Michael Symon Takes the First Round of Chopped All-Stars

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, April 10th, 2012

michael symon chopped all-stars
Yesterday on FN Dish, we broke down the first episode of Chopped All-Stars for you, including an interview with runner-up Marc Forgione.

Today, we’re chatting with the first-round winner and Iron Chef extraordinaire, Michael Symon.

What was it like  competing against your fellow Iron Chefs?
MS: It’s always flattering and an honor to compete against chefs that work at such a high level. It’s also so much fun.

Which basket did you have the most trouble with?
MS: Dessert. I’m not a huge fan of rum.

The black bean caramel sauce — you had judges and viewers puzzled by this creation. What do the black beans do to the sauce? Is this something you’d recommend people at home try?
MS: I wouldn’t say this has to be done at home. The black beans were in the basket because they’re an unusual ingredient for desserts. As someone who doesn’t like desserts that are too sweet, I knew the beans would cut the sweetness of the caramel and I think the result was a well-balanced dessert.

You’re still undefeated (Burger Bash, too), and even though he lost, Marc Forgione wants you to bring the whole thing home for the Iron Chefs. What’s your strategy going into the grand finale?
MS: My strategy is to continue to cook good food. The plating of my first course wasn’t up to my personal standards, but when I only have a few minutes, I focus on preparing the tastiest food that I can make. I always hope to be judged on taste.

Tune in this Sunday at 9pm/8c when four gourmet globetrotters — Keegan Gerhard, Marcela Valladolid, Jeffrey Saad and Aarti Sequeira — take their place on the Chopping Block.

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Comments (81)

  1. Stephanie says:

    Sorry to correct you, Jeri…I and several others watched the bottle go straight to Simon’s mouth. He reacted, said it to sweet for his taste, commented in the alcohol he prefers, then straight into the pan with it.

    • jeri says:

      You're right. I watched a replay and did see MS drink from the bottle, it was a brief shot but it was there. My apologies.

  2. jeri says:

    I'd like to post correction/apology: iI watched the rerun of the episode and I paid very close attention, I did see MS take a swig.

  3. jeri says:

    Just off the wall since there is no post; restaurant stake out was ok, first episode. Since then same thing. Every bar/restaurant has the same problems. Willie pointed out those problems, and they remain the same throughout the industry. Once you see the problem and the fix, there is no need to go on. Too much redundancy.

    • Bev says:

      Restaurant Stake Out post has nearly 450 comments to date saying a lot of the same things over and over and the shows redundancy seems to be a recurring theme. Sanitation has been an issue for years. Really where is the fix because it seems like the problem crops up all the time? It's certainly why we have the health department. Still I hope for the best. I know you are saying to let sleeping dogs lie… for now anyway!

      • jeri says:

        Thanks! I found the post, just overlooked it first time through.

      • jeri says:

        Not let sleeping dogs lye. Just commenting that the show is redundant. The health department can't fix the staff, only the health concerns. Management has to fix the staff and it's problems. Any restauranteur that has seen this show gets it, and those who haven't and run a good restaurant don't need to. Restaurant managers need to be on top of their staff and be rid of the ones that are not part of the the the good of the restaurant, that's all I'm saying.

        • Bev says:

          I'm saying that the health department wouldn't exist at all if sanitation wasn't a problem. I see how you got that from what I wrote sorry. I absolutely agree that managers must be the ones to try to stop such things. Still this type of unsanitary behavior shows up even among t.v. chefs as you know. I feel it's so important for them to set a good example. Anyway I've said my peice and I sincerely hope by all the postings over this something good will come out of it.

        • Bev says:

          On second thought they would exist, I'm wrong on that. Sorry.

  4. michelle says:

    i was so irritated that none of the judges made mention of the iron chef bottle swigs. Always in other episodes they have criticized regular contestants, but the iron chefs get up there and do it??? The inconsistency is embarrassing for the show ….and tells me that the iron chefs obviously do not watch Chopped or they would have known better than to swig out of the bottle. i cannot believe the show was aired as it was. They really should have criticized the iron chefs or edited the scene out somehow… yes the level of integrity is really lost, as is much of mu respect for the judges and iron chefs.

    • Rosemary says:

      I was also completely shocked to see both of these Iron Chefs take swigs from the bottle and then pour from the same bottle. Chris Santos has always dressed down contestants on Chopped who have done the same thing claiming "standards" in the profession. If the "best" of the profession do the very same thing, then I have to wonder what the "standards" are for any and all restaurants. I eat out often under the assumption that the kitchens and staff are practicing proper hygiene — now I wonder if eating at home is really the best place to be.

  5. cepoux says:

    I found it interesting that both Symon and Forgioine took a swig directly from the coconut rum bottle to taste it during the desert round – the judges didn't say a word about it. In past episodes, when a chef has taken a taste directly from the bottle, the judges commented on how unprofessional it is. I would like the judges to comments on why it's ok for a world renowned chef to do it and not acceptable for less know challenger????

    • tiimy v says:

      Really!! You got 20 minutes to put unknown ingred together at a break neck pace. Get over it! Good thing you can't see all that goes on behind the 'kitchen wall', you prudes would only eat space food. Grow up culinary snobs, what kitchen you last head up. Charlie Brown….Good Grief!

      • FanFare57 says:

        Ever hear of a spoon to taste? I'm sure in their haste, there is a utensil handy to help them taste something rather than infecting it with their germs. They're on camera when they show their lack of care… It's unacceptable from any chef, period.

    • farmfood says:

      I was going to say exactly the same thing. Now we know what goes on in the kitchen.

  6. Marlene says:

    I love the show and have great respect for the chefs, however I would think twice or ten times before eating their food after watching both chefs put the bottle of coconut rum to their mouths and then cooked with it. Yuck! I know alcohol kills bacteria but I still don't want their dead bacteria. Aren't they professionals? Come on guys!

  7. Tom says:

    Just putting in my two cents on the rum thing… Yes, it is a double standard that the judges chastise the normal competitors for putting their lips on the bottle but let the Iron Chefs slide. But really, how bad do you think it would look if they scolded two Iron Chefs (who are sort of their professional superiors in a sense), especially when they are competing for charity? And since they both did it, it really has no effect on the scoring, so there wasn't any real NEED to bring it up. Also, who knows, they might have said something, but it could have gotten removed in editing. I'm not saying it's entirely fair, I'm just being realistic.

    • FanFare57 says:

      That's pretzel logic. How bad would the judges look for scolding two Iron Chefs for that bad habit? Hmmm. They would look like they hold high standards to every chef.

    • ma chef says:

      The tasting was done in anticipation to an item being cooked-the 1 chef that got scolded for doing it on another episode was using it in an uncooked state in a dessert-

  8. JLF says:

    OMG – I am SO glad it's Saturday and only 1 more day before a new episode. Maybe we can find something new to rant about and leave the rum bottle in the trash. I agree that they should not have drunk straight from the bottle, and perhaps there's favoritism by the judges in failing to call them out on it. But my goodness, we now have countless entries of "did you see what they did?" as if no one else has yet mentioned it. Please let's move on.

    • jeri says:

      I totally agree!!! As some have said a reprimand may have been given and left on the cutting room floor. Can't wait for next episode so we can move on.

  9. icarus524 says:

    I think Chef Symon should have been chopped based on past judges judging criteria. In a past episode of Chopped, a Chef was chopped because he took a swig directly from the bottle which was one of the ingedients. The judges made a stink about it. This episode, Chef Symon did the same thing and it was not even mentioned at judging. Is there a double standard, because he is an Iron Chef. I like Chef Symon but what is used as past criteria should apply to the current competition.

  10. jeri says:

    Wow! Tonight's episode was great, no drama!! Everyone was gracious and thankful for the opportunity to compete. The losers were fantastic, and agreed on the reasons fo being chopped. I hope next week is as good.

    • JLF says:

      I was just thinking how beautifully drama free this episode was. 4 very nice competitors who expressed friendship and respect for each other. All tried their best, the eliminations appeared fair and understandable. However, I'm already seeing at least one blogger looking to invent trouble were there really isn't any. Can't we all just get along?

      • jeri says:

        Hopefully nobody will post a response, just keep giving "thumbs down". I was impressed with the friendship they showed toward each other, a mark of true professionalism and respect. Even Keegan, who can appear "stuffy" was a true gentleman. A show well done.

    • FanFare57 says:

      I agree. Jeffrey was a gracious winner. Actually, I felt he should have won NFNS over shrill sounding Melissa. He always described his food in an appealing way.

      • jeri says:

        I like watching his show, the way he describes food makes my mouth water! So yummy. Melissa's show, I think, is somewhat dated. With this economy it's hard to feed 4 for 10 bucks. The least expensive protein is chicken, (only counting meat), which I love, but it's getting expensive. I rarely find it for less than $.75/lb!!

      • Concerned says:

        I agree, Melissa's voice grates on my nerves. I agree with jeri, too, that Melissa's show is outdated. Need to come up with new title. Jeffery's show is yummy to listen to, the wy he describes food is, well, sexy!!

        • FanFare57 says:

          When Jeffrey and Melissa were in the same season, all the judges proclaimed that Jeffrey described his food the best AND he won the most challenges. I had nothing against Melissa, per se. She just has a poor on camera personality AND her concept is as dull as dishwater.

    • jeri says:

      Where are all the bloggers??

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