For the next challenge, the Chairman had tasked the remaining nine chefs with re-imagining three of my favorite street foods: falafel, tacos and the Vietnamese banh mi sandwich. These are all dishes that I have sampled many times and because of that, I have very definite opinions on how they should be prepared.
Chef Mehta’s decision to take falafel in an Asian direction was an inspired and delicious one. I felt that he succeeded not only in capturing the flavors of all the ingredients, but also all the textures of a terrific falafel sandwich. He was my clear winner.
Far less successful were Chef Falkner, whose plate looked like an artist’s impression of where bad pasta goes to die; Chef Estes, whose taco soup was something I have seen quite a few times before and which was overpowered by the flavor of cilantro; and Chef Freitag, whose great flavors were lost in a dish that lacked cohesion.
There was some debate among the judges, but these three fine chefs soon found out that they were all in the Secret Ingredient Showdown and would be preparing a single dish using white bread to stay in the competition. Chef Falkner’s Monte Cristo dish showed her at her very best — creative and laser-focused. Chef Freitag also produced a dish that came to our plates directly from her soul.
Chef Estes did not produce a bad offering, but all the judges felt that it was a good dish that used a bit of bread, rather than a dish where the ingredient was the star, and for that reason it was her turn to hear Alton say the words, “I am sorry, but you won’t be The Next Iron Chef.”
What did you think of the episode? Tell me in the comments below.
Relive the episode and take a look at an extended preview of next week’s episode below (click the play button):