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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

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

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 . . .

[ad] Empty ad slot (#1)!

Beau MacMillan

Recap: Next Iron Chef 4, EP 3

NIC4Banner Recap: Next Iron Chef 4, EP 2

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.

Wow!  A lot of people are not happy about Robert Irvine being eliminated last week.  Check out this venom from Food Network’s Facebook page:

Robert, my husband and I are absolutely disgusted with the Iron Chef. Clearly the Iron Chef isn’t the serious, legitimate competition we all thought it was!!! Seema Devi Tiwari-Sobhan

I’m soooooo efin pissed!!!!! You made magic out of peanuts and they prefered pasta with a hint of nuts?  Sofia Lavenant

I simply can’t believe that Robert Irvine lost on Iron Chef!!! The guy that served slimy raw eggs and still won is a jerk. This is the worst mistake you guys have ever made!!!  Donna Winsted

That’s just the first three on the page on Tuesday.  Tuesday!  Can you imagine what their Facebook wall looked like the night it aired?  For those of you who are not media savvy here’s a quick lesson.  The reason why networks do controversial things is so that people will go to there Facebook page to voice their displeasure.  Then when they get ready to sell advertising they say, “Look at the spike we get when Next Iron Chef is on.  We know it’s more expensive to advertise then but when you do the math it’s the best value.”

Oh, and here’s another quick lesson about Freedom of Expression and Public Domain.  When you go to a Facebook page and leave a comment I am free to republish it here with your name as it appears on the post.  I love America.

Battle: Ingenuity

NICChiarello 225x300 Recap: Next Iron Chef 4, EP 3Chairman’s challenge:   “Let’s All Go to the Lobby” (Secret Ingredient: Movie Snack Bar Food) The chefs are taken to the Orpheum Theater and must create concession foods worthy of an Iron Chef using movie house candies.  They must create a sweet and a savory dish.  OK, this one is kind of stupid.  By winning last week, Alex got to choose a candy first (chocolate covered raisins) and then for each of the remaining contestants.

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

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

  • Chairman’s challenge:  Root Beer.  Savory – Sausage Stuffed Quail in Agrodolce.  I went over well.  Sweet – Root Beer Float with Root Beer Chocolate Spice Cake.  It was good as well.  Simon said, “This is the Anne Burrell I’ve been waiting to see.”  She went first and set the bar high for everyone else.  Top 3.

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

  • Chairman’s challenge:  Gummy Candy.  Savory – Gummy Marinated Lamb Chop.  It was very well balanced.  Judges liked it.  Sweet – Orange Gummy Panna Cotta.  It didn’t work quite as well.  Middle of the pack.

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

  • Chairman’s challenge: Malted Milk Balls.  Savory – Malted Stout Fish & Chips.  It was received very well by the judges.  Sweet – Chiffon Crunch Caked with Barley Ice Cream.  She’s a pastry chef by trade and Judy called it the best thing tasted yet.  Home run on both courses.  Top 3.

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

  • Chairman’s challenge:  Chocolate Covered Raisins.  Alex attempted an ice cream but things did not go smoothly.  Savory – Lamb Loin with Caponata.  The judges enjoyed it.  Sweet – Golden Raisin Biscuit.  As she feared the ice cream did not go over.  Bottom 3.

Chuck Hughes – Garde Manger (Montreal), Chuck’s Day Off (Cooking Channel), Iron Chef America – challenger (Food Network)

  • Chairman’s challenge:  Popcorn.  Savory dish was “Popcorn” Shrimp (shrimp dusted in a flour made of popcorn) with a Popcorn Seafood Cream.  It had a great premise but missed on execution.  Simon called it a train wreck.  Sweet – Vanilla Popcorn Pudding.  It was a much better dish.  Bottom 3.

Robert Irvine – Eliminated in week 2.

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

  • Chairman’s challenge:  Sour Candies.  Savory – Sweet and Sour Snapper Ceviche.  Beau went out on a limb and instead of incorporating the candy he tried to replicate their flavor only using them for a garnish.  I don’t think the judges were happy.  Sweet – Melon Coconut Soup.  Some judges liked it some did not.  Bottom 3.

Spike Mendelsohn – Eliminated in week 1.

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

  • Chairman’s challenge:  Chocolate Covered Caramels.  Savory – Chocolate Caramel Glazed Duck.  The flavors worked.  Sweet – Chocolate Caramel Cake.  Simon and Marcus disagreed as to whether it was over cooked.  Middle of the pack.

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

  • Chairman’s challenge:  Cinnamon Candy.  Savory – Cinnamon Chicken Vinegar.  The judges seemed to really enjoy it.  Cinnamon Candy Orange Ouefs a la Neige.  The judges were amazed.  Top 3.

Leading the pack: Michael Chiarello, Geoffrey Zakarian

Dark horse: Elizabeth Faulkner, Chuck Hughes

Tonight’s winners:

1st challenge – Anne Burrell, Elizabeth Faulkner, & Geoffrey Zakarian.  Chef Faulkner #1.
Sudden Death challenge – MacMillan vs. Hughes.
.

Quote of the night – “Catch, princess.”  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 . . .

Chuck Hughes

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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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