Chatting With the Latest Next Iron Chef: Redemption Exile

by in Shows, November 18th, 2012

Chef Falkner and Chef GreenspanThe fifth season of The Next Iron Chef: Redemption is in full swing with now only eight familiar chefs battling it out again to prove they’ve got the skills to win the ultimate prize: the title of Iron Chef.

Each chef will try to pull out all their tricks to stay in the competition but, ultimately, one chef must go home each week. Every Sunday, FN Dish brings you exclusive exit interviews with the latest chef to go home.

He may be one of Simon Majumdar’s favorite chefs, but this week Eric Greenspan couldn’t “out-conceptualize” the other chefs after an under-deviled egg sent him to the Secret Ingredient Showdown.

Your grilled cheese and critter fritters were one of the top three dishes in the premiere episode. In your expert opinion, what’s the best cheese combo in a grilled cheese?

EG: There is no better cheese and bread combo than the Taleggio and raisin bread combo in my restaurant, The Foundry on Melrose. There are, however, some upcoming contenders for best combo coming up at Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese.

In this last episode, Simon Majumdar said you were one of his favorite chefs in this competition. How did that make you feel? Do you have a favorite judge?

EG: It’s always great hearing that you’re appreciated. I’ve been a fan of Simon’s work for many years and truly respect his opinion, even if I don’t always agree. I have tons of respect for all the judges on the show — I don’t envy what they have to do. Cooking is so subjective that it’s got to be difficult to remain qualitative with one’s comments.

Alton said you were out-cooked in the Secret Ingredient Showdown and it seemed to rub you the wrong way. You considered yourself out-conceptualized instead. What did Chefs Vigneron, Falkner and Mehta think of that you didn’t?

EG: It’s not that I missed something versus the other chefs. My point was it was merely subjective. The decision was based on taste and, frankly, I thought my dish was well-balanced and the flavors spoke to what I find delicious based on past experience and my own palette. I know I wasn’t out-cooked, however. I was faster than any of the other competitors and my food was executed perfectly. Most importantly, I put on the plate exactly what I meant to. If they didn’t like the direction I took, so be it. Maybe they like a standard meringue or a soggy crab cake — it’s their call. But to say I got out-cooked was a stretch.

You certainly seemed to bring comedic relief during some intense moments. Were you the comedian of the bunch?

EG: I think I’m the comedic relief wherever I go! I imagine some would say I was the comedian, while others were probably just annoyed. It depends on how seriously you take yourself. It’s cooking, you know?

You initially told Food Network that your Achilles’ heel ingredient was grasshoppers. Now that you’ve conquered that successfully, what’s your new Achilles’ heel ingredient?

EG: I guess it’s safe to say breakfast cereals are my new Achilles’ heel.

Your signature party or potluck dish to make at home for friends is pancake lasagna. Can you tell us more about it and do you have a recipe you can share with our readers? It sounds delicious!

EG: The pancake lasagna is my breakfast triumph. It’s actually going to be featured on The Best Thing I Ever Made later this winter, so tune in to that for more, including the recipe.

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Comments (86)

  1. Molly says:

    Chef Mehta made two dishes. Alton was very clear both cereals-one dish. Do the rules not apply to him?

    • EAlop says:

      I agree, but I still think Donatella and Zakarian are bias to chef Alex

    • LISN says:

      thanks for that observation. I hadn't realized it. So, therefore, Mehta cheated and got rewarded. Obviously, he has a friend on the board of judges…

      • steve says:

        Aren't they all friends after the aprons come off – this redemption thing is sooooo set up that it makes the crooked politics of the State of Illinois look like child's play

    • MoHub says:

      Flouting the rules never got in Zakarian's way, and he managed to get himself an Iron Chef jacket. Why should Mehta be treated any differently?

  2. Kim says:

    That is an excellent point. Chef Mehta should have been the one booted for that reason alone.

  3. Texzilla says:

    I have many issues with this show, and after tonight will probably quit watching it. It is obvious there are FN favorites to win this thing. Starting with the judges. I can't figure out who at FN thinks Majumbar is qualified to judge American chefs in an American competition; he is a bully and his man love for Chef Mehta is obvious. The network needs to realize neither of these individuals are talented television personalities, and Mehta is a scumbag who will drive viewers from the show if he wins. He cooked two dishes; where was legalist Alton Brown to point it out? Zakarian is just milquetoast except when it comes to judging except when it comes to his personal friend, protege, and IC sous chef Alex. WTF is that? Arpaia ran off the talented Tim Love because she got p.o.'d at him. Done.

    • Joy says:

      As much as I like Tim Love, he was never considered for the Iron Chef role! He was just one of the fillers to go out early!

    • LISN says:

      I think Mehta should have been offed over Greenspan. Mehta made a crab cake (big woo) and it was greasy. That's a bigger offense than Greenspan's dish. I noticed that Simon MumboJumbo shows his biases every time. Why is HE consistently judging American contests? IDK either. Tim Love never stood a chance to win and shouldn't have been included in the cast. He, Marcel and Spike are destined to fail.

    • Marsha says:

      I like Mehta and I think he makes a lot of interesting and Iron Chef worthy dishes. jmo

  4. Kathy B says:

    I truly dislike Chef Mehta. I'm just not into cut-throat. He reminds me all too much of the guy I had to go up against in moot court in law school 30 years ago (I won, BTW).

    • allegrachandler says:

      Agreed! He is an underhanded, cheating, sarcastic b$stard and should have gone home tonight. This competition lost something with Greenspan going home. He'd have made a great IC.

    • jlsbcn says:

      I am inclined to agree. He seems too full of himself to be an Iron Chef. You must have done a good job in moot court, that can be pretty tough. Congratulations!

    • MoHub says:

      But, you know, I'm thinking that alone might make Mehta a good Iron Chef. He could be the resident villain on the team whom viewers want to see beaten by every challenger. It could make for some very good television in a "chef you love to hate" way.

  5. rik says:

    who went home tonite on 11/18/2012 ?

  6. Kathy says:

    I hope Chef Alex wins I like her in chop

  7. Mark Small says:

    I think the end two Chefs will be Faulkner and Appleman. And THAT my friends will be a superbowl of a cook off. Chef Greenspan, I miss you already man. I keep waiting for Chef Mehta to put his finger to the coner of his mouth and ask for "One MILLION dollars", and honestly, as long as "Mini Me" Majumbar is judging, he will be tough to eliminate.

    • Karen says:

      LOL! I was thinking that Chef Mehta looks (and speaks) like the villain in a Disney movie.

    • FanFare59 says:

      Thank you for that comparison. That's exactly who Mehta reminds me of. I couldn't place it until you mentioned it. As for your two faves – for me – not so much. Falkner's whining grates on my last nerve. And Nate looks like a lizard with a personality to match.

  8. Daniel says:

    Alex is not Iron Chef material she starts to freak out under to much pressure Falkner is Iron Chef she should have one last year Zakarian is older and he can retire as an Iron Chef thats why he won.

  9. Daniel says:

    I just watch todays show and for some reason the chopped judges are awesome I wonder if it has to do anything with their buddy Zakarian also chopped judge. Falkner is the only Iron Chef there to bad they dont like her so she wont make it so sad she deserves it she is brilliant to watch. Now I just cant watch it Robert and Ann shouldve came back this would be better to watch.

  10. suzy says:

    wow…I wish I could find the blog easy enough, but someone commented a few days ago that they concluded Greenspan would go this week based on the editing promos. I also try to interpret the editing although I was shocked by Mehta surviving because he was so cocksure about his food and that he would not be sent home. In food network shows, especially Chopped, that is a telegraph sign that that chef is going home!

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