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. Fixed says:

    Heck even plain old steam lobster taste of win compared to all other ingredents. Whatever it was, they just want to ensure Forgione gets into the finals . Shouldn't he be sent home moons ago ?

  2. Pat says:

    Totally agree – John Besh totally outclassed Symon – I think I even emailed FN to demand the judges' scores – I did not see how they gave the nod to Symon.

  3. Alton Brown says:

    Canora is a whiner, weiner, selfish, cheating, underhanded, mommies boy. That english bald nobody for a judge had no business being there AT ALL!!!! He is a critic. Donnatela, that little porker needs to stop running her mouth and run 20 lb off that huge double flank she's carrying around. She to cant cook so why is she there. Michael Simon is the only one who knows whats up. Anyway I hope Canore wins. Then we can see him disgrace KS and just maybe he will be the secret ingredient. What a show that would be…..LOL.

  4. Hitchcock says:

    IC should be judged by real chefs not the PF'ers they have there. Yes as someone here said like Chopped is judged. The Chairman has lost sight and before he too loses his HONOR, face, and is then disgraced into further reducing the intregrity of his UNCLE's show to that of a binjo ditch should have a kitchen accident arranged for both NIC players on live tv, name Tsia winner and move on.

  5. The JillyBean says:

    Is it just me, or does it feel like all the people on Food Network (that are not chef's) like to be on air to hear themselves talk and pump up their (needlessly) overinflated egos? The more I see of the judges, and their mugging, the more I want to punch them. With exception of Jeffrey Steingarten, who seems to hardly ever be on, the rest seem to be high on their new-found "celebrity." This really seems to be the definition of fame-whore.

    And the more I watch Cooking Channel, which I was hoping would be 100% cooking programming which FN used be, the more it feels like a repeat of MTV2. I'm really confused at Scripps Networks programming on these channels, there's just nothing to bother record or watch anymore, unless you want have a video version of Zagats, with all these shows like DDD, Meat&Potatoes, Best Thing…, etc.

  6. agualimon says:

    The only reason I watched Iron Chef was because chef Tsai was on the show. He should be in the finale but now that he's gone, I'm not watching the show anymore. What a horribly bad move by FN to get rid of him! I couldn't believe it. I don't even know, or care to know, who the other two guys are and I can't stand that Canora…

  7. rootsmusic says:

    Ming Tsai for next Iron Chef Chairman! http://www.foodnetwork.com/the-next-iron-chef-fan

  8. Vegi says:

    To be honest, I think Ming Tsai is a great chef, technically he should win this competition. He lost for his attitude. Though he was not showing his arrogance (some people have that comments), he does have the air of pride (what you can think, a graduate of Yale and Cornell!). So, the judges obviously did not like him and tried to degrade him because of all sort of psychology and egos. As the matter of the fact, he is a much more real celebrity than Donatella and Simon. If Tsai could be not showing his personality and pretend to be humble and try to please the judges (like Canora), he would win.

  9. Apple says:

    I am not going to watch tomorrow's show. Still quite upset.

  10. maskqueraide says:

    Seriously, What the Hell??
    The other guy didn't even cook the pasta right. While Ming had a minor flaw compared to that. Yet they send him home. Also, most of the dishes that Ming cooked throughout the entire competition was much better than the other competitor's dishes >.>

    I'm am greatly disappointed to see Ming go and was looking forward to seeing him in the Finals, and Win !!

    I got my hopes for nothing…

    This is so sad.

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