Recap: Next Iron Chef 4, EP 6

NIC4Banner Recap: Next Iron Chef 4, EP 5

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.

First some house cleaning.  For some time it has been rumored that this season of NIC was to fill a vacancy caused by the eminent departure of Cat Cora.  It makes since – ICA is filmed in New York City while Cat’s two restaurants are in Florida and California.  That plus her rapidly growing family have to be putting a strain on her time.  That was the conventional wisdom anyway.

Well it appears to be true as Cat is set to star in a new show on OWN, Oprah Winfrey’s struggling cable network.  Several sources including YumSugar and AOL are reporting that she will be teaming up with Queer Eye alum Carson Kressley for a show that will “be devoted to self-discovery, to connecting you to your best self and to the world.”  Good luck, Cat.

The Sudden Death challenge two weeks ago between Beau and Geoffrey was the best moment of the season thus far.  At least it was until last week’s showdown between Marcus Samuelsson and Elizabeth Falkner.  Both dishes were inspired.  Marcus didn’t lose because his dish was bad but because it wasn’t quite as glorious as Falkner’s.

Battle: Risk

Recap: Next Iron Chef 4 Geoffrey ZakarianChairman’s challenge:   “Food Auction” (Secret Ingredients: ) The five remaining chefs are brought to an auction house, where they must bid on ingredients. Then, each chef would place a bid on the least amount of time they think they can create a dish with each ingredient presented. The two least successful chefs were sent to the final Secret Ingredient Showdown of the season.

Sudden Death challenge: Pits the bottom two finishers each week in a “loser leave town” match. Secret ingredient: Panzu and Panko. . . as a dessert.

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

  • Chairman’s challenge: Canned Sardines – 50 minutes.  Fried Sardine Spines, Sardine Filets on Beet Chips and Anchovy Salad with Parmesan Bread Pudding.  Anne gets to be a fourth judge today by virtue of her win last week.  Her presentation was great – but judges were mixed on taste.
  • Sudden Death Zucchini Involtini with Ponzu Caramel, Ponzu-Kumquat Ice Cream with Panko Crust.

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

  • Chairman’s challenge: Lobster – 25 minutes.  Butter Poached Lobster with Lobster Risotto.  Judges were mixed on execution but agreed on flavor.  Another solid finish.

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

  • Chairman’s challenge:  Tuna Jerky – 25 minutes.  Tuna Jerky Souffle with Dashi Sauce.  It may have been her best performance of the contest.

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

  • Chairman’s challenge:  Leg of lamb – 20 minutes.  Lamb Sausage with Vegetable Puree.  Mixed reviews.

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 –Eliminated in week 5.

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

  • Chairman’s challenge:  Wagyu – 30 minutes.  Wagyu Steak Salad Nicoise Style.   A home run.
  • Sudden Death: Panzo-Blackberry Marmalade Souffle with Panko White Gazpacho dipping sauce.

Leading the pack: Elizabeth Falkner, Michael Chiarello

Dark horse: Alex Guarnaschelli

Tonight’s winners:

1st challenge – Falkner
Sudden Death challenge – Zakarian vs. Burrell.

Quote of the night – “Sign the painting Geoffrey.”  Michael Chiarello

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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Anne Burrell

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less
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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