Next Iron Chef Exit Interview: Chef Chauhan’s Parting Words

by in Shows, View All Posts, November 1st, 2010
Chef Chauhan's one regret about her final dish: Adding pineapple. "It was the jinx fruit for each and every eliminated contestant so far!"

What did you take away from the experience of competing on The Next Iron Chef?
I walked away feeling that there was little that I couldn’t face and conquer. Some of the situations that we were put in were challenging to say the least, and being able to overcome these obstacles gave me the strength and resilience to believe in facing anything that comes in front of me with grace and pride. Even though those three weeks were stressful, and an emotional roller coaster if I’ve ever been on one, it made me a much stronger person and I wouldn’t trade a minute of it for anything. I walked away from this competition feeling richer in experience, in friends and in life.

How did you feel about the dishes that sent you home when you presented them?
I felt that I put most of my energy into trying to shake the preconceived perception that people had of me being an Indian Chef … I am Indian and a chef with Indian heritage. I am proud of knowing a very complex cuisine that people are afraid of (cooking and eating). I use it to my advantage and I refuse to be sorry about that, I am proud of it, but my repertoire of cooking doesn’t start or end there. It was ironic that I was being called “the one trick pony” for my cooking even though I was making grilled cheese doughnut sandwiches and frittatas, and on the other hand when I presented a dish that was as traditional “American” as could be, I was eliminated. I was happy and proud of what I did and from the judges’ reactions, I thought that they liked it too.

If you could have a do-over, what would you change about that fateful dish?
Take the fateful pineapple out! It was the jinx fruit for each and every eliminated contestant so far!

What advice would you give future NIC contestants?
Be yourself. You have reached this competition because of who you are and what you have achieved and this is a game of endurance. It’s relentless and to reach the top you need to have your A+ game every day. There is no option for a “good chef having a bad day.”  It results in one not surviving to cook for another day. But at the end of the day, walk away feeling proud of what you have achieved. This in no way reflects what you do in your kitchen, your restaurant in real life. Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained!

Look inside Chef Chauhan’s Next Iron Chef journal and flip through our behind-the-scenes gallery from Episode 5.

More About Maneet Chauhan:
Vermilion Restaurant
Maneet on Facebook

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Comments (23)

  1. Michael says:

    How about a spoiler alert next time?!

    Checking my Google Reader kinda just gave away last night's episode =(

  2. Thank you Chef Chauhan! We truly loved watching you cook, and enjoyed your warmth, endearing personality, and your love and passion for great foods.

    We are very much hoping to see you on a regular show on Food Network very soon! Hopefully, where we can see you every week, rather than every few months. Perhaps Chef Mehta could join you!

    Thank you and best wishes! We love you!!

    (Michael, try watching the show in real time like the rest of us!)

  3. Michael says:

    I wish Chef Chauhan could have stayed in the battle longer. She was one of three people that I really liked because of their personality. I'd like to judge the chefs on personality as well as cooking because even if you can cook good, if you are not of good example then you should not be an iron chef. But I felt that Chef Chauhan was quite nice and sweet to everyone. Loved her attitude and kind personality. Hope to see her again sometime.

    But I wonder what is with the pineapple that the judges hate (I don't quite get that yet… xD)?

  4. Guest says:

    I'm sorry to see you go, but it's rough for any woman to go all the way to the top on most FN shows. Your Indian background was very useful and a delight to see utilized; I'm sure you could give Aarti a run for her money. Can't blame you for wanting to be an Iron Chef though rather than a FN "Star".

    • bobby_fillet says:

      Do you ever watch Food Network? That last two Next Food Network Star shows were won by women and they were awful. And most of the FN shows have women stars. You must be watching a different channel.

  5. donna thomas says:

    Chef Chauhan was a joy. Gorgeous to look at, (what a smile!), and listen to. She should be recruited to Food Network if for nothing else her beautiful way of speaking.

  6. Rayne says:

    Chef Chauhan had a captivating blend of calm strength, a passion for food, & a with an endearing gentleness. As an avid, borderline Foodnetwork junkie, I would love to see you compliment another FN show. Best wishes to you.

  7. bobby_fillet says:

    I posted a week ago that she would be next to go. FN already has Artyy Party so Shauhan was the next to go. It's all about marketing. I'd rather have a show with Shauhan that with the annoying, giggling Artyyy Party who can't cook an original dish. I agree with the other posters that Shauhan should have a show and replace Artyyyyy Party.

  8. Guest says:

    Chauhan is cute and comes across as authentic and not embarrassed about her cuisine and roots.
    Maybe she is not iron chef caliber but definitely she can cook some interesting recipes.

    We prefer her to Miss Hoity Toity Aahti Poitty any day.

    Pls give us a cooking show featuring Chauhan and get rid of Aarti's parti.

  9. Stacy says:

    We suffered terrible loss in St.Lucia we had been hit by Hurricane Tomas. A lot of people lost their lives and homes. Thank God my family are all alright. I did not get a chance to watch the show(no power) But watching chef Chauhan was a real joy and she brought so much to the show. And as a food network Junkie I would really like to see her again on food network.

  10. Robert says:

    I still don't get how she was bounced and the guy with the mohawk stayed–I really think the food channel should think about putting some "lay people" on these panels to balance the so called experts.

    Then again, I might be fist fighting with some of those jabronis!

    Sorry Chef–better luck next time.

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