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. guest says:

    I was hoping Falkner with it won, maybe next iron chef. It would it being nice to have another female iron chef to won.

  2. guest says:

    I wish falkner would it won, maybe next time. Good job anyway.

  3. Michelle says:

    She totally should have won!!! She was jipped. I guess its just another good ol boys club! Thanks Food Network for proving that. She out-cooked him hands down and you know it. Chef Symon even said that she's just scraping the surface meaning there was so much more interesting, creativty that she would have been showing us but now all we have is this old obnoxious fart. There was not one criticism from the judges on any of her plates yet there was one for one of Zakarian's so all I can conclude from this is that the judges and Food network want their "top chefs" to remain men and keep the women out. Shame.

    • Bob says:

      Seriously? How do you figure she out-cooked him hands down. They both won two challenges and they were in the bottom two times. Selective memory can lead to the wrong conclusions. Shame!

  4. mary says:

    I agree with every-one that chef Faulkner was set up not to win the next Iron chef the men knew they were going to give that win to chef zakarian the whole time he was on the show that is why he was acting so arrogant he knew he had this in the bag I do not like him at all he is very very arrogrant it was a set up and I don,t like she beat him hands down and I will not be watching Iron chef any more no that is is the winner but I will be watching cat cora I love her she is the best. I agree there should be another female on there with her. chef faulkner we love you and hope that we will see you on tv again real soon food net work you guys need to make this right with chef faulkner you guys got that win wrong. make it write. or you would loose a lot of viewer when chef zakarian and his rating will drop really low.

    • FanFare57 says:

      I'm not sure about your assessment. GZ was arrogant. In all fairness, he is arrogant as a Chopped judge. That's his personality (like it or hate it). Falkner said "it is written in stone" that she would win. She appeared to think she had it in the bag. The show is edited for effect. Who knows what how the chefs really felt.

  5. Cindy Hallai says:

    In my opinion, chef Zakarian was the winner, no question. I felt the judges were taking chef Faulkner's side throughout the competition. She should have been eliminated much earlier.

  6. webo says:

    It would have been a rigged show if Faulkner would have won. I felt GZ was the best all along. Burrell and Chiarello were next. Faulkner put some kind of dough or pastry on practically everything.

    A better finale would have been Burrell and GZ. Faulkner was only there because FN wanted to try a new approach to IC. It didn't work.

  7. california queen says:

    the person who should have won (chef anne burrell) didn't, so i'm glad to see it go to zakarian. his food looked tasty each and every time.

    • FanFare57 says:

      I also wanted Anne to win. When it came down to the final two, it didn't really matter to me. They each were redundant in their offerings. EF perpetually served ice cream (her finale had it twice). GZ served more eggs than Denny's. Had he not lost his own ICA battle so badly (with a score of 38 points), I might had favored him.

  8. Alex says:

    It's so funny that those who claim the competition was rigged also base their opinion on the fact that the winner had to be a woman, in other words it had to be gender based because there aren't "enough" women iron chefs. C'mon now, would that render the entire competition as rigged? I personally rooted for "Falk" & I do agree it was a close call, at the end it all comes down to flavor & watching the show from the couch by all means isn't enough to make an informed decision. Those of you who disagree with the judges decision are obviously watching the wrong show.

  9. DianeT says:

    I rather lost interest when Ann Burrell was eliminated, though I was rooting for Michael Chiarello after she was gone. I've always felt both Zakarian and Guarnaschelli to be extremely arrogant, and I've never been a huge fan of Elizabeth Faulkner, but out of the 3 finalists, I would have preferred to see her win. Count me as one who will not be watching Chef Zakarian's ICA episodes. I've watched every season of Next Iron Chef and this is the first time I've been so totally and completely disappointed in the outcome. Here's hoping next season is better.

    • jeri says:

      I think in the end, the best chef won. Chef Falkner is up and coming now, we haven't heard the last of her. She will go far with the exposure this show has given her. She is no long her "just a pastry chef". You go Chef Falkner!

    • Food4U says:

      I'd rather watch Zakarian's efforts than last year's IC title holder, Forgione. His selection was out of left field. I think he was chosen because Marc Canora was a loose cannon in the kitchen. btw: My fave was also Anne. When she was eliminated, (like you), I rooted for Chiarello as well.

  10. Ken says:

    Too bad, Falk, the better chef won. As a matter of fact you beat out several you should have never beaten. You are just a little too smart mouthed for my wife and I!

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