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Chef Jose Garces won Season 2 of The Next Iron Chef, and this Sunday he’ll join the judges’ panel to critique the efforts of our current rivals. We caught up with the newest Iron Chef about being in the rivals’ shoes just one year ago and what he’s been up to since his big win.
If there was one moment during The Next Iron Chef where you could have a do-over, what would it be?
“Honestly, I wouldn’t do anything differently. Even my missteps were important, and learning from them was what helped me get to where I am now.”
What was your least favorite ingredient to tackle during NIC?
“I enjoyed all of the different ingredients, because the challenges presented by unfamiliar ingredients are a great way to drive your cooking skills forward.”
How did winning The Next Iron Chef affect your career?
“Winning The Next Iron Chef was a real dream come true for me. I’ve always approached cooking with a focus on ingredients, and learning to work with the ‘secret ingredient’ in Kitchen Stadium has been invaluable to my ability to innovate and update my techniques. I also love the platform that Iron Chef America provides for teaching. Cooking is a communal event, not something you do all alone, and it’s thrilling for me to be able to do it on such a tremendous stage.”
What was the most nerve-wracking moment of your first battle as an Iron Chef?
“The most nerve-wracking moment for me is the final few seconds before The Chairman exclaims ‘Allez cuisine!’ The adrenaline rush is palpable and it really charges me up for the battle ahead.”
Who are you rooting for this season? Cast your Next Iron Chef Fan Vote (up to 10 times per day)!