Critical Moments: What Happens in Vegas…

by in Shows, November 8th, 2010
This week's challenge to transform a Vegas buffet into "something that would not make any sane person recoil in terror" was "close to impossible," according to Simon Majumdar.

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 had asked the remaining five chefs to transform a traditional Las Vegas buffet into something that would not make any sane person recoil in terror. It was a close to impossible task. To my mind this is one of the low points of American cuisine and I felt as much trepidation as I did anticipation as I took my place on the judging plinth.

Despite the fact that he constantly looked on the verge of a fatal aneurysm, it was Chef Canora who came closest to meeting The Chairman’s challenge with a variety of dishes that were both packed with flavor, but also showed off his exemplary technique. He was our clear winner, although his cardiologist may disagree.

If anyone ever doubted just how seriously the judges took their task of selecting The Next Iron Chef, they only needed to be a fly on wall as Iron Chef Symon, Donatella and I discussed which two of the remaining four chefs were to be eliminated. The debate became as heated, down and dirty as I am sure it had been in the kitchen.

Our first choice was the easy one. That Chef Caswell is a chef of extraordinary ability had been made clear during previous rounds, but there were enough low points in his cooking, during this challenge for all of us to decide it was time to holler “bye-bye Ballerina Boy.” He may have left with an unwanted new nickname, but he could also leave with his head held very high.

For the second time in two challenges, Chef Forgione sent out an inedible piece of protein which would never be allowed to leave his restaurant kitchen and that was enough for me to suggest hailing him a taxi from The Strip to the airport. Donatella found it hard to forgive Chef Tio for presenting three plates of pure white and Iron Chef Symon selected Chef Tsai for unusual flaws in his technique.

We would still be arguing now if The Chairman had not generously decided that all three should survive to cook at least once more. Next time, however, there would be no reprieve and only two chefs would make their way to Kitchen Stadium.

Look inside Chef Caswell’s Next Iron Chef journal and flip through our behind-the-scenes gallery from Episode 6.

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

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Comments (260)

  1. bill says:

    With every win Canora becomes an even more whiney and his attitude gets even worse. He really seems like he doesn't play well with others and is really just out for himself . If he wins if he going to stand there and whine when the judges critique his food and he gets a critisism he doesn't like . I can see him easly be the type of guy who everyone thinks is out to get him and be a poor sportsman .

    The guy really doesn't have any humility and is very unprofessional when it comes to interacting with his peers. I wonder how he treats his staff and customers. I know I fdon't want to eat as his resteruant frtom how I've seen him handle himself on TNIC.

  2. foodie says:

    Very disappointed and won't be watching Foodnetwork anymore. Chef Tsai going home? I'm still in Shock!

  3. Paul says:

    I will be looking forward to the day when the food network is completely off the air. What the hell are you people thinking of putting Chef Ming Tsai, a great accomplished man who has been a celebrity chef longer than your network was in existence, into such farce. Geez, the man should have been hired on the spot and likely would have greatly increased your ratings. But of course, it is obvious it is not the viewers you care about, it is always about you guys and your glorious office cliquish party you call food network.

  4. Paul says:

    And another thing…I like Alton most of the time, but he is in no position to criticize Tsai…FOR ANYTHING. No matter how many food encyclopedias he thought he read. Is this guy even a chef. You just lost a fan there Alton.

    Something tells me this network is going to implode very soon as all the real chefs leaving while the wannabes, bean counters, execs, egomaniacs, phonies, sociopaths, and a*s kissers staying behind to sink the ship.

  5. Paul says:

    My last post to vent and here it is….KARMA IS A B*TCH! Enjoy some cosmic justice soon "Food" network!

  6. dee_2011 says:

    Iron chef is fake. The chefs already know who they will pick before hand, as well as the so called secret ingredient. The ingredient is only a secret to the audience. Non AMERICANS NEVER WIN!

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