Battle Peanut — Road to Redemption Web Series Recap

by in Shows, October 14th, 2012

road to redemption battle peanuts

This season of The Next Iron Chef is all about redemption.

Nine of the coveted places in the competition had been filled. The Chairman, however, had decided to leave one spot open, to be filled by the winner of a series of sudden-death cook-offs. It was a deliciously fiendish idea.

I was pleased when I received a call asking me to help judge this Web series. I was even more pleased when I heard that my co-judges would be Iron Chef Jose Garces and Alton Brown. I was also genuinely thrilled that the first two challengers were the immensely talented Madison Cowan and Lee Anne Wong, who had impressed the Chairman with victories in Kitchen Stadium previously.

When Alton announced that the mystery ingredient was peanuts, both chefs went straight to their happy places: in Chef Wong’s case, to her skills with Asian cuisine and in Chef Cowan’s case, exuberant Caribbean cookery.

lee anne wongAlthough both cooked their fish perfectly, I did not think that either produced a great dish. Chef Wong’s braised peanuts were delicious, but did not work well with the fish, and while Chef Cowan’s peanut punch was certainly enjoyable, it did not quite make up for the sludgy quality of the soup beneath his fried fish.

In the end, it was the least-poor dish that would win and with that qualified endorsement, Chef Wong unanimously moved on to the final cook-off knowing that she would have to up her game if she wanted to be added to the roster of nine chefs already chosen for Next Iron Chef.

Relive the battle, watch the video below:

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Comments (23)

  1. Chuck says:

    Video was a perfect length. I'm really suprised that neither of those excellent chefs produced an outstanding dish.

    • Anita Richardson says:

      Chef Cowan was by far the winner in my opinion. His plating was delightful. The meal was original and the variations were present. He has been a talented competitor on Food Network and I knew I would see him again. They made a mistake in not choosing Cowan. He would have definitely made for good, steep, competition. I hope to see him prevail once again. 23

  2. Anne says:

    What impressed me the most was how classy both Chef Cowan and Chef Wong were in their complimenting each other. Sometimes we don't see as much of that during the regular competition.

  3. Donna says:

    How awesome would a chopped competition among the iron chefs be?

  4. Linda says:

    Chef Cowan was the winner in my opinion. I watched him on (2) Chopped shows and on Iron Chef,
    He won all the shows with grace. He should have won this one, you made a mistake

  5. Honey Bakes says:

    I give Madison kudos for making an entree and a drink. The drink looked delicious and the fish pretty tasty. Thought for sure he would go ahead with the extra effort. But, its tv and the viewers can't taste the dishes so it's up the judges. I think Lee Anne will do great.

  6. Kitty Watson says:

    I like Jeffrey Steingarten, how did he get so lucky to be a judge on Iron Chef America? How do they pick their judges. Imagine getting to taste all that good food!

  7. Dr. Joan says:

    I am for Chef Cowan. His dishes are elegant. Signed, Houston, TX

  8. jsbcn says:

    Can't wait or the new series to start. Watching the online contest, sorry Chef Cowan was eliminated. Hope this next series lacks the controversy of previous shows, but that is wishful thinking. The drama will continue….just like the Days if Our Lives!!!!

    • Days of Our Loaves says:

      I don't know about the drama, I saw the preview for the series. With food tossing, dishes spilling, eyes rolling, it looks like it's going to be Days kitchen style. Where's Stefeno, we need him as a judge!

  9. TheRealAlton says:

    Dump judge Donatella R. Piehole. She cant cook, has no pallet, and just wines about the food doest care what it takes to do the job.

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