Chatting With the Latest Next Iron Chef: Redemption Exile

by in Shows, November 25th, 2012

Next Iron Chef Rival ChefsThe fifth season of The Next Iron Chef: Redemption is in full swing with now only seven 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.

This week the judges, fellow rival chefs and host Alton Brown encountered a first on The Next Iron Chef: The bottom two chefs, Chefs Mendelsohn and Vigneron, decided to plate together during the Secret Ingredient Showdown. In an effort to both avoid elimination, the judges found their strategy disrespectful and immature and Chef Mendelsohn was sent home.

Marcel and you chose to plate your lobster dishes together. Was that a last-minute decision made in the heat of battle, or had you established that you’d work together if you ever had to face off against each other?

SM: We figured if we made food that tasted amazing and cooked together rather than against each other then we might be able to pull off the first save on The Next Iron Chef. Marcel and I have grown together in our culinary careers. While we’ve always been competitive, we’re much more supportive of each other.

When you and Marcel entered judgment after Battle Lobster, were you hoping to be judged as a single unit, so that you would either both stay or both be eliminated?

SM: Yes both stay, but not both eliminated. If one of us went, we both wanted the other to represent and do as well as possible. We both knew we had a slim chance of staying together.

How is your friendship now?

SM: Better than ever. We just attended a food festival in Jakarta and then went surfing in Bali. We always hang out and support each other.

Between The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs and The Next Iron Chef: Redemption, which challenge did you consider the hardest and which challenge did you enjoy the most?

SM: I enjoyed the battle pineapple the most because I was confident with my dish and the way I handled the pineapple. My least favorite challenge was this past episode — the canned food. I don’t know any chef who enjoys cooking with canned food. Half the battle of making food taste delicious is using stellar products.

Taking Marcel out of the equation, which chef would you root for going forward in the competition?

SM: Amanda — I love her and love her food.

We know you’re quite the pizza aficionado. Tell us: What’s on your ideal pie? Any must-have topping and cheese combinations?

SM: My ideal pie is a crust that has a full flavor, quite yeasty and chewy, but crispy. I like a simple tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil and a couple red pepper flakes.

Relive the episode and take a look at an extended preview of next week’s episode below (click the play button):

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Comments (146)

  1. kc says:

    This show is fixed. IT IS SO OBVIOUS!! You can see it on the judges faces last night, they were upset Faulkner was sent packing and chef was just as shocked.
    How many times did too much salt get forgiven? appleman didnt have enuff anchovie they couldnt taste it…..Iam done with this show another NON reality show!

  2. Madison says:

    Chef Appleman is intense, but not unethical. He was that way on Chopped when he kept winning to have his Sons Medical Condition recognized and given his winnings. Spike Mendelsohn & Marcel Vigneron were also obnoxious clowns on Top Chef. I am surprised there was not more said about their disregard of the Rules and the respect for the Iron Chef title the week before.
    Chef Mehta appears to be so totally self-absorbed that he would do just about anything to win – he tried last year unsuccessfully and seems even more intense this go round. If he is that good, he does not have to resort to being unfair, scheming, sneaky and conniving.
    The original group of Iron Chefs – Michael Symon, Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto, Cat Cora, Mario Batali all earned our respect for the cooking abilities and their conduct. They have never exhibited the type of devious behavior shown by Jehangir Mehta or the trickery of Marcel Vigneron.
    Chefs Freitag and Guarnaschelli have been working for years to achieve their current levels of achievement and have earned the right to compete for the title of Iron Chef. Alex openly took some of the leftover meat last night. She made no attempt to conceal what she did.
    It is very unfortunate that Chef Elizabeth Falkner was eliminated last night. She is very interesting to watch and I often wish I could taste her creations.
    If you disagree with the judging, don’t watch anymore. I, for one, will watch and hope the food and the abilities and ethics of these Chefs are judged, not their personalities.

  3. M from Ohio says:

    Well I do believe the Judges made a HUGE mistake sending Chef Falkner packing……she has proven over and over how well she does under pressure and Appleman just skids by with his mean face.

  4. Babs says:

    I am truly disappointed with the decision to let Chef Faulker go. It is clearly a biased show where they are pushing for Alex to win. Faulkner came in second last year! Second! This is totally rigged. How in the world can Geoffrey not be biased when Alex is his sous chef? Did you see how the other two judges were truly saddened by her leaving and Zakarian just sat there with a smug face? I am utterly saddened by this I cried.

    • Ironchefmaiden says:

      I agree that Chef Falkner should still be on the show. She had such dignity and class when she was eliminated. What is with Alex and Amanda? These two women lack energy, focus, they are dull and boring. I know people dislike Marcel Vigneron but at least he has a personality and can perform under the extreme pressure. Yes, he appears immature, but he is quite young…give him a chance everyone…he is still learning! Alex and Amanda look like their scared out of their minds! Go home!

    • Taylor says:

      I believe the EXACT same thing! Zakarian is so biased when it comes to Alex its nauseating and I hope that ALEX goes next because of it! Faulkner did not deserve to go home last night and you are right ..the looks on the judges faces told the story. Zakarian as a judge is a conflict of interest…all the other Chefs can go home..they declared ALEX the winner before the show began.

    • Melinda Suttle says:

      I totally agree. I don't even think Zakarian should be allowed to be a judge since Alex is his sous chef. It was obvious that he was going to send Chef Faulkner home. He actually smirked when she was in the bottom two. I have lost all respect for him and even the show. I think he is going to push until Alex is the winner. It has actually turned into a reallity tv show now with him as a judge. Did you notice the other two judges really did not want to let her go?

  5. Joy306 says:

    I don't understand the negative reactions to Chefs Mendelsohn and Vigneron plating together. Some things are more important than winning.

  6. Kenj says:

    The Next Iron Chef is proving to be the equivalent of professional wrestling. They do not even make the effort to change the script from the last series. Falkner makes a perfect dish and selects Appleman to be in the final and is then thrown in against him and is eliminated because of too much saffron? Sound like Burrell and Zakarian last year? I am done with the competition shows. If I want a fraud I will go back to Hulk Hogan.

  7. Carrie says:

    I can hardly wait to see what happens this next episode, as I know it has all been fixed ahead of time. Shame on FN for calling this a competition, when all has been decided in advance.

  8. M. Finkel says:

    Chef Zacharian uses Alex, who is his pal from Chopped relationship,as his sue chefs on Iron Chef..he pulled her along throughout the Redemption competition. Chef Freitag far exceeded Alex throughout the competition…I trusted the integrity of the Judges to fairly hand down the impartial decision. My shock was when Bobby went along on this sham.
    I watched, as I watch so many of Food Network, because it's not only pleasurable but a great escape when the news…and I'm a Political well as a News Junkieis a bit too much..especially Sandy & the assignation of those in the school in Conn.
    I had an open mind..true I didn't taste the food..But the presentation Chef Freitag had up until the end was not even anything but above the Frey. True 'it's not over 'til it's over'….and I'm not going to say I'm thru with your programs…but I am disgusted with a political type of sham.
    Shame on you..& Bobby..that blew my mind.

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