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. Regi says:

    Dear Food Network Exec's,

    I love to watch your cooking shows and I am an avid fan.
    I have one request though please replace Donatella as a judge for the Iron Chef show's. I feel she is jaded and a restuaranter is not a chef by any means. She is arrogant and complains if the dish is too hot (Spicy) or greasy. A judge should be able to taste a wide variety of food, and if she cannot and complains about a secret ingedient she is no judge.

    Thank You
    Avid Fan

  2. SEO says:

    Both Chefs should have been sent home last night. Neither is up to the task of competing as an Iron Chef.

    As an alternative, the judges should have given them 2 minutes to decide between the two of them which was going to go home. And if they failed to decide send them both home.

    Clearly, they did not grasp the concept of the show.

  3. @shelleyryan says:

    There was a plate and a bowl on that plate. Clearly two separate dishes. I don't see any harm in having Spike and Marcel stand together while the judges tasted their food.

    What's wrong with supporting each other, as long as they both knew that one would win and the other would lose? Call it arrogant, call it disrespectful… I admire the strength of their friendship and their willingness to walk side by side at that crucial point in the competition, so I call it gutsy and loyal!

    • I agree completely — read my blog post. The whole "it's a competition they can't co-operate" thing was RIDICULOUS! I'm sure chefs in the real world call up their mentors all the time. Or their pals. Saying that it "broke the rules" – no, they didn't.

  4. Karen says:

    Hi, everyone, that me again, karen.
    I made a comment about chef Zacarian been a judge and sugar cotting chef Guanachelli .
    I watched the All star competitions for 10k donation to their favorite charitity.
    I have to say that I always admire chef Zacarian and now even more than ever.
    I watched him cooking with his beautiful wife and I have even more respect for him than ever before.
    Beautiful couple …and chef I am a huge fan.
    Great work , love you …
    Take care.
    Karen.

  5. Ghost says:

    Look they never had a chance to begin with. They're up against EXTREMELY competitive and talented chefs. That being said, that doesn't mean there's no room for entertaining chefs such as Spike and Marcel. They are just as talented as the other chefs and people knock them down because they're not serious enough. What's wrong with that? EVERY time Iron Chef Michael Symon competes he laughs and jokes a lot. Nothing wrong in having that attitude. Also, regarding who should have gone home, I'm pretty sure the reason they couldn't decide on the person to leave is because uhm hello….THEY'RE BEST FRIENDS. They were avoiding being put on the spot to have to choose somebody to go and somebody to stay. Of course they both wanted to be there, but they didn't want to leave their friend under the bus. Don't you guys get that? They knew one was going home so thought as a longshot, hey why not do this as a team. I mean really, everyone is so uptight about what they did. It's not like either was gonna win the title anyway. They're both awesome and should not be considered less of chefs JUST because they have a different attitude. In the end, the next Iron Chef should be a woman and probably will be.
    Those are just my 2 cents :P

  6. etiquette says:

    The Iron Chef producers wanted these two best friends to turn against each other for drama – BUT they didn't fall for the trap! God bless these two wonderful chefs and humans!

  7. Fan??? says:

    think the show is rigged? I will make a prediction that Alex wins. Why, well just look at how much she is on the shows now and how much they are promoting her. She was on the live Thanksgiving show, has here own quick tip shows, on and on. total giveaway and totally rigged for her to win. we shall see. If she does win when she makes a grass meal then we should all stop watching the show.

    • crappy~man says:

      yeah she may have won but it doesn't mean it is "rigged" …as in she was supposed to win from the beginning? these shows are filmed well before airing, not week to week. that doesn't make the competition any less fairly judged. perhaps she did win and is now a network featured chef, that would make sense. keen observation but there's no conspiracy. it's a real competition that took place some time ago and we are shown the whole thing in sections. personally I think all the chefs remaining are exceptional and I wouldn't be surprised to see any of them win.

    • etiquette says:

      This has been storyboarded from Day 1 to lead to the coronation of a female Iron Cook.

  8. peggy robins says:

    I think it's rigged. Elizabeth Faulkner will win. I am a Alex fan, regardless of her being knee to hip bone with Geoffrey

  9. @eddievidmar says:

    Zakarian should not be judging with his sous chef competing. Marcel should not even be there. He is not in the league of Alex, Amanda and Liz. Spike was one small step above the guy who makes your pizza at Pizza Hut or Dominos and didn't belong there either. Nate works for Chipotle for gods sake, so he is pretty much a nobody. The India guy is pretty much irrelevant. Nobody ever heard of him until this show started. I miss Anne Burrell because when she is around the show is really snarky because of how much the other women hate her. If I was pressed to predict I would say Alex, Amanda and Liz, make the last 3 then Alex and Liz in the final. Alex wins because she is the network darling. And then, like Zakarian, may never win an Iron Chef challenge. He loses to everybody.

  10. @eddievidmar says:

    When he hoarded an ingredient, he lost me. Nobody needs that whole truffel. If he is so insecure that he can't outcook the better chefs, it is wrong to hoard an ingredient to try and bring them down to his amateurish level. Spoiled brat and I'd like to punch him in the face once to bring him down a notch.

    • Linda says:

      So I guess you didn't see Appelman keeping Marcel from getting into the refrigerator? That was worse than not sharing an ingredient…which BTW was after the fridge blocking incident. Appelman comes across to me as jealous of Marcel. He keeps making snarky comments about how Marcell doesn't belong in the competition. Mehta messed with Marcel's stove knobs. Why is it okay for these guys to try to sabotage Marcel but he isn't allowed to reciprocate? They seemed to gang up on Marcel from the first episode.

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