Chatting With the Runner-Up on Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs

by in Shows, December 20th, 2011

The fourth season of The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs has come to a close and Geoffrey Zakarian has been crowned the prize so many would-be chefs covet: joining the ranks of Iron Chefs Marc Forgione, Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto, Cat Cora, Jose Garces and Michael Symon.

While Geoffrey has won the final battle, we can’t forget his worthy and very talented opponent, Elizabeth Falkner, who fought to the very end. Each week, she’s proven herself more than a pastry chef; in fact, she can do it all. However, we still had to say goodbye to her.

FN Dish: You mentioned in this last challenge that you’ve really stayed away from the pastry side and haven’t called upon it until the finale. Why?

EF: I wanted to show people that I cook everything and actually have been doing so from the beginning of my career. I focused on pastry for the first chunk of years because I love the artistic side to it and the discipline. It helped me become a better savory chef. I love all kinds of food, cooking and learning about it all.

FN Dish: Alton Brown said, “You’ve far exceeded your reputation.” I think a lot of people feel this way. Many saw you as the pastry chef entering this competition. Now, you’re leaving the competition as a chef and a pastry chef. Talk to us about your experience.

EF: I knew that because of the name  of my first business, Citizen Cake, that everyone would think I just make cakes. I make great cakes, but like a ninja warrior, I surprised them with my other skills that I have and have been honing for years.

FN Dish: It seemed like that Beef Wellington really turned heads. How did you decide on that and any plans to add it to your Christmas menu this year?

EF: We decided to do Beef Wellington by cutting out the eye of the standing rib roast cut and using the bones for sauce. I make a blitz puff pastry, which means fast puff pastry dough. I can handle doughs, so it seemed like a great and festive main course. This is something I have made and would serve at a holiday dinner. It came out perfectly.

FN Dish: Out of the three surprise challenges (cranberries, ice cream machine and cocktail), which one threw you for a loop the most?

EF: None of them. I love challenges — that’s why I decided to do this show. It was fitting for the last episode because so many people at home are faced with family and cooking challenges during the holidays.

FN Dish: In your exit interview, you said that you have learned a lot about yourself and have made amazing friends. What have you learned and what chef will you miss the most?

EF: I have learned that I still really want to be the next Iron Chef. I have learned how to be a culinary athlete by training for it on many levels: physically, mentally, culinarily. I also learned how competitive I really am and how to never give up, though I guess I have been that way all my life. I believe all of us “Super Chefs” became closer even though competition can put distance between people. I miss the production people and the crew, too.

FN Dish: What was your favorite challenge throughout the whole competition? Least favorite?

EF: I am not kidding when I say that I loved every competition, but the first one was crazy because of the team situation and getting into “the game” without distraction.

FN Dish: What’s next for you?

EF: I have to find the way to the next big championship game.






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Comments (95)

  1. Tabemono says:

    Chef Falkner: my household is totally disappointed you were not chosen as the next Iron Chef, especially considering you are the Triple Threat, as described by your esteemed colleagues. Of course, just from viewing and not tasting — I found Zakarian's dishes to be unimaginative, restrained. Though beautiful in some cases and technically sound, they were nowhere nearly as inspired as how you conceptualized and executed your dishes.

    Perhaps Zakarian is the chef's chef, but from a viewer's standpoint, I am wholly uninterested. It is likely I will bypass most of the episodes of the show unless it's Symon or Morimoto.

    • Diane says:

      Perhaps Zakarian is the chef's chef, but from a viewer's standpoint, I am wholly uninterested. It is likely I will bypass most of the episodes of the show unless it's Symon or Morimoto
      I too, am soooooo disappointed that Chef Falkner didn't win. She would have been so much better and exciting to watch. She has a lot of tricks up her sleeve. I have been to Citizen CAke and believe me she does the most fabulous desserts, cakes, and savory foods. What an imagination. I have never been to Orson but I am sure it is wonderful as well.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It wasn't a beauty or personality contest. Period

  3. Karen119 says:

    I was extremely disappointed that Chef Falkner wasn't chosen as the NIC. Chef Zakarian is cold, arrogant, abrasive, condescending, and not pleasant as a judge on Chopped. I for one will NOT be watching his segments on ICA. I was also not please at all in judges Judy Joo and Simon Majumdar. They were so prejudiced and were also extremely condescending. Ms Joo, in particular, reminded me of a black widow spider with her sickenly sweet smile and then, wham!, down on the contestants.

  4. LyndaS says:

    Your comment reeks of vitriol (especially the last line). You don't even mention her food.

  5. scotswoman says:

    After watching the competition I have to say I'm disappointed in Chef Zakarian's win. I found him abrasive and condesending to the other competitors. Granted this is not a personality contest, but you do have to like the Iron Chefs to watch the show. While I'll continue to watch Iron Chefs Symon, Morimoto and Cora I won't be watching any other competitors. Sorry Food Network, but you missed the mark on this one.

    • Starburstford says:

      I agree with you 100% :) This is not the 1st time they have missed the mark.I quit watching the show :(
      I still watch some of Bobby's shows and love Michael on the Chew. Maybe there should be more shows like the Chew on prime-time TV with other great chefs like Elizabeth Falkner, Chuck, Anne, and others.

  6. stacey458 says:

    SO SAD that Chef Falkner didn't win!! What a breath of fresh air she was in what is fast becoming stuffy old Kitchen Stadium. Chef Zakarian is definitely not someone i would ever 'root for. I already know that I'll be changing the channel should he be selected as the IC of the week. The choice of Chef Z is sooo Run of the Mill, BORING, Same Old Same Old, Uninspiring, YAAAAWN Inducing. The Judges had a golden opportunity to inject some incredible creativity, The Unexpected & excitement & BLEW IT BIG TIME. Bad Call Judges!! You chose Ho Hum & Nothing New over Excitement & Creativity. Way to go – NOT!

  7. art says:

    Zakarian has no personality …. the winner hands down is Anne Burrell … she is a fabulous chef and has the tv peresona to go along with it ……

  8. IreneV says:

    My husband, son and I were very disappointed Chef Faulkner didn't win. We felt she was cheated. Chef Zakarian is an arrogant and obnoxious man who should have been eliminated episodes ago.

    • jeri says:

      I don't believe EF was cheated. ICGZ had better food, end of story. EF is a brilliant chef and she will go far.

    • Kajunn07 says:

      I agree -he should have been gone after the baseball stadium cook off. But when they all kept him, we knew then he was set to win. Also really getting tired of Alton, why does he even get a say ? He is know where near Iron chef Talent. The more he talks the less we are liking him.

  9. Seymour says:

    You set Ann up she should be the iron chef and you know it!!!!

  10. WestCoastFan says:

    Just realized something. Chef Falkner provided the only "foodgasm". How's that for a FN show title. Foodgasm! :-D

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