John Besh

Next Iron Chef 4 Official Trailer

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Next Iron Chef 4 Lineup Announced

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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.  Here’s the official press release:

Food Network Selects Roster of Ten Superstar Chefs for the Ultimate Culinary Battle – Each Looking to Become The Next Iron Chef.

Elite Chefs Go Knife-to-Knife in High-Stakes Challenge to Become ‘The Next Iron Chef’

Hosted by Alton Brown, Season Four Set to Premiere Sunday, October 30th at 9pm ET/PT

NEW YORK – April 18, 2011 – Food Network, the leader in food and lifestyle entertainment, today announced the all-star casting and start of production for the ultimate season of The Next Iron Chef. Slated for premiere on Sunday, October 30th at 9pm ET/PT, Alton Brown will again host this 8-episode, top-rated series, which will shoot in Los Angeles and New York. The elite cast includes ten renowned chefs:

  • Anne Burrell – Secrets of a Restaurant Chef, Worst Cooks in America (Food Network)
  • Michael Chiarello – Bottega Restaurant (Napa Valley), Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello (Cooking Channel)
  • Elizabeth Faulkner – Citizen Cake, Orson (San Francisco), Iron Chef America – challenger (Food Network)
  • Alex Guarnaschelli – Butter, The Darby (New York), Alex’s Day Off, Chopped (Food Network)
  • Chuck Hughes – Garde Manger (Montreal), Chuck’s Day Off (Cooking Channel), Iron Chef America – challenger (Food Network)
  • Robert Irvine – Robert Irvine’s eat! (Hilton Head Island), Dinner: Impossible, Restaurant: Impossible, Worst Cooks in America (Food Network)
  • Beau MacMillan – Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain (Phoenix), Challenge, Iron Chef America – challenger (Food Network)
  • Spike Mendelsohn – Good Stuff Eatery (Washington D.C.), Kelsey & Spike Cook (Food2.com)
  • Marcus Samuelsson –Red Rooster Harlem (New York), 24 Hour Restaurant Battle, Chopped (Food Network)
  • Geoffrey Zakarian – The National, The Lambs Club (New York), 24 Hour Restaurant Battle, Chopped (Food Network)

Judges include the original ‘Next Iron Chef’ Michael Symon, esteemed food journalist Simon Majumdar and UK Iron Chef Judy Joo.

In The Next Iron Chef, the contestants bet on their culinary skills and put their reputations on the line for the chance to compete in legendary Kitchen Stadium. The winner will join the ranks of chefs including Bobby Flay, Marc Forgione, Jose Garces, Masaharu Morimoto and Symon as a member of the Chairman’s team on Iron Chef America.

Hmm, no mention of Cat Cora.  Very curious, perhaps she is leaving ICA?

Be sure to read my interviews with NIC1 winner Michael Symon HERE, NIC3 winner Marc Forgione HERE and Chopped judge and NIC4 contestant Alex Guarnaschelli HERE.

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Super Chefs’ Super Bowl Recipes

Well, it’s almost here.  The most American of holidays – the Super Bowl.  That’s right I said holiday.  It’s a hell of lot more sacred than braving a blizzard to see whether or not some glorified rat saw his shadow plus it is the second most food-centric day of the year behind Thanksgiving Day.  These days the competition isn’t just on the field as friends gather to out do one another with delicious party recipes.  Well, what better way to impress that obnoxious brother-in-law than by strutting in with a few 5 star caliber dishes from this culinary all-star team.

Rick Bayless' Giant Milanesa Torta with crispy chicken tendersRick Bayless’ restraurants Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, Frontera Fresco and XOCO have made him one of Chicago’s most respected chefs.  His cooking show Mexico: One Plate at a Time was the 2011 Tasty Award winner for best single subject cooking show.  The winner of the first Top Chef: Masters winner suggests you take that six foot sub concept to another level with his Giant Milanesa Torta with Crispy Chicken Tenders.  A torta is the popular sandwich that dominates the Mexico City street vendor scene.  Click HERE to get the recipe.

Michael Symon's Duck Confit Sliders, Banh-Mi StyleIron Chef Michael Symon is no stranger to competition.  He had to defeat noted chefs like Aarón Sanchez, Chris Cosentino and John Besh to win the first Next Iron Chef contest and has since competed in over 20 ICA battles winning more than 80% of the time, the best of any Iron Chef.  So leave it to Iron Mike to shake things up a bit with this exotic take on the bite-sized burger with his Duck Confit Sliders, Banh-Mi Style.  These tasty little sandwiches provide just enough sweet and an ample dose of heat.  Click HERE to get the recipe.  Be sure to check out my exclusive interview with Symon HERE.

Nathan Lyon's Carrot-Sweet Potato Soup with Fresh GingerIt never fails.  Even though it is understood that Super Bowl Sunday is a no-veggie-zone someone always fails to get the memo.  And for some reason they are never satisfied with nibbling the carrot and celery sticks you serve with the hot wings.  Thankfully Chef Nathan Lyon is here to save the day.  Chef Nathan is a champion of the healthy, farm-to-fork movement on his shows  Lyon in the Kitchen and Growing a Greener World.  Take for instance Nathan’s Carrot-Sweet Potato Soup with Fresh Ginger, it’s perfect for intrusive herbivores.  Click HERE to get the recipe.

queso fundido with roasted poblano vinaigrette from Food NetworkEvery Super Bowl party needs some kind of dip and Food Network’s resident Southwestern guru, Bobby Flay comes through with just the ticket.  Flay’s Queso Fundido with Roasted Poblano Vinaigrette takes cheese dip to a whole new plateau.  The Iron Chef even provides some how-to on making your own tortilla chips which is surprisingly easy to do.  Flay has become one of America’s favorite chefs thanks to his plethora of TV appearances and empire of restaurants.  You can always count on his recipes to pack all the punch you need to get your grub on.  Click HERE to get the recipe.  Be sure to check out my exclusive interview with Flay HERE.

Stuart Reb Donald's Honey-Chipotle and Bangkok wingsI guess I would be remiss if I didn’t include some sort of hot wing recipe.  I am fond of baking my wings so as to keep them healthy.  Hot wing sauce is the only time you will ever see me use margarine instead of butter and that’s because margarine makes for a smoother sauce.  Butter-based sauces can break when heated so since I am not using real butter I will use one of the heart healthy liquid margarines on the market or even a healthy fat like canola or coconut oil.  That’s what I did with these smokey-sweet Honey-Chipotle wings and these sizzling Bangkok wings.  Click HERE to get the recipe.

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Where’s “Next Iron Chef Winner” Jose Garces?

On January 17th of this year, Jose Garces made his debut as the newest Iron Chef.  His lofty title was achieved by winning the second Next Iron Chef competition.  On the night where he made his triumphant ascension into Kitchen Stadium’s “veritable pantheon of culinary giants,” Garces defended his newly claimed regency by defeating Rachel Yang of Seattle’s popular Joule in Battle: Hawaiian moi.  It was May before Garces had another bout, a win over Colorado chef Kelly Liken in Battle: Bleu Cheese.  Garces battled Portalnd’s Naomi Pomeroy in Battle: Truffles in a contest that Pomeroy revealed was actually taped way back in 2009.  Apparently all of Garces battles were filmed then and he has not been back to Kitchen Stadium.

Since then no one outside of Philadelphia has seen hide nor hair of Iron Chef Garces.

Jose Garces on WannabeTVchef.comHe is still listed on the Food Network’s web site as part of their stable of chefs.  There is even a congratulatory note about winning the Next Iron Chef contest.  However, there is no mention in his official Network bio of being an Iron Chef, rather it says that he, “appeared on Food Network’s Iron Chef America.”

Chef Garces’ own media kit also stops short of calling him an Iron Chef but instead saying, “As the winner of The Next Iron Chef, Chef Garces will appear on the upcoming season of Iron Chef America.”  Which of course he has three times. . . before he disappeared.  So the question remains, is he an Iron Chef or not?

If gone, Garces would not be the first Iron Chef to leave the show.  The venerable Wolfgang Puck did a one-and-done as an Iron Chef before “retiring.”  Michael Symon’s inclusion was the result of Mario Batali’s desire to reduce the number of battles he performed so he could concentrate on building his restaurant empire with business partner Joe Bastianich (son of Lydia Bastianich and co-host of MasterChef on Fox).  Emeril Legasse on WannabeTVchef.comBatali has only appeared in one battle since his 2008 match-up against Paul Bartolotta.  That was the special “Super Chefs” battle that pitted Batali and Emeril Legasse against Iron Chef Bobby Flay and White House executive chef Cristeta Comerford.

Garces’ absence from what is still the best TV-based cooking competition might have gone unnoticed if not for the announcement from Food Network in April of this year of a third season of NIC.  Now the blogosphere is buzzing with rumor and conjecture.

Is Batali gone for good?  Is Cat Cora stepping away to spend more time with her growing family?  Is Flay, Symon or Morimoto leaving?  The most popular assumption is that there has been some kind of falling out between the Food Network brass and Chef Garces.  Never one for rumor I went straight to the sources to get answers.

First, I contacted the folks at Garces Restaurant Group and here is what I got from their end:

Bubkis!  Not a single word.

Then I called on Scripps Networks (the parent company of Food Network) and this was their response:

First I got, “We are releasing info on the new season of ‘The Next Iron Chef’ in a few weeks, can I reconnect with you then to answer your questions?”

Then, as promised, I got, “The winner (of The Next Iron Chef 3) joins the ranks of Symon, Bobby Flay, Masahaharu Morimoto, Mario Batali, Cat Cora and Jose Garces and launches into instant fame as a member of the Chairman’s team on Iron Chef America.

“The winner begins their reign as Iron Chef with a heated Iron Chef America battle on Sunday, November 28th at 9pm ET/PT.”

While it didn’t really address all of the questions people have about the future of ICA it does give us a hint as to where we stand on the career of Jose Garces.  Any comments?

Food Network’s web site does list one more battle (also taped in ’09) for Garces set to air in late September but beyond that nothing.  If you haven’t already, be sure to check out my exclusive interviews with Iron Chefs Bobby Flay and Michael Symon as well as ICA challengers, Amanda Cohen and Maria Hines.  Also learn more about Next Iron Chef 3 HERE.

Be sure you check back each Sunday for the NIC Recap.

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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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