season 3

Flay Joins Burrell for New Season Of “Worst Cooks”

Food Network Press Release:

Worst CookNEW YORK – January 3, 2012 – Worst Cooks in America, the hit primetime competition series that turns hopeless cooks into confident kitchen mavens, returns for a third season with two-time undefeated series champion Anne Burrell challenged by superstar chef Bobby Flay on Sunday, February 12th at 9pm ET/PT. The show pits Anne against Bobby, each leading a team of eight “recruits” in a grueling eight-week boot camp designed to transform these culinary disaster-makers into competent cooks. A $25,000 grand prize will be awarded to the winning contestant who achieves the most progress and best performance, in addition to bragging rights and victory for their culinary mentor.

“After two undefeated seasons of Worst Cooks in America, I’m ready for a third,” said Burrell. “Going against Bobby Flay takes the challenge to another level, but I’m ready to whip these contestants into shape and the winner is sure to be from Team Burrell.”

“Anne may have had some early victories in past seasons, but this show is ready for a change and I’m going to bring it,” said Flay. “I’ll work my team until they can chop, filet and grill with the best of them.”

In the season premiere, the sixteen “recruits,” each nominated by family and friends for their atrocious cooking skills, arrive at Base Camp and attempt to impress Anne and Bobby with their own “signature” dish. The chefs then make their team picks and for their first challenge, the contestants engage in a high-stakes breakfast battle – with Anne’s team attempting Orange Pumpkin Pancakes with Vanilla Whipped Cream and Cinnamon Maple Syrup and Bobby’s recruits assigned Bobby’s Blue Corn Pancakes with Whipped Orange Honey Butter and Cinnamon Maple Syrup. But some of these recruits can barely fry an egg, so the chefs go back to basics demoing some simple egg techniques. The contestant with the least successful dish on each team is sent home, while the remaining fourteen competitors cook on.

Upcoming episodes feature an international cuisine challenge, seafood preparation and cooking for a class of third graders – culminating in the series finale on Sunday, April 8th at 9pm ET/PT, where the two most improved contestants are judged by culinary experts David Burke, Marcus Samuelsson and Susan Feniger and the $25,000 grand prize winner is named.

ICA: Flay vs. Tsai

Iron Chef America

Way back in 2005 there was an Iron Chef battle with the secret ingredient of duck.  The battle was between Iron Chef Bobby Flay and former Food Network chef Ming Tsai.  Flay of course has become famous from his innovative approach to Southwestern cuisine and Tsai is well known for the Asian fusion he calls East Meets West.  The judges for this epic match were Jeffrey Steingarten, Ted Allen and Vishakha Desai.

I bring this up for two reasons.  First off, the Network is rebroadcasting this classic battle from the first full season of Iron Chef: America on November 4th at 8:00 PM ET/PT and again on November 5th at 3:00 AM ET/PT.  B) Chef Tsai is currently a competitor on the third season of The Next Iron Chef.

Hmm, very curious that they choose to pull this out of the moth balls at this time.  They haven’t re-aired any other episodes matching contestants from this year’s NIC, namely Cat Cora vs. Mary Dumont (2007) nor Morimoto vs. Maneet Chauhan from earlier this year.  Is FN trying to get viewers used to the sight of Chef Tsai in Kitchen Stadium or is it just a clever ruse to make everyone think that Tsai is the NIC winner when actually it is someone else?

The only thing I can reveal is the winner of Flay vs. Tsai:

Next Iron Chef 3

I am curious to see what unfolds on the Next Iron Chef 3.

next iron chef on WannabeTVchef.comThe original was amazing television that was made up of past Food Network stars like Aaron Sanchez and eventual winner Michael Symon and introduced us to some new ones like Chris Cosentino (who now co-hosts Chefs vs. City with Sanchez) and TLC’s John Besh (Inedible to Incredible).

The drama of that first season lay in the fact that every contestant was an established star chef who realized that winning NIC could mean the difference between a six figure salary and a seven figure salary. Also adding to the chemistry was the fact that most of the competitors were old friends. Though there was a little friendly trash talking there was a strong sense of camaraderie among that first group.

Season 2 was not very good. With few exceptions (Amanda Freitag, Eric Greenspan, Nate Appleman and Jose Garces) there were few truly well-known chefs in the contest. What there seemed to be was an over-abundance of was contrived drama and a gaggle of idiotic challenges that did nothing to prove who was best qualified to be an Iron Chef.

There was also Jehangir Mehta, a pastry chef of all things vying to be the Next Iron Chef. Mehta, though talented, seemed to get moved along each week despite a number of tragically failed challenges, cheating and other undesirable behavior. It was clear by season’s end that Mehta was not there because he was a plausible Iron Chef but because the Food Network knew viewers would hate him and tune in just hoping he’d get eliminated.  Adding to the failure of Next Iron Chef 2 was the fact that the eventual winner, Jose Garces shot three battles as an Iron Chef in 2009 and has since been invisible.

Speculation has been rampant: Has Batali finally completed his long, drawn-out exit?  Is Cat Cora stepping away to spend more time with her growing family?  She was on MasterChef you know?  Maybe Flay, Symon or Morimoto is leaving?  The most popular assumption is that there has been some kind of falling out between the Food Network brass and Chef Garces.

Season 1 produced Michael Symon who is the winning-est Iron Chef in the history of the show having taken home victory over 80% of the time he’s gone out. Season 2 produced, well, nothing really. So just what does the third season hold? Will it elevate someone new to a title that signifies the best of the best or will it be another one hit wonder?  I guess we’ll all have to wait until October.

Meet this season’s contestants HERE.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out my exclusive interviews with Iron Chefs Bobby Flay and Michael Symon as well as the newest Iron Chef, Marc Forgione 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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