Alton Brown Talks The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, October 30th, 2011

The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs kicks off on Sunday night, and we chatted with host Alton Brown about the fourth season of this all-star culinary competition.

After four years of hosting The Next Iron Chef and 10 on Iron Chef America, Alton has witnessed hundreds of culinary battles, experienced a myriad of secret ingredients and tasted thousands of gourmet plates. We asked him about the difference between a typical Iron Chef battle and that between Super Chefs. He explained, “It’s professional, but there’s the added tension of having a lot to lose. Every one of those chefs doesn’t need to prove anything, but losing still really kind of sucks. There’s a lot of tension there because of that.”

Of the rivalry between the 10 Super-Chefs, Alton assured us that the battles would be aggressive, but never malicious. “You’re never going to see any backstabbing or cattiness; they don’t do that,” he noted. We would expect nothing less from such professionals as Robert Irvine, Alex Guarnaschelli, Anne Burrell and Michael Chiarello, among others, as they are friends and colleagues outside of the competition, as well.

Always one to watch from the sidelines of the battles and observe chefs’ every chop, sauté and presentation, Alton offered what he thinks is the most common mistake made in Kitchen Stadium: “Time management. The back end of the clock running away with them. That’s the number one thing.  The last five minutes disappear like vapor. Poof. They’re gone.” Alton noted that most chefs are able to succeed in plating five dishes within the allotted 60 minutes, though they may not do so “with the level of finesse that they want.”

Though Alton has hosted a range of battles including crawfish, hot dog and seaweed, he says there’s one that has yet to be challenged that he would enjoy experiencing. “I’d love to see a broccoli battle where the judges are all kids. That’s the one that I really want, but I think that it makes the Iron Chefs too afraid. They don’t know if they can deal with that, because kids are honest; they don’t care who you are,” he says. Something tells me that Iron Chef Bobby Flay could make a mean broccoli burger that even children would devour.

Find out whose cuisine will reign supreme on The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs on Sunday, October 30, at 9pm/8c.

Related: Alton Brown Plays a Bigger Role in The Next Iron Chef Than You Might Think

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Comments (218)

  1. ericmars says:

    Wow, pasta in half an hour? I do that 2 nights a week, and I'm no amazing chef. But flour and eggs, I can handle. If any of you can't do this, you need to practice a couple of times. Then you'll be fine.

  2. vsroquemore says:

    Alton Brown seems uncharacteristically unpleasant with the Super Chefs . . . wondering what's up there, personal/professional issues or the product of an overzealous publicist . . .either way, unfortunate.

    • Nathalie Page says:

      I agree, and I think that Alton Brown says more than he should. He is not a judge, so why does he have any input? On the show tonight, he said that Chef Samuelsson's dish was a mess, but he gets another chance to be iron chef. When will he be cooking and get critiqued?

      • JLF says:

        Tonite was just one more example of Alton not being able to keep his comments to himself. If he's not a judge, he needs to remain neutral. Someone else pointed out that the judges don't have to take his comments into consideration in their judgments, and that's true. But there's a matter of respect. If you aren't part of the decision process, stay neutral or stay quiet.

  3. Mike B says:

    Dear Food Network, We have been faithful followers of many of your shows with outstanding chefs and their recipes. We took a chance and watched both the first (Heat & Meat) and second (Baseball & Peanuts) “Next Iron Chef” challenges, and were extremely disappointed by both shows. We don’t plan to watch this series again for the following reasons:There seems to be capricious rule changes. In one episode, Chef Samuelsson didn’t follow the rules, but was allowed to continue, while in another, Chef Chiarello was allowed to continue when his coddled egg was raw (salmonella, anyone ??), and yet other chefs were cut for flimsy reasons (Hummus was too thick??) even when the judges favored the dropped contestant two to one. I think that there should be a blind tasting. I don’t think there can be fair judging when the judges may have a particular like or dislike, however small, of a contestant’s personality, cooking style, or reputation.Sorry, but we watched our last “Next Iron Chef.” Mike Boyajian

  4. Mike B says:

    Dear Food Network,

    Continued from previous message: Furthermore, we have enjoyed and developed a respect for Alton Brown, but we are dismayed that he is associated with this contrived travesty of what could have been an excellent, credible display of culinary talent. Sorry, but we watched our last “Next Iron Chef.”

  5. Former IS watcher says:

    Cher Irvine IS AN IRON CHEF. Symon you don't deserve to stand in his shadow.
    Food Network, shame on you. You suck on this show.

  6. Garden_Spot says:

    I really like most of the chefs competing on the show, BUT am extremely disappointed with the Food Newark for changing the rules and making this years competition all about their own stars and shows.

    All competing chefs either have an existing show on Food Network or have been signed to do a number of different ones. Since Liz Falkner is the only currently without a FN show, my guess is those contracts she has signed will be expanded into an actual show once TNIC is over. With all of the popularity with desserts these days, it's only a matter of time they update her contract into a permanent one.

    The problem is NOT the chefs per se, it is that FoodNetwork has changed the rules and has now turned a once great competition into a tired old Promotion. Shame on you!

  7. Are you serious? says:

    Really? Why is Robert Irvine kicked off? FOOD NETWORK! You must not care about your ratings!

    BOYCOTT NEXT IRON CHEF until your bring Irvine back

    My friends and i havent been watching since he got kicked off.

    Please, theres a line between an IRON CHEF and a RESTAURATEUR. Just because you can own a business, and can manage it. Doesnt mean you can be an iron chef. It just means you know how to market your resturant and you know your numbers and you hire good cooks that is it! That goes for you: Geoffrey Zakarian, Marcus Samuelsson, Michael Chiarello, Elizabeth Falkner, Chuck Hughes.

    Im really pissed that food network would do this. HECK, ill even boycott iron chef all together. This is unacceptable iron chef producers, you know better then this!

    • jeri says:

      Maybe you should stop posting on this blog site, too. Your not going to watch any of the shows so you should have no opinion on them.

      • JLF says:

        Amen. The level of anger against the remaining competitors and the obsession with Irvine is more than a little disturbing. He lost a cooking contest, not his livelihood. Move on or turn it off.

  8. Are you serious? says:

    I AGREE! we should be allowed to vote in the first place!

    I hope your sponsor notices that your ratings on the next iron chef is dropping or hates the show now as much as we do.

    • JLF says:

      So you think you can fairly and adequately vote for the winner of a cooking competition in which you have no opportunity to even taste the food??? What you want is a celebrity chef popularity contest, and that is NOT what this competition is about.

      • jeri says:

        Here, here. If that's what the viewers want a contest should be set for that! Us viewers can't taste the food and have only the judges expertise to go on. I wouldn't want their job. To sit and critique the food of you peers would by dificult, to say the least. Viewers need St sit bak, relax, and enjoy the show!

  9. Amy Foster says:

    I really was angry that Robert Irvine was eliminated. The challenge was followed by most everyone but Geoffrey, which I know would have chopped himself on his own show. The rules are the rules, I have heard Geoffrey say so many times. He should have followed his own advice. He pretended to be "playing by the rules," but he knew he was not. I was so angry at Alton Brown and Symon, whom I love, but they should have not allowed him to continue. Instead they eliminated a chef that would be more Iron Chef worthy. No one wants to watch Geoffrey cook with his smug, much better than anyone attitude that he possesses. I know his food looks wonderful, and everyone raves about it, but really rules are rules. They should have chopped him. Then the chef that beat Robert Irvine in the cook off did not follow the rules either. Honestly, could you have eaten either meal at a ballpark?? Ridicoulous.

  10. mary says:

    i thought Chef Samuelson went home first, who am i mistakin him for! Help me remember show one

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