Critical Moments: Best of the Best on The Next Iron Chef

by in Shows, November 15th, 2010
"Marc vs. Marco to be the Next Iron Chef. I could hardly wait."

Next Iron Chef judge Simon Majumdar joins us on the FN Dish each week to share his insider’s take on what went down Sunday night.

The Chairman’s decision to allow four chefs to battle it out for a place in Kitchen Stadium made the judges’ decision even more difficult. So did the fact that the remaining combatants had been the ones to impress most in the competition to date. Although it was not going to be easy, at the end of the penultimate challenge two would be going home and two would face off to become The Next Iron Chef.

With Lobster, Mangalitsa Pork, Wagyu Beef and Hawaiian Moi to choose from, the chefs could have no complaints about being denied the best of the best, even if they had to run a marathon to collect them. They did not disappoint and the three dishes placed in front of us showed each of the chefs cooking at the very top of their game. With such skill on show we had to search for the most minor of flaws in technique, seasoning and plating to make our final decisions.

Chef Canora was, for me, a clear winner. Not least for his unapologetic use of rendered Wagyu beef fat to add a delicious savory note to a beet broth and a parcel of meaty mushrooms. It was pure Canora and made me determined to give him the opportunity to cook one last time.

Against any other group of challengers, Chef Tio’s elegant cooking would have surely seen her go through to join him. Yet, while I disagreed with Donatella’s opinion that the crispy moi was under-seasoned, I couldn’t argue that she had been outshone by her rivals and, by the narrowest of margins she was the first to be eliminated.

Chef Tsai and Chef Forgione remained before us as two chefs who could both grace the final battle with their very different styles and culinary backgrounds. I put my X against Chef Forgione’s name. I had been his toughest critic in the previous two challenges, but was seriously impressed with his dishes and determination to show me he could use a pressure cooker to good effect.

Chef Tsai looked genuinely stunned when Alton announced that he would not be the Next Iron Chef, but a misjudged dish of lardo had been enough to fell Ming The Magnificent, and send an equally astonished Forgione to Kitchen Stadium.

Marc vs. Marco to be the Next Iron Chef. I could hardly wait.

Look inside Chef Tsai and Chef Tio’s Next Iron Chef journals and flip through our behind-the-scenes gallery from Episode 7.

More about Simon Majumdar:
Simon’s Website
Simon’s book, Eat My Globe
Follow @SimonMajumdar on Twitter

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Comments (299)

  1. Kejuan says:

    Chefs Tio and Tsai were my favorites of the show…. Now they are left with a punk and greaseball. Yeah how exciting!

  2. Lea says:

    Well, here we go… I will watch tonight even though my favorites are not there. I also will not watch IC when either of the chefs chosen to compete tonight are on. Doesn't matter-they're boring and have issues-not very professional, although I know they're exceptional chefs. Chef Tsai was arrogant and had a right to be so, and Chef Tio had class. Both were creative and could have brought a step up to Iron Chef. Tio, don't give up. Tsai, you already beat an Iron Chef. Hope to see you both soon…

  3. Marisa says:

    I am so disappointed with the elimination of Ming Tsai. You know that FN stooped to a new low when they decided to do yet another NIC rather than focusing on elevating the floundering ICA by making Chef Tsai the next Iron Chef. Chef Tsai has the personality, stage presence, a proven resume, and a diverse fan base that would have gotten viewers to tune in to watch the show. Instead, they create yet another asinine "reality" show to muster up a temporary boost in ratings rather than attempting to maintain the quality of ICA.

  4. Cyndi C. says:

    Did any one hearing Canora yelling for time constantly? I could not handle that in every episode…come on Food Network, really??

  5. jerushajackson says:

    I am looking at the last episode and in my opinion Chef Forgione will be perfect because of his calmness under pressure. When Chef Canora messes up he cracks, it shows on his face and he becomes so opinionated of the othe chefs. On the other hand Chef Forgione has the posture of a great chef and thats the example of an honorable chef

  6. Cyndi C. says:

    YAY!! Canorna the Whiner didn't win

  7. Cyndi C. says:

    I don't know how many more Iron Chefs the network will continue to add in the future. But I think they have more than enough now. However, for future competitions, a new set of judges should be found. I am in total agreement with the assessment of most of those who posted their views on this blog about the current judges. Lastly, I will say, no existing Iron Chef should not be involved until the finale. But I guess I'm asking to much for reality TV, huh?

  8. Tea says:

    Forgerone won, a bit better than that clown, but I feel his title was given by FN. It is so obviously Forgerone is not as good a chef as Ming Tsai. Remember a bunch of time he made terrible dishes, he could not finish on time and so on. So sad.

  9. Henry says:

    Ming Tsai talks about The Next Iron Chef – He has so much charisma and charm. Tsai is already extremely funny. He should have been an Iron Chef from the start. Food Network used him to get tv ratings. The show was fixed from the start. They wanted someone from New York, someone with a European background to replace Batali. Ming Tsai deserves better. I want to see what other chefs such as Alton Brown or Michael Symon has to say.

  10. Deborah says:

    Very pleased with the result. Chef Forgione will be a very good Iron Chef.
    Thank goodness for the other Iron Chefs on the judging panel. This was too important to leave it to Donatella (my palate is extremely precious and sensitive) and Simon (throw all pineapples in the garbage). We needed some real judges and we got them finally. And a good result as well.
    Food Network, I hope you were taking notes. You need some changes in the next competition, if you really care about the process that is.

    • Sherry says:

      I don't know that Forgione would make a good iron chef. He could cook very well or very poorly. I feel the same way as some of the judges like Symon felt. Forgione had not been not very consistent.

      BTW, like I promised in my previous posts, I did NOT watch the NIC. I just decided to check the blog to see who won. I kinda know Forgione would be FN's pick because we all finally realized what FN was doing to Tsai and Canora – they set up this rivalry to make Forgione look more humble and also used Chef Tsai to up their TV rating. Very despicable. So instead of sitting in front of the TV on Sunday night like I usually do, I went out shopping. One of the discount stores here was opened till late and I was able to grab some Christmas presents for my kids.

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