Next Iron Chef Exit Interview: For Chef Pagan, An “Amazing Ride”

by in Shows, October 11th, 2010
Chef Mario Pagan on the meatloaf that sent him home: "I felt that having been given the most labor-intensive dish, I did a good job."

FN Dish: What did you take away from the experience of competing on The Next Iron Chef?
Mario Pagan: Competing in The Next Iron Chef has been the most amazing and exciting highlight of my career! It’s an honor to have been picked as one of the ten best chefs in the United States. Being amongst so many talented chefs is an opportunity that is hard to come by.

Dish: How did you feel about the meatloaf and potatoes dish that sent you home when you presented it?
M.P.: I felt that having been given the most labor-intensive dish, I did a good job.

Dish: If you could have a do-over, what would you change about that fateful dish?
M.P.: If I had to do it all over again, I have to say that I should have used arrowroot instead of cornstarch to thicken my sauce.

Dish: What advice would you give future Next Iron Chef contestants?
M.P.:
The best advice that I can give is to make sure to pick your proteins first and then set up your “mise en place” for your planned dish. Ask for the remaining time in the battle at all times. But, until you’re there, you’ll never understand the overwhelming feeling of being in that kitchen. What an amazing ride! Stay and cook strong!

Look inside Chef Pagan’s Next Iron Chef journal and flip through our behind-the-scenes gallery from Episode 2.

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Comments (41)

  1. lizzy says:

    food network have to prepare they judges for all kind of food indian, mexican, american, latin or any of the big foods are out there is sad hes a great chef and it was way of that the judge said im not going to try that hello you have to your supose to taste are there were worst looking dishes that day come on food network do your job is going to be sad to stop watching your programs if they not going to be fair for every person no matter were they come from .

  2. Maria Sanchez says:

    To all the people who immediately cry "racism" just because someone of one ethnicity or another was dismissed, you are PATHETIC!! Have you noticed the diversity on the food network and on this show in particular? If you disagree with the judges, then disagree with them, why does it have to be a racist move on their part? Have any of you read the story of the boy who cried wolf? Cry racist at the drop of a hat and people will stop listening to you.

    Now, I didn't get to taste the dishes, but I have been watching the show and really thought that Mario looked like one of the best chefs from the beginning. So, I really thought it was unfortunate that he was cut as well. I will make it a point to go to his restaurant .

  3. fan says:

    why the judge eat the one they call shoe and didnt whant to eat the meat loaf?? and make coments like i dont what to eat this and stuff you have to see the face of the other judges when he said does comments if mario have to go he have to go but not that way they were worst dishes that day is the way the dude express him self they have to put good judges on the table not ppl that only eat and taste what they whant to taste. and for lots of ppl latin of not looks like racism not in the food netwoork but the judge in hand .

  4. fan says:

    lots of ppl latin or not latin looks like racism not in the food network but the judge in hand.

  5. Meg says:

    You people that are crying racism are ridiculous. His dish just didn't measure up. He had a bad day, and he lost.

  6. JDs says:

    IT DOESN'T MATTER WHO GETS ELIMINATED THE PEOPLE WHO CAN NOT COOK WILL CRY SOMETHING AND SINCE THEY DID NOT TASTE THE FOOD THEY ARE THEY ARE JUST FOOLS. AND IF MING WINS HE IS GREAT AND HOW BELITTLING FOR HIM TO BE IN A CONTEST WITH PEOPLE BELOW HIS CALIBER. AND MOST OF YOU COMMENTING DO NOT EVEN KNOW WHERE PR IS LOCATED AND YOU CAN'T SPELL.

  7. Kathy Conlon says:

    I believe Chef Pagan was unfairly eliminated the female chefs did worse than he did and yet they kept them on

  8. GABRIEL says:

    HEY FOOD NETWORK..CHECK YOUR VOTES….I GUESS CHEF PAGAN WAS THE BEST IN YOUR CULINARY SHOW…I'M A FAN OF CHEF FLAY AND LET ME TELL YOU HE IS ONE OF THE BEST I GUESS THE DAY THAT CHEF PAGAN WAS OUT MANY PEOPLE THINK THE JUDGE SINCE THE BEGINNING HE WAS VERY CRITIC OF CHEF PAGAN'S FOOD….

  9. nahir says:

    i can believe what food network do to mario he is the number one in vote we love this chef and we wanted to see justice. mario diserve to return to competition because he was eliminated by a racist judges. the judge don't tasted just because mario is Hispanic how bad. this is not a boycott this is a community that needs justice.

  10. Martinez says:

    Seems to be that one of the judges in the program is a racist. totally unfair!!!! Don't invite latin people if your going to discriminate against them. Food network really showed that it doesn't apreciate latin people, how sad.

    • Lola says:

      who won last season?? oh yeah — (Latino) Chef GARCES! and wait a minute, who was in the final with him?? oh yeah – (Indian) Chef MEHTA!
      get a grip!

    • The JillyBean says:

      Garces won last season, if that wasn't an "affirmative action" win I don't know what is. He should not have and he has been dismal this season. He so turned me off I stopped watching IC. Garces should go back to running his restaurant, he's gifted as a chef, but he has no television presence and lousy at IC stadium repartee. Even the guy who kept making (or messing up) ice cream last season was more fun than Garces on a perfect day.

      It's pathetic when everyone is ready to cry racism when things don't go their way. No wonder this country doesn't progress far. Try looking at what the guy did in comparison to how the other contestants did on the show. Try a little critical analysis rather than being blinded by bias for an ethnicity.

      • The JillyBean says:

        ah, that's right ice cream chef was Mehta. He would have been the better IC. I remember when he was on IC as a challenger, he was much more fun.

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