I 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):
- From Kitchen Stadium to the Gauntlet: Alton Brown Returns to the World of Iron Chef, and We’ve Got the Scoop
- The Journey to the Gauntlet: Chatting with Challenger Stephanie Izard from Iron Chef Gauntlet
- The Journey to the Gauntlet: Chatting with Challenger Shota Nakajima from Iron Chef Gauntlet
- The Journey to the Gauntlet: Chatting with Challenger Sarah Grueneberg from Iron Chef Gauntlet