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. LISN says:

    Has anyone else noticed that as a NIC judge, Zakarian is very meek and redundant in his critiques: "It marries very well. It doesn't marry well. It's a marriage of flavor. It's not a marriage of flavor."? He has more to contribute on Chopped than here. PLUS, he usually stands behind Alex every single time. I'm tired of Donatella's bored expression and Simon's pomposity. They both have sticks up the a–. And Alton is more annoying than a gnat. I'd rather see a completely different group of judges & host for the "REDEMPTION" contest. It would be a clean slate for the cheftestants.

  2. tnmnw says:

    Just a comment about the judges. I can't stand any of them particularly jeffrey zakarian who cheated and won last year. jJust look up his history in the new york times and you will see why he shouldn't even be allowed on the network. The other two are useless. New judges would help this show enormously.

    • FanFare59 says:

      I agree with you completely. In fact, swap out pompous Alton for a new host while you're at it. The show needs NEW overseers. Meanwhile, the actor who is the Chairman no longer participates, except on the wide screen once in a while.

  3. Mary says:

    I can't believe the angst over this. They are friends and they put their dishes on the plate together. Their dishes were separate and they did not try to put one over on the judges. This is a cooking competition for a tv network cooking show. Even our CIA and FBI officials collude more than this. The fact that the chefs and the judges think this is such a breach of ethics speaks more to their opinion of themselves. I have been watching Food Network less and less because of this pompous attitudes of chefs and show hosts.

    • FanFare59 says:

      I completely agree with you! The pomposity of all concerned is unwarranted and really laughable.

    • Laura says:

      I think the defining spirit of Iron Chef, going back to the original Japanese series, is a combination of daredevil fine cuisine stuntmanship with a parody of a deathmatch ordered by a pompous eccentric impresario, the "Chairman" of Kitchen Stadium. To fully appreciate anything IC-related, you must embrace the pomposity! Yeah, it's a joke, but it has as much validity in this show as the awe-inspiring cooking. Roll with it.

  4. shadowhunter70 says:

    My mom and I both think that last sunday both guys should have been kicked off. My mother and I have also talked to about 10 people and they all thought the same

    • Freedom says:

      Last week two friends would not take the bait and savage each other for the drama of a cooking show. Anyone with decency would appreciate that.

      You and your mom did not appreciate that – so the conclusion is that you and your mom have no decency – you should be better than that.

      Lesson: Learn to be decent human beings.

  5. Hagen says:

    They said themselves that they were trying to plate together in hopes of neither getting sent home. At least 1 person goes home every episode. That's how the show works. They should have had the balls to stick to their guns and be judged together. We are due for a double elim episode, they could have surprised us by doing it early :)

  6. Maree says:

    I feel the rules are there to make it fair for everyone and should be followed across the board. The more they deviate the more the show will lose its appeal. The judges need to be consistent in making sure the rules are followed.

  7. Gimcy says:

    My bet is that it is not "written" anywhere that contestants are forbidden to plate together.

  8. Mikkimo says:

    A Few Points I need to chime in on…
    1.) I have been watching Iron Chef since FN has been showing the japanese version with subtitles. Most of those chefs did irreverent things and butchered or caught the secret ingredient. Miss that in a big way!
    2.) I am not a major fan of Spike or Marcel. Cannot stand Mehta he cheats and should be gone already him and his attitude! Chen, Morimoto and the lot would never lower themselves to cheat or sabatoge a competitor.
    3.) Unknot your knickers, the whole lot of you. Yes what they did was irreverent, it was not meant to thumb their nose at you like Tim Love and his Kale. It put a twist on things and if the network execs took a look it is something I could see put into a later challenge…5 minutes left and they are told who they are to pair with on one plate. no advance knowledge no notice…just POP here ya go get on with it. Talk about adapting and determining who goes first who goes second what they must do to make it work!
    4.) would like appleman to go away after mehta, marcel can follow that conga line. Would like to see Chef Faulkner, Guarnaschelli or Freitag finish it up. I think Chef Faulkner should hit it. Intense, Talented and has a sense of humor she just needs to be consistent. However I think Guarnaschelli has an edge from all the competitions she has been in lately as well as Zakarian's sous on Iron Chef itself.

    • Janet says:

      I just wish Guarnashcelli would lose the attitude she has been showing this season!! It is not becoming and she's a much better chef than her attidute is showing.

  9. pdb says:

    What Spike and Marcel did was amusing, entertaining, and inventive. According to the judges, both dishes were delicious and it was very close. They should have kept BOTH of them in the contest and eliminated two contestants in the next episode, as has been done sometimes on Top Chef. Frankly, I like both these chefs more now than in their original Top Chef episodes years ago. Their friendship and loyalty is refreshing and endearing – compared to all the backstabbing and mean comments that are on many reality shows today.

  10. Lisa Shuart says:

    I will cry foul and not be so excited to watch if Guarnechelli wins. I really believe Falkner is the better more deserving chef and is not yelling at the camara men to get out of her way. I love these competitions and can not believe what they can pull off and i also see the way zacarian is behind Guarnechelli. BS. I don't like the way she carry's herself on chopped as well. She just doesn't smile enough. I just don't like the way she is.

    • FanFare59 says:

      Your biggest complaints about alex is that she yells at the camera men and she doesn't smile on chopped? This isn't a beauty contest. Lizzie isn't all that pleasant either AND she hasn't won on the regular Iron Chef when she competed. Since you don't have "taste-o-vision", you don't know how their food tastes, do you? Frankly, I don't see either one of them being the Next Iron Chef. But, maybe they'll improve as the show drags on…

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