blue ginger

Next Iron Chef 3 Finale – Outcome

SPOILER ALERT: The following information is the outcome of Canora vs. Forgione for the title Next Iron Chef. If you want informaNIC Finaletion on the combatants click HERE. If you are only interested in the outcome read on.

The judges for Battle: Ultimate Thanksgiving Feast were Donatella Arpaia and Simon Majumdar plus Iron Chefs Michael Symon, Bobby Flay and Morimoto.

Congratulations to the Next Iron Chef. . .

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Marc Forgione

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Did you miss an episode of NIC because you were helping count write-in votes in Alaska?  No problem, you can get caught up HERE.  Be sure to check out my exclusive interviews with Celina Tio (HERE), Mary Dumont (HERE) and Maneet Chauhan (HERE).

Be sure to check out new Iron Chef Marc Forgione in his first title defense next Sunday night against Chef RJ Cooper.  If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out my recent interview with the newest Iron Chef, Marc Forgione HERE.

Photo courtesy of the Food Network.

Next Iron Chef 3 Finale

Well it is finally here.  The Next Iron Chef 3 finale is this week and when the dust settles a new Iron Chef will join the “veritable pantheon” of Kitchen Stadium.  The two chefs vying for this lofty title are Marco Canora and Marc Forgione.  Both are extremely talented chefs but only one can be the Next Iron Chef.

Marco CanoraMarco Canora (Hearth, Terroir, and Terroir TriBeca all in New York) – he first hit the New York scene back in 1996 as a line cook at renowned Gramercy Tavern where he flourished under the mentoring of Tom Colicchio.  Colicchio helped Chef Marco earn a stint working with famed Italian chef Fabio Picchiand at his famous Cibreo in Florence.  Canora has since made a name for himself by creating innovative and healthy Italian cuisine.  Canora’s first cookbook Salt to Taste: The Keys To Confident, Delicious Cooking (available at amazon) was nominated for a James Beard Award.

All through the contest Marco has put out consistently innovative food that was both creative and inspired – his cooking is truly Iron Chef caliber.  The negative’s on Canora’s NIC appearance have been his dishonorable tactics and constant whining.  However, television is a fickle bitch and it is likely that the producers could have used equally unflattering footage on all of the chefs.  I can honestly say that I would love to try his food and it is likely that he is a very likable person.  I have no doubt that he’d be a fun guy to grab a beer with.  After all it is unfair to judge the whole of a person’s character based solely on a few hours of footage that may have been selected specifically to make him look like a bad guy.

Marc ForgioneMarc Forgione (Marc Forgione in New York) – the son of the “godfather of American cuisine” Chef Larry Forgione.  The younger Forgione has long been known has Larry’s son but that ended eight weeks ago when NIC began airing.  Today if you Google “Chef Forgione” the first page of results yields only one article about Larry and the rest are about his talented son.

Marc’s forte is New American cuisine of which Gael Greene says, “Not a molecular burp anywhere.  Just real food most food-obsessed New Yorkers want to eat.”  High praise from a high priestess of haute cuisine.  Though he began cooking professionally at age 16 with his famous father, Marc also did some time working with Michel Guerard in Eugenie les Bains, Patricia Yeo at AZ and Pazo, Laurent Tourondel at BLT Steak and with Puck disciple Kazuto Matsusaka .  He also graduated from the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management at UMASS Amherst.

Throughout the contest Marc has offered some of the most creative dishes of the season.  Not only is his food Iron Chef worthy but he has a firm respect for what an Iron Chef should be.  The biggest complaint that people have had about Forgione is that his personality isn’t exciting but that critique comes from reality TV buffs not foodies.  That’s what is great about Iron Chef, it isn’t about personalities, it’s about food.  If you want a cooking contest where food is merely an after thought then might I suggest Top Chef or Hell’s Kitchen.  An Iron Chef doesn’t need to be charismatic or controversial; an Iron Chef should be innovative with a Bushido-like sense of honor.

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The judges for Battle: Ultimate Thanksgiving Feast were Donatella Arpaia and Simon Majumdar plus Iron Chefs Michael Symon, Bobby Flay, and Morimoto.

Click HERE for the outcome.

Have you missed an episode of NIC because you were caught up in an epic game of Jenga?  No problem, you can get caught up HERE.  Be sure to check out my exclusive interviews with Celina Tio (HERE), Mary Dumont (HERE) and Maneet Chauhan (HERE).  If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out my recent interview with Marc Forgione HERE.

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Recap: Next Iron Chef 3, EP7

The Final Four in Vegas!  That sounds like a Gambling Anonymous sponsor’s nightmare.   And this time two will be going home.  It’s hard to believe that this time next week we’ll be discussing the newest Iron Chef.

Celina TioLast week was supposed to be the double elimination week but the judges were unable to come to a consensus as to who should go home between Tsai, Tio and Forgione.  Now that makes me a little nervous.

You see in season four of Next Food Network Star the judges failed to reach an accord on who between Adam Gertler, Aaron McCargo Jr. and Lisa Garza should be eliminated before the finale.  That was extremely odd since McCargo had just turned in the single worst performance in the history of NFNS.  Most of the scuttlebutt was that McCargo had been deemed the winner before the contest started.  In retrospect that makes sense.  Of the dozen or so competitors that season McCargo was no better than the fifth best.

So that’s why the judges “indecision” makes me a little nervous.  On the other hand, there was no one performance last week that was clearly worse than any other.  In fact, I have a hard time buying Canora with the best performance – that’s seems fishier than not being able to send one of the other competitors home.

1st Challenge:  Make a signature drink and an Iron Chef quality bar snack.  A neat challenge.

2nd Challenge:  Create an extravagant meal with extravagant ingredients.

My thoughts:

Marco Canora – If you haven’t learned to dislike Ron Jeremy’s doppelganger yet you’ve still got time to beat the Christmas rush.  One thing Canora has proven throughout the contest is that each dish he serves comes with a complimentary glass of whine.  1st. challenge – He did well and sort of won (more below).  2nd challenge Canora played the douche card and used his 1st challenge win to sabotage Tsai. . . twice.  First he took Ming’s theme ingredient wagyu beef but Ming ended up with a premium cut of super expensive pork instead.  Then when deciding who got first shot at the “groceries” at the various restaurants in the resort he took the Japanese restaurant to keep Ming from getting familiar ingredients.  But in so doing he missed out on a giant summer truffle.  Canora nearly had a stroke trying to find the parchment paper that he claimed “was moved” only to find it in the exact place every restaurant keeps it – right next to the sheet pans.  The judges liked some elements of his meal and not others.  There must have been something about the editing because it seemed like the judges enjoyed his food the least – they were certainly the most critical of his menu according to what made the air.

Bryan Caswell – Went home week 6.

Maneet Chauhan – Went home week 5.

Mary Dumont – Went home week 3.

Duskie Estes – Went home week 4.

Marc Forgione – Of all the chefs in this contest, Forgione has done more to elevate his reputation.  Whether he is the Next Iron Chef or not Chef Marc is a star on the rise.  1st. challenge – went very well.  2nd challenge he got lobster.  The judges felt his food was really good with one exception.  He has made a strong push the entire season and would make an outstanding Iron Chef.  He approaches his challenges the way I feel rookie football players must feel when they cash their first check for playing a kid’s game.  He has had the best energy throughout the contest.

Andrew Kirschner – Went home week 1.

Mario Pagán – Went home week 2.

Celina Tio – Tio has never lacked for talent or respect but by spending the bulk of her career in Kansas City she has merely flown under the radar.  She’s proven to be a solid chef.  1st. challenge – the drink was good but her bar snack was raw oysters – she didn’t actually cook anything but still tied for 1st place.  2nd challenge she got Moi – a fantastic Hawaiian fish.  The judges thought her food was good for the most part.

Ming Tsai – Another win last week for Uncle Ming and it was actually in one of those stupid self-judging rounds (of course there was an extra vote cast by a guest chef).  During the season no one has beaten Ming.  He has beaten himself and he has been denied earned wins from collusive self-judging but no one has proven themselves a better chef. 1st. challenge – it was OK.  2nd challenge he got Wagyu beef but Canora douched him out of it so he ended up getting the best ingredient available – premium pork.  Judges felt his presentation was very good and the flavor was good although two did not like one texture element while the other loved it.  Win or lose Ming has given it quite a go seeing how the cards were firmly stacked against him.  Perhaps he was targeted by the other chefs because he was the one well known chef in the contest, a strong departure from last year where half of the chefs were well known and the first season that featured nothing but star chefs.

Tonight’s winners:

1st challenge – Chef Canora (actually tied with Tio but they pulled some chicanery to let Canora win).
2nd challenge – Chef Canora.

Quote of the night – “Bacon gets me excited.”  Marc Forgione.

Next week – Forgione vs. Canora (or a winner vs a whiner).

Have you missed an episode of NIC because you were storm chasing in Tornado Ally?  No problem, you can get caught up HERE.  Be sure to check out my exclusive interviews with Celina Tio (HERE), Mary Dumont (HERE) and Maneet Chauhan (HERE).

The Next Iron Chef will not be . . .

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Tio or Tsai

Recap: Next Iron Chef 3, EP6

Chef Chauhan got the boot last week ending her slide.  Maneet came out on fire when the contest started but the past few weeks it seemed as if her creativity was waning.  Of the five chefs remaining (Canora, Forgione, Tio, Caswell and Tsai) I feel like Chef Caswell is the weakest link.  His food has been good but he hasn’t had any of the triumphs of the others.  That being said picking a weakest link in this group is like trying to pick which nuclear bomb will hurt the least.

Next Iron ChefWhat’s become apparent is that the majority of people watching the show do not like Chef Canora.  I think he has been the main chef over-exaggerating his critique of the others during those stupid self-judgings rather than being honest.  I think the Food Network wants us to hate him so that we will enjoy his losing more.  One things is for sure – if he wins he’ll be the first Iron Chef that fans root against.

1st Challenge:  Make a cake.  The worst challenge in the history of this or any other show.  There is nothing Iron Chef about a wedding cake.  Who ever thought of this challenge should lose their job and their pension.

2nd Challenge:  Create a Vegas-worthy buffet.  Never mind the fact these days buffets are almost as hard to find in Las Vegas as a job.

My thoughts:

Marco Canora – Ron Jeremy’s doppelganger continues his bid to be this season’s D-bag.  If you have to cheat to compete then you are not good enough to be here to begin with. 1st challenge – he made a cake.  Canora screwed up his profiteroles so he suggested sabotage.  That’s not the first time he’s suggested sabotage when he’s messed up.  Oddly enough he’s the only one who’s been caught actually sabotaging others.  2nd challenge – eggplant parmesan, braised veal cheeks, compressed fruit salad and seafood salad.  I wonder if Canora’s buffet dishes come with a complementary glass of whine?  Judges said it was good.

Bryan Caswell – Caswell failed to stand out last week but fortunately for him Chef Chauhan was less impressive.  1st challenge – he made a cake.  2nd challenge – Gulf Coast with BBQ cracked crab, chili braised pork butt, little riblets, beef & grape salad.  The judges thought his food was OK but he had nothing that wow’d.  That’s the story of his tenure on the show.  Iron Chefs simply must wow.

Maneet Chauhan – Went home week 5.

Mary Dumont – Went home week 3.

Duskie Estes – Went home week 4.

Marc Forgione – Last week was not Chef Marc’s best performance.  He’ll have to regain is mojo to stay in the race.  1st challenge – he made a cake.  2nd challenge – vegetable consume, leg of lamb, raw salmon, prime rib and braised veal cheeks.  Judges felt his food was good.  They seemed to receive it well.

Andrew Kirschner – Went home week 1.

Mario Pagán – Went home week 2.

Celina Tio – After a stellar outing two weeks ago, Chef Tio was back to the middle of the pack last week.  1st challenge – she made a cake.  2nd challenge – Gnudi and lobster Shepard’s pie, creamy cauliflower soup sous vide duck and slow roasted salmon.  The judges said they were impressed with most of her food.  Simon thought her duck was confused.  No duh, if you went from floating on a pond to being vacuum sealed and submerged in hot water you’d be confused as well.

Ming Tsai – Another win last week for Uncle Ming.  He still struggles during the 1st challenge each week but it is obvious that it is by design.  1st challenge – he made a cake.  2nd challenge – Tour of Asia with tea smoked fish, Thai ceviche, garlic lobster & fried rice, baby back ribs and ribeye Pho.  According to the judges most of the dishes were good but tey all thought the Pho needed a little help.

Leading the pack: Ming Tsai

Dark horse: Marco Canora, Celina Tio

Tonight’s winners:

1st challenge – Chef Tsai.
2nd challenge – Chef Canora.

Quote of the night – “Chef Canora does a lot of complaining.”  Ming Tsai

Next week – the Final Four.

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 Celina Tio (HERE), Mary Dumont (HERE) and Maneet Chauhan (HERE).

The Next Iron Chef will not be . . .

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Bryan Caswell

Tonight was supposed to be a double elimination but the judges failed to reach a consensus on who should join Caswell.

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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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