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. michael symon rules says:

    they already set it up for faulkner to win. its not even a competition. with cat cora not competing as an iron chef they've been vying for a female to fill out the all male cast, which isn't a problem unless she is not the best chef; as is the case here. its a scripted show. sorry to burst the 'reality' bubble for you guys. just watch…they'll make it look like faulkner is struggling early on by being in elimination challenges, then 'shining' later in the season, but she is not actually ever close to being cut. she is their golden child this season. THIS IS NOT A COMPETITION! watch if you like, but don't be deluded in thinking the outcome isn't already decided.

    • Linda K says:

      Oh no Santa . . . please don't tell me it's not real. I have been devoted to the show thinking they're really competing. I also love when the Easter Bunny brings me candy and colored eggs. . . . Good call

      • Latest NIC says:

        Alton comented this week before Faulker stepped out to the judges she was for sure not being sent home. I think when the host knows before the judges speak that a chef is not going home, they're a front runner in the competition. Faulkner didn't even have to listen to the judges comentaries.

    • tgb123 says:

      Yeah, I'll agree that the exact level of realism in this (or any other reality show) is dubious, but it might not be as clear cut as you'd think. Like last year, people said the same thing about how a woman was definitely going to win, especially when it was 3 women and 2 men in the top 5, to replace Cat Cora. They were also saying that it was totally rigged for Anne Burrell to win. And then what happened? 100% male Geoffrey Zakarian won.

      (I actually think that either Falkner or Guarnaschelli is gonna win, but that's beside the point)

      • Latest NIC says:

        I agree, Faulkner and Guarnaschelli or Faulkner and Mehta for the final.

      • michael symon rules says:

        its rigged to a point. in the final as with the whole last season, they got to the end and zakarian continually out-cooked her. they couldn't possibly have given her the title as they had planned or it would be glaringly obvious that it is fixed…hence next iron chef 'redemption' its all a marketing ploy for ratings. notice this season doesn't contain any top level chefs like last season. its to aid in faulkner winning. period.

  2. Latest NIC says:

    What a bummer. Chef Greenspan had the best sense of humor! He would have been fun to watch on ICA because his commentary and food would bring a fresh sense of wit and play to the show. But alas I agree Chef Faulkner and Appleman are great choices. Both are consistent and can find humor even under pressure.

    • FanFare59 says:

      Gee, I must be missing something. I find both Falkner and Nate, the Snake to be humorless and charm free.

      • Latest NIC says:

        Faulkner laughs, and smiles. And I've seen Appleman laugh as well. I think the balance between knowing when to be serious and when to let go is solid with this pair.

    • Carlos Zambrano says:

      Humor? that's subjective. But I do say they're fairly hard to watch and listen to when they do their 1-1's to the camera. I feel like its an interrogation as well as oh boo hoo me moments. Mendolson's the best choice – a little an the dumb side . . but what the heck. More personable than the rest.

  3. susan says:

    mehta is soooo creepy-this makes the challenge hard to watch. he should have been eliminated for making two dishes.

    • tristinsgram says:

      I totally agree with the creepy, and the 2 dishes,I also have not seen him make anything I would eat, anytime I have seen him on TV, and I love Indian, etc., food.

    • mise_en_place says:

      I know that it is natural to have an emotional response to people we see on television, but I always worry that some of these chefs may read the comments on the blogs. Maybe we could all remember that they have feelings that can be hurt by our comments. "Creepy" is a really perjorative term. Let's all try to use less judgemental language when we explain why we like one chef over another.

    • Debbie says:

      I agree. He is arrogant (of course , any of them are) but not likable. He was a bit nicer in his original competition, I think

  4. CCee says:

    So tonight I watched several chefs push competitors out of their way and last week chef Mehta was accused of turning down another chef's burner during a challenge. I didn't see that happen, but seriously unprofessional behavior should get any contestant disqualified. The judges need to step up in that department. It's Iron Chef, not UFC Chef.

  5. M Kiely says:

    Why was this allowed to be on the internet?? With this language and the writers obvious misogny I do not understand this "person" and the use of hahaha as a name

  6. Shannon says:

    I am agreeing with a lot of other viewers, I believe that a woman is destined to win this year (to even the scales).

    I would not complain if Faulkner won, she is creative, but not very entertaining.

    I don't want Guarneshelli to win, she may be a great Chef and creative but her personality during competitions turns me off. She constantly tells the camera to get out of her face etc…guess what …this is a recorded show..cameras are required, no cameras in your face equals no show, this is the job you are applying for.I know I will get a lot of negative feedback for this statement, but it is how I feel.

    Amanda Freitag, I hope she wins, creative Chef, with the addition of being entertaining and witty. She would be a great addition to the team.

  7. cookie says:

    Go Alex,! You are a great cook, I have learned tons from you over the years; you are a fierce competitor and I know you have what it takes to be an Iron Chef.

    • Marc DeRosa says:

      Alex is a good? How's that??!!??. . . she doesn't have her own show. Only gives snide comments as a judge. It's a hard sell to pick Alex over someone that has more TV appeal.

      • cherrycooks says:

        Alex had her own show on FN – "Alex's Day Off" – that is now seen in reruns. It ran for a couple of seasons but must not have been a viewer fave.

    • steve says:

      I said it before – this is a vehicle to get Alex to the IC podium where she can finally get some street cred for being a …….. (ends it 'itch')

  8. Linda K says:

    Remember FN is hiring for a TV show – cooking comes 2nd to personality and what they will be able to sell (cookbooks, chef ware, etc) that will make the company money. So, when you look at the potential Iron Chef candidates . . . they're looking for someone will look on camera – able to relate to home cook (a la Bobby Flay). I'm concerned that some of the remaining contestants are less than camera 'friendly' and definitely defective personalities. My guess – it will be Amanda, Mendelson or Vigneron. . . again it's all about the look not about the food- they have workers elves that works on recipes for them

    • MoHub says:

      It's not just the look; it's about being able to answer interview questions while continuing to work, cracking the occasional joke, and trash-talking one's opponent. (See Michael Symon for the template.) I can see Freitag, Mendelsohn, and Guarneschelli doing this. The others—especially Appleman—not so much.

      • MoHub says:

        And Lee Anne Wong would have been terrific at this!

      • A.N. says:

        Yeah, Appleman's personality during Chopped All-Stars was awfully dull. But he's much less of a wet noodle on this show than he was then, so maybe he can adapt as time goes on.

        • MoHub says:

          Appleman is also a hypocrite. He criticized Marcel for monopolizing that huge truffle, but as I recall, he pulled a similar stunt during his first run on Next Iron Chef.

    • FanFare59 says:

      Yes, that's a good point. If FN seeks personable cooks, then they went looking in all the wrong places. Most of the current crop are personality challenged, to say the least. Monotone & vacant stares are not interest grabbing qualities in a tv chef.

  9. FanFare59 says:

    Clearly, Alton's parting words hit a wrong chord. Alton fancies himself as a wordsmith and tries to be clever. But, his parting comments are usually jabs. Greenspan took his defeat very hard. Each one of the offed chefs has been belligerent as they stalked off. It's ungracious and makes them look like poor sports. I thought the deviled egg idea was banal and not very promising. It had to be the best deviled egg in history.

  10. Debbie says:

    I do not like Chef Faulkner because of her personality, and hope she does not win.

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