Taking the Rules Seriously – Critical Moments

by in Shows, November 26th, 2012

Chefs Vigneron and Mendelsohn with Alton BrownI am not sure that any chef would be pleased to be informed that they had to produce a meal almost entirely from the contents of a can. But if you want to become The Next Iron Chef, those are exactly the sort of obstacles that you have to overcome.

Chef Falkner’s mystery can contained a substance as far removed from USDA prime beef as I am from Brad Pitt. Despite this, she astounded everyone at the judging plinth by producing a dish so fine that it would have been acceptable in some of the best restaurants on the planet. It really was that good.

Chefs Mendelsohn and Vigneron, however, were far less successful. Chef Mendelsohn’s dish lacked balance, while the salt levels in Chef Vigneron’s dish drew the words “inedible” from all three judges and Alton Brown. It made it pretty obvious that these two high school friends would be competing against each other in the Secret Ingredient Showdown.

I felt that their decision to plate and present their lobster dishes on the same plate was slightly silly and a little bit disrespectful to both the competition and the other chefs. I would have been quite happy to grant them their wish of being judged together and send them both packing. In the end, however, all the judges decided that even if these two chefs did not take the rules seriously, we had to.

Going on that basis, Chef Vigneron’s ability to combine seafood and fruit without making me want to retch meant that he got my vote ahead of Chef Mendelsohn’s nourishing and well-made Malaysian Lobster Laksa, if only by a very small margin.

So Chef Mendelsohn was the latest chef to hear the words from Alton, “I am sorry, but you will not be The Next Iron Chef.” Chef Vigneron may never know just how close he was to joining him.

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):

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Comments (141)

  1. mmsands says:

    Aside from the misspelling of the word "retch" there are many fruit and seafood dishes that are absolutely delicious. Mango and grapes come to mind as two of the fruits that work extraordinarily well with fish…

  2. Scott says:

    I wasn't able to catch the episode but did the chef who shared the plate end up going home? If so, it was a critical error on his part. If he was spared, then it was the same result as if the other one had not plated. It shows he is a compassionate human being to share his plate and risk certain safety in the name of honor. i respect the one who shared his plate and in no way see this as disrespectful but quite the opposite.

  3. LdyGodiva says:

    Chef Appleman's comment about how both Chef Mendelson & Chef Vigneron should have been sent home for disrespect pissed me off! Chefs all work together, when one has extra of an ingredient they share… in fact it was Chef Appleman who was upset when Chef Vigneron didn't share some of his truffles two episodes ago. Make up your mind, Iron Chef is supposed to stand alone, or an Iron Chef should help out competition. To me he sounds like a whiney baby. You may say they were being a bit 'childish' during the judging, but…. what they did, is who they are… that's their personalities….& what does Food Networks chefs constantly say over & over & over…. 'Figure out who you are…. find a piont of view & stick with it' they're just being themselves… I'd lose respect for them if they were fake & pretended to be something they're not.

  4. Ellen says:

    I definitely think it was disrespectful! They were doing it in a very unprofessional manner! I think Marcel was not good at taking any of the criticisms the judges were giving him from day 1! I think they acted like little children with an attitude. This is TV, yes, but it is also a very revered competition, so take it seriously. The egos need to come down a notch or two in my opinion.

    • Linda says:

      Have you noticed the egos of Appelman and Mehta? Did you see how both of them treated Marcel already…and got away with it? They already had it in for Marcel and promise to make things harder for him. I think there are plenty of egos that need to come down a notch or two. The two bald guys in particular. Marcel has as much right to be there as they do and I would love it if he makes it farther than either of them, even if he leaves right behind them.

  5. Bonnie says:

    Personally I thought it was a clever way to make their presentation considering their friendship. The dishes were not mixed and were able to be assessed individually. What I didn't care for was the apparent disregard for the rules and the distress it caused the other chefs.

  6. disgrunted says:

    NO I believe they both should have been elminated. They made a mockery of the entire competition.

    Please Alton learn another word beside Ahhh!!!

  7. Larry J says:

    I believe their decision was made in the heat of the moment and don't forget that Spike was just about out of time. In hindsight they must now realize that with that type of stunt neither of them would ever be given the title of Iron Chef. From this point on no matter how great Marcel's food is he's now a marked man and will never make it to the end. He's toast.

    • Nat says:

      For this to carry over into future episodes implies the fix is already in against Vigneron. Is THAT in keeping with the rules? I'll be watching the other competitors and the judges to see if they treat Chef Vigneron unfairly. Need I remind the mavens of fair play on this board that Chef Mehta got away with tampering with the control knobs of a competitor's oven. That, to me, is a more serious offense than two competitors putting their independently cooked offerings on the same plate.

    • goldgoat says:

      Everyone is toast, Alex who is already Zikerians sous chef has it in the bag. Another Food network set up

      • Jules in WA State says:

        Nothing would make me happier than to see Marcel go next. I hated him on BRAVO and any show he has been on since season two of Top Chef. He is a clown and needs to be treated as one. INDEED he can cook, but he is an arse. And yes, I judge people by how they present themselves and their food.

        • Linda says:

          If Marcel is, as you say, an "arse", he certainly isn't the only "arse" on this compeition. I haven't seen him do anything to warrant being treated the way chef Appelman for instance is treating him…saying that Marcel doesn't belong on the competition as if he (Appelman) is better. If you ask me, Appelman is the biggest "arse" on the competition.

        • FanFare59 says:

          Yes, Marcel acts like a 'tween sometimes. I think he seems immature. However, the fact remains – that kid CAN cook well and has an arsenal of methods to create beautiful plates that are unique. IN this venue, he seems very contrite most of the time. He's far from the egotistical bully Nate is.

    • Jeanne says:

      I agree….

  8. Candi says:

    I agree with most of the comments on here, that even if the chef's did plate together, they were still judged independently, so what harm was done? These chef's are younger than the others and this generation is known to try and bend the rules. They did look a bit too friendly I'm not sure if that was intentional for TV's sake. It's good to shake things up sometimes as there is a lot of structure to this show. Why not make the other chef's plate alongside another competitor.. they probably would not be willing to take that risk. It sure didn't seem as any of them would. The chef's made a statement,and took a risk yes there may be only 1 IRON CHEF but.. there is always a sous-chef alongside them. CHANGE THE RULES.. and the judges should ease up a bit. ALL the chef's are extremely talented and that's why the are in that competition to begin with. Respect to all of them. Although, hopefully we have a girl this time. Cat Cora is lonely in kitchen stadium.

    • FanFare59 says:

      I think the judges' reaction was because they are pompous sticklers for imaginary rules that don't fit this free form idea of plating together. Whether it was done as a joke, or hoping that both cooks would be deemed too good to lose or simply for time (Spike had no time to get his plates), the judges' admonishment was in order to keep their sense of superiority to this pretentious contest.

    • Jenn says:

      Is Cat Cora even an Iron Chef anymore? I haven't seen her in the opening credits to ICA in a long, long time. Off the top of my head I think there's Bobby, Symon, Garces, Zakarian and Forgione.

    • FanFare59 says:

      There are RULES and there is CONVENTION. I doubt there is a rule specifically forbidding plating to components from competing cooks written anywhere. The established chefs were upset because they hadn't considered doing it. The judges were upset because they thought it was idiotic. Both emotions don't comprise a NEW RULE where there was none. At least, the boys brought something NEW to the table to evaluate.

    • tammi says:

      they totally dissed the show and all the other chefs by what they did should have gotten rid of both.and when was the last time you saw cat on iron chef think about

  9. Nat says:

    Why wasn't Judge Majumdar such a maven for "the rules" when chef Mehta was caught on camera a few episodes back (in this competition) tampering with a competitor's oven knobs? What the "bottom two" did on Sunday was a little unorthodox, but they didn't cheat. They cooked their separate dishes, but put them on the same plate. Boo hoo! Get over yourself! Given the fact that Vigneron got everybody's knickers in a twist, he is my new favourite for "Next Iron Chef".

    • beachguy says:

      Agree. I'm totally rooting for Chef Vigneron!!

    • Linda says:

      The judges don't get to see the kitchn while the cooking is going on. I thought they did, but found out that isn't the case.
      I do agree that, if the judges had seen that, he should have been disqualified. Not just put in the bottom for that episode, but tossed out. .

      • Linda says:

        I agree…it's funny to me that both Mehta and Appelman have tried to sabotage Marcel then Appelman had the gall to say that both Marcel and Spike should be kicked out because they "don't belong". I would love to see Appelman go next. His ego and arrogant attitude make him unwatchable to me.

  10. Steven says:

    I saw nothing wrong in what they did. As a matter of fact, I would rather see two chefs compete as friends. They proved they were competing by both plating excellent, from your own words, dishes. Disrespect, such as Tim Luck's drinking and making food for himself or Chef Mehta hiding ingredients he never intends to use or tampering with a competitor's temperatures, are truly not Iron Chef worthy.

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