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. pardesi says:

    I have to tell one thing…
    The Next Iron Chef will be someone italian. The Iron Chef is nothing but bunch of italians who eat italian and prepare italian (poor old Japanese guys is in minority).
    The judges also always rate Italian cusines higher. The two jerks madam Donatella and Mr Michael cant eat spicy food and the only thing they like is cheese garlic food with no flavor at all. You dont have to eat to say how bland a food will taste by its ingredients.
    By the way… it will be real fun to have people voting.. just pick 5 people from an upscale restaurant… and ask them to judge and write down how much they will pay for it.

    Again, F#@$ing italians are ruining this show.. and the next Iron Chef will be an Italian AGAIN … so much for a competition.

    • Dee says:

      Food Network loves to promote the SIMPLE Italian dishes. Wow! Stuffed eggplant. That's a stretch for an Iron Chef!! I can watch more complex cooking over on PBS.

    • Dine says:

      I dont think that woman judge is really an expert in judging the Iron Chef Competition..,There are alot of people out there who are more than worthy to be a judge than her..She should be replaced..She cant stand spicy food, her taste buds are more inclined to italian style cooking, .and she cant even distinguish between a garnish and food…Shes making a fool of herself instead..

  2. dgideon says:

    Pardesi,

    Kat Cora is Greek, and melds her US Southern roots with Greek influences. Flay is Irish who is known for his southwest cooking style. Garces is latino. Symon? I’m not sure, but Symon doesn’t sound like any Italian name I have ever heard. Batalli – yes Italian. If you consider one out of six being a majority, I would like to borrow some money from you. I will pay the majority of it back.

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