Sudden Death challenge:  Bagel with the Works – Toasted Bagel and Cream Cheese Ice Cream.  Brilliant dish.  Just brilliant, but was it enough?

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

  • Chairman’s challenge:  Empire State Building – Farm Staples – Pork Chops with Pan Roasted Potatoes and Brussels Sprout Leaves and Roasted Nuts in a Bag.  The old food in the water trick.  Nice recovery from the spill.  The aroma-therapy element was a nice touch but Judy didn’t like.  Simon said it was his least favorite dish from Alex.  The story was good but the food was meh.  Middle of the pack.

Chuck Hughes – Eliminated in week 3.

Robert Irvine – Eliminated in week 2.

Beau MacMillan – Eliminated in week 4.

Spike Mendelsohn – Eliminated in week 1.

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

  • Chairman’s challenge:  Broadway – Hot Smoked Salmon and Crunchy Steak Salad.  Marcus really captured the essence of his theme and what New York City represents to the world (or at least what it used to represent).  Some judges loved it, some not so much.  The story didn’t go over well.  Bottom 2 finish.
  • Sudden Death challenge:  Lox, Bagel and Cream (Gazpacho).   Another brilliant dish.  Great execution.  Samuelsson’s best dish so far.  Another phenomenal offering.

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

  • Chairman’s challenge: Time Square – Midnight New Years Eve Celebration – Black & White Eggs, Smoked Fish & Caviar Scrambled Eggs, Salmon Tartar & Moroccan Blinis and Super Fruit Soup.  Insisted on doing multiple courses yet again.  Judy said GZ should be spanked.  Middle of the pack.

Leading the pack: Anne Burrell, Alex Guarnaschelli

Dark horse: Elizabeth Falkner, Michael Chiarello

Tonight’s winners:

1st challenge – Top 2: Anne Burrell, Michael Chiarello #1: Anne Burrell
Sudden Death challenge – Marcus Samuelsson vs. Elizabeth Falkner.

Quote of the night – “I can’t think of anywhere else in the universe I more don’t want to be in right now.”  Alex Guarnaschelli

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 . . .

[ad] Empty ad slot (#1)!

Marcus Samuelsson

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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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