Next Iron Chef Redemption Announced

Web-Exclusive Battles at to Determine Tenth Cast Member

Hosted by Alton Brown, Eight-Episode Series Premieres Sunday, November 4th at 9pm ET/PT, New Iron Chef Crowned in Season Finale on Sunday, December 23rd at 9pm ET/PT.

NEW YORK – September 24, 2012 – A roster of acclaimed chefs return for a second chance to become a member of the Iron Chef culinary society this fall, with the premiere of The Next Iron Chef: Redemption on Sunday, November 4th at 9pm ET/PT.   The fifth installment of this top-rated competition series also adds a few newcomers to the mix, who have had their own experiences of not quite winning the crown. The competitors are given new opportunities to prove their skills are Iron Chef worthy, while revisiting some of the memorable moments that sent them home in the past. The culinary battle-royale, hosted by Alton Brown and shot in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, tests the kitchen chops, masterful skills and fortitude of these supreme experts, and culminates with the naming of the newest Iron Chef on Sunday, December 23rd at 9pm ET/PT.

Competitors are: returning from The Next Iron Chef: Season Two Nate Appleman, Amanda Freitag (Chopped), Eric Greenspan (The Foundry on Melrose, The Roof on Wilshire, Los Angeles) and Jehangir Mehta (Graffiti, New York); from The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs Elizabeth Falkner (Krescendo, New York), Alex Guarnaschelli (Butter, The Darby, New York, Chopped) and Spike Mendelsohn (Good Stuff Eatery, We The Pizza, Washington D.C.); and first time Next Iron Chef competitors with their own redemption stories, Tim Love (The Lonesome Dove, Western Bistro, The Love Shack, Woodshed Smokehouse, White Elephant Saloon, Fort Worth) and Marcel Vigneron (The Coop, Los Angeles).

“This season’s cast is filled with extraordinary chefs at the top of their game and they all know how fierce this competition is,” said Bob Tuschman, General Manager and Senior Vice President, Food Network. “The redemption theme heightens the season’s drama with second chances and new opportunities, and viewers can expect culinary magic, intense battles and edge-of-your seat suspense.”

Redemption offers a Food Network first, as the tenth cast position will go to the winner of the web-exclusive “Road to Redemption” tournament taking place October 12th – 26th on Participants battling for their chance at Redemption’s tenth slot are Duskie Estes and Robert Trevino, who previously competed on earlier seasons of The Next Iron Chef and newcomers Lee Anne Wong and Madison Cowan.

“Our web-exclusive ‘Road to Redemption’ tournament adds a whole new layer to The Next Iron Chef experience,” said Bob Madden, General Manager and Senior Vice President, Digital – Food Network Category, Scripps Networks Interactive. “This online exclusive will give our audience more of the content they crave and the opportunity to witness more excitement and energy from these skilled competitors. is thrilled to play a part in selecting the tenth competitor for this season’s cast.”

Exclusively on, the “Road to Redemption” tournament begins October 12th with a battle between former Next Iron Chef contenders Duskie Estes and Robert Trevino, followed on October 19th by a competition between Iron Chef America challengers Madison Cowan and Lee Anne Wong. The winners meet on October 26th, where the final Redemption position will be awarded. Beginning in late September, a sneak peek and extended preview will be available at

The Next Iron Chef: Redemption kicks off on “Redemption Beach,” where the chefs’ resourcefulness is tested in a grueling Chairman’s Challenge with a devious twist: each must cook with the ingredient that sent them packing last time. Given another chance with this ingredient and only bare essentials, hot coals and one hour on the clock some rise to the occasion while others go down in flames. The two least successful chefs go to the Secret Ingredient Showdown, a sudden-death cook-off that leads to the first elimination. Upcoming episodes continue to push the limits, including a canned food to Kitchen Stadium-worthy cuisine challenge, a Las Vegas buffet battle with an appearance by legendary magician David Copperfield and a “last supper” showdown. Returning judges Donatella Arpaia and Simon Majumdar are joined by last season’s winner and newest Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian on the judging panel, along with appearances from Iron Chefs Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto and Michael Symon.

The winner will join the ranks of chefs including Bobby Flay, Marc Forgione, Jose Garces, Masaharu Morimoto, Michael Symon and Geoffrey Zakarian as a member of the Chairman’s team on Iron Chef America. The newly crowned Iron Chef’s first battle in Kitchen Stadium will premiere on Sunday, December 30th at 9pm ET/PT.

Food Network Star Season 8 Finale Recap

fns8cast 300x199 Food Network Star Season 8 EP1 Recap

Well, I’m still a little flabbergasted with last week’s results.  Michele had easily the worst performance of the night yet she gets a pilot.  However, since Martie and Justin had the best performances they let them both stay.  Kudos Food Network, that’s the first time you’ve done a mid-show rules change with a positive result.  Yvan has really proven he belongs as well.  All things being equal Justin is the best pick for the next Food Network Star but as I have stated before, I don’t trust this show.

As usual with the finale I will give my assessment of each remaining candidate and what I see in their future.  I will also try to predict the future of a few of the other contestants.  Let’s get started shall we?

Michele Ragussis – The best way to describe Michele’s performance is underwhelming.  I have never seen what the judges have loved so much.  I can only assume that it is because of editing.  But I can only base my predictions on what I have seen and what I saw was someone who showed no growth from beginning to end.  Should Michele win I see her show following the same path as Aaron McCargo Jr’s show.   For those of you that don’t know Aaron’s show was canceled last year but people are only now starting to notice it isn’t on.  I don’t think she wins but we will occasionally see her from time to time and I would love to cook with her someday.

Yvan Lemoine –He has really grown since the show started.  His charm and camera presence have been present since the beginning but it took him a few weeks to put the whole package together.  Yvan would be a wonderful host and his show could be a hit for Food Network but I see him on Cooking Channel instead.  I’d watch the crap out of Yvan’s show.

Martie Duncan –I’ve never met Martie personally but she is the friend of a friend.  She’s also from my home state of Alabama so it stands to reason that I love Martie.  As a Southerner I have always hated the portrayal of us in the national media but there was a time when food TV got it right.  Justine Wilson was amazing, Emeril brought our culture to life and lest we forget that Alton Brown is a good ole Georgia boy.  The best cooks in America are now and have always been from the South.  Win or lose I see Martie with a show on Food Network.  She’s earned it.

Justin Warner – this has been his contest since about week two.  In all reality if Justin doesn’t win this show needs to stop billing itself as a competition.  He has been the class of the cast all season long.  His fresh and brainy approach make his POV perfect to fill the void left by Good Eats retirement.  Keep in mind that GE didn’t go off the air because people weren’t watching it anymore but because Alton decided it was time for something new.  Justin Warner is new, like nothing we’ve ever seen on Food Network before.  He should win but if he doesn’t he’ll still get a show and it’s ratings will destroy the show of whoever does win.

Of the others:

Emily Ellyn – Eliminated in week 7 in what was easily the sleaziest episode of the season.  She is a fan favorite and I see her with a show if not on Food Network/Cooking Channel (they’d be foolish to let her get away) then on another major cable network.  Her POV, style and food are too good to not have a national audience.  Plus she’s just so damned good looking.  I think Emily and Nadia G would make a great one-two punch.

Judson Allen – Eliminated in week 5 in what was the second sleaziest episode of the season Judson is not only likable he just may be what the black community needs to form a unified front against obesity and the diabetes it leads to.  As much as Judson would love to be on Food Network/Cooking Channel I believe his place might be on BET.  It was originally started as a network to break the stereotypes of black culture but these days it is one of the worst perpetuaters of them.  Judson has the potential to have the most important show to come from this contest.  After watching Susie gushing over his new heath & wellness POV I would not be surprised to see him on Cooking Channel.

Nikki Martin – Eliminated in week 11 Nikki showed a lot of personal growth and tenacity.  Here elimination last week was questionable since she clearly had a better performance than her teammate Michele.  As much as I would love to see Nikki on a major cable network I’m just not sure if it will happen.  She’s good enough but they can only take so many people from one cast.  Still, we have not seen the last of her.  She would totally rock on this new Chopped: Grillmasters special.

As I have stated before this is easily the most talented cast they’ve ever had.  Every single contestant this year was good enough to have a nationally televised TV show.  Most of them, should they chose to do so, will have ample opportunities within their own communities.  I look forward to what the future holds for all of them.  I have made some terrific friends in this year’s cast and I want the best for each and everyone of them.

The next Food Network Star is. . .

Food Network Star: The Wannabe TV Chef Interviews


Food Network Star Pilot: Yvan Lemoine

To vote for Yvan go HERE.

Food Network Star Pilot: Michele Ragussis

To vote for Michele go HERE.

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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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