Chatting With The Next Iron Chef: Redemption Winner

by in Shows, December 23rd, 2012

The fifth season of The Next Iron Chef: Redemption was full of ups and downs, but one thing is for sure: All eight chefs redeemed themselves in one way or another.

Sunday night’s final episode brought three of the most talented chefs together for two final battles. The first battle would eliminate one chef (read the exclusive interview from that chef); the two remaining chefs were then sent to Kitchen Stadium for the ultimate battle that celebrated three long-standing Iron Chefs and would determine The Next Iron Chef. And the winner is …

Iron Chef Alex GuarnaschelliSince Season 4 on The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs, Chef Alex Guarnaschelli has had a yearning for the title that slipped away from her just one episode prior to the finale last year. But on Sunday night’s final episode she captured it with a much-loved Pasilla Chile Cherry Tart, and now she can truly say that she has redeemed herself.

Iron Chef Alex GuarnaschelliWe watched Chef Guarnaschelli win in the first episode — which challenged the chefs to be resourceful — with a lobster dish that had all the judges wanting more. That win catapulted her confidence and drive to win throughout the season — she would go on to make it through six episodes without meeting the stresses of the Secret Ingredient Showdown. Three episodes before the finale, she found herself experiencing the wrath of the Showdown for a failed Vegas buffet. But she showed the finesse of her cookery and attention to detail, while going head-to-head with Marcel Vigneron, to take the win and secure the final spot in the finale. Chef Guarnaschelli now joins the prestigious ranks of Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto, Jose Garces, Michael Symon, Marc Forgione and Geoffrey Zakarian.

On the first page of your Redemption Journal, you quoted Mickey Mantle, “It’s amazing how little we know about a game we’ve been playing our whole lives.” What did this contest and the fact that you’ve competed in it twice teach you about cooking and your approach to food?

AG: I feel as if a competition teaches you that no matter how long you’ve been doing something or how much you practice, you still have so much more to learn. Some of the lessons are very painful. You make the same mistake you’ve made before; you avoid a mistake from the past and discover a new one. Cooking is a constant lesson in humility. It’s also, to me, one of the most exciting professions. I love when a dish comes together. Competing twice means you’ve felt all the feelings before and put yourself through this “meat grinder” already, only you feel more driven. You are aware you have a 10 percent chance of winning, but the fire to become an Iron Chef still burns brightly.

leg of lambYou wore a claw necklace in more than one episode of the competition. Does it hold special significance to you or do you consider it lucky?

AG: I bought this turquoise necklace years ago at a green market, of all places. I bought it off the jewelry-maker’s neck and as soon as I put it on, the weight of the stone on my chest served as a great source of comfort.

The first challenge in the final episode was Passion and you had to create the judges’ last meal. What would your last supper be and why?

AG: My last supper would be a giant scoop of caviar followed by a grilled cheese sandwich. I like a meal of extremes.

On the last page of your Redemption Journal, you wrote, “How will they fit my whole last name on a chef’s jacket?” Have you seen your Iron Chef jacket yet? Does “Guarnaschelli” fit?

AG: I could never fit my name in those boxes for tests at school and it takes up two lines on my credit card. I’m expecting an abbreviation on my chef’s jacket. Honestly, if this was my biggest problem, I’d say I have no complaints!

What’s next for you as an Iron Chef?

AG: I honestly think this milestone entails two things: First, I must hunker down and continue to learn and “grow” my cooking style. To me, being an Iron Chef means you should be in a constant state of evolution and experimentation. Second, I feel a responsibility to help others. I love Share Our Strength and am very passionate about Alex’s Lemonade Stand. To me, Alex’s Lemonade is the ultimate story of how children can inspire parents to be better people than they ever imagined.

Stay tuned for the recipe for my winning Pasilla Chile Cherry Tart!

Relive Chef Guarnaschelli’s winning moment (click the play button):

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Comments (668)

  1. TKK says:

    What a sham. It was obvious from the very beginning that the Food Network wanted to have chef (and I use term rather generously) Guarnaschelli as the next Iron chef. She was so determined with the netwrok to be Iron chef that she served as Zakarian's sous chef on the show and guess who they made one of this year's judges. As I said before this was a complete sham of a competion. Throughout the show chef Guarnaschelli was blasted for cooking items that were not very creative and at times did not fit the theme of the competion. That was when I knew the fix was on. Thank you Food Network, I will never watch the Iron Chef show again or any of your "competitions."

  2. Angie says:

    I completely agree. She is not worthy. I have always believed she has a "special" relationship with Jeffery. No matter how bad others say she cooked, he always defends her …..after all, she has Been his sous chef in The Food Network on the past. Sounds suspicious to me. Her use of shaving chocolate over a salad is not Iron Chef worthy…but Jeffery thinks she created a New dish. Also, cooking 101 teaches you how to cook scallops. Disappointed now that the caliber of Iron Chefs have been lowered. She is no where near to caliber of the other iron chefs. Maybe she end up like Jose Garces…..quietly disappeared.

    • Tim Dunlap says:

      I SOOOO agree!!!!! I am SOOOOOOOOOO disappointed!!!! So many worthy of it….not Alex!!! She has such a snotty attitude, I won't be able to watch the show anymore. Especially when she's challenged!!!!!! BOO!

      Tim from Nebraska

      • Suzanne says:

        Alex is unwatchable. Seeing someone so undeserved acting like they are competent is worse than being at work watching someone incompetent kissing the bosses butt. Shame on FN!

    • beenish says:

      I agree Angie, you just stole all my thoughts and put them in much better words :)

    • Jeannie says:

      I totally agree with you! Does this network think we are stupid???

      • Amandafan says:

        FN is ungrateful to its audience. And Yes, they think we are stupid, BUT NO we are not stupid if we turn the Food Network OFF.

        Plus, their advertisers should take a beating as well.

    • nancy says:

      Ordinary Scallops!

      Please, a scallop entree? Oh so plain, uninspired, and YES Cook 101 material. This was a travesty and when Morimoto pointed out the obvious flaw was that he received an ordinary scallop plate he was ignored (or the editors took out any further discussion).

    • FN guest says:

      I'm just sitting here wondering how one could be deemed worthy or unworthy for something like this by a viewer. No offense but we see only what is aired by FN. Plus, whatever we believe is right, the chefs are the ones who all worked hard. Not sure how fair it is to pass such harsh judgement with only partial knowledge of everything that happened for this competition IMHO. While I can certainly appreciate the passion people have regarding food, Iron Chefs & Food network, some of the comments seem unnecessary & hurtful.

    • downnotout says:

      Absolutely NOT worthy. Alex is a fiction of the FN.

    • Karen Wiltshire says:

      AMEN Angie!!!!!!

    • NY_Coffee says:

      Its like there is a shortage of Chefs….? Either that or some monopoly-mafia shenanigans going on…

      Hey FN, look up the term "Casting Director". So far a dozen of "chefs" are milking the profits and airtime.
      How about ADDING some fresh new faces?

  3. leah says:

    Congrats Alex!!!! Im a huge fan and have been pulling for you all along! Yaaaaaayyyyyy!

    • Brenda says:


  4. Guest says:

    I stated that if Alex or Amada won, I would STOP watching the Iron Chef.__Let a REAL chef win! The last winners, Zakarian (Food network judge on "Chopped") and Forgione (Dad is a famous chef…) were bad enough. This is shameful. __It is also terrible that the Food network "wrote off" Cat Cora and Mario Batali. They should have portraits for at least the past honors…..Give great chefs in the wings like Mike Symon chances! I am done with the American Iron Chef.

  5. Lana says:

    I think Alex did a great job. I think the caliber of the chefs this year were amazing. They all had heart. It was always a nice fault that sent someone home. Each time Alex was saved by her flavors. She was my favorite from the beginning. So happy for you Alex!

  6. leah says:

    I love your show…and i especially love your food…Butter is one of my favorite places to eat and i have used alot of the dishes you have featured on your show with tremendous success! Sooooo happy you are the Next Iron Chef!!!!

  7. Lisa says:

    Joyce, really? 100% sham? How? These 2 women cooked their hearts out, the judges ate their food, & then based on how they felt about each dish, each meal, they voted on the Next Iron Chef-which happens to be Chef Guarneschelli. Chef Freitag would have been a great choice, too. I think either one of these great chefs would've been a great Iron Chef.

  8. guest says:

    Obvious who they would choose. Very bad decision. Not only were her dishes unimaginative, but her attitude as a Chopped judge (where she is very overbearing in getting her choices despite the more accurate views of the other judges) demonstrates that she also does not have the humility she should. Chef Freitag deserved the win.

  9. Gia says:

    Alex Guamaschelli did not deserve to win the Iron Chef competition .. That decision is biased, fixed and unfair. Her dishes all looked disgusting. I WILL NOT EVER WATCH IRON CHEF AGAIN AS LONG AS THAT POMPOUS ARROGANT TROLL IS ON. I hope there are millions of others who feel as I do ..she sucks!!!!!

      • Shannon says:

        It's an opinion, lighten up.

        • Lou says:

          Brenda is entitled to an opionion too. And I agree that everyone saying they will never watch the show or the network again is acting very childish. So yes, grow up.
          I believe you called Brenda out for name calling on another comment, but I guess it is OK for Gia to do that since she is of the same opinion as you.

          • Gia says:

            Everyone is entitled to their opinion and if you think mine is childish, your is worse by arguing about it. Fact is I will not watch Iron Chef as long as Alex Guamaschelli is on there. That competition was fixed and or biased, as her competitors dishes were far more better and nicer in personality. That's my entitled opinion on the decision, there's no need for attack
            sarcasm toward a poster.

          • Cake master says:

            Lol she already won against an experience iron chef… Yes samsb an ACTUAL iron chef who judged NIC last year Judy Joo and Alex G won by 5 pointsHahahah I find it funny that the rude ones result to rude opinions. It's funny because I understand you're venting your RAGE, what's even funnier is your rage won't change a thing. Like the elections. You think they're going to recount because some of you say it's not fair and you won't watch or vote in the next elections? Life goes on.

            Food network also goes on without you watching it. Therefore RAGE childishly or eloquently ( thank you to the eloquent ones who do not result to 10 year old name calling) all you want because guess what?

            nothing is going to happen. Sorry but that's life, even faulkner is like "ah well whatever let me twitter Alex everyday"

            Additionally your ( difference between you're and your) spelling is horrendous which is why I believe the poster mistook you for a child. Calm down. This fight in itself is like a kid going " nu uh she did started it first!"

        • Gia says:

          Thank you Shannon.

    • Suzanne says:

      Gia is absolutely correct. The FN really betrayed it fans by having Zakarian as a judge. Alex was not creative and made plain dish after plain dish. FN was going to let her slide all season long so they could give her the IC title.

      Amanda and Falkner were screwed by the FN. Both embraced the challenges and put themselves out there.

    • NY_Coffee says:

      I think we all know they do. Most people don't want their time wasted so they are not going to bother even giving feedback.
      Do you tell someone with BO they smell or just get as far away from them as you can? ;)
      FN is headed in the wrong direction. Bring back "Yan Can Cook" for god sakes. At least he was entertaining.

    • UsedToWatchFN says:

      I agree! She is an ARROGANT POMPOUS JERK!! She has no talent or useful opinion …only Hatefulness!

  10. Pam says:

    Congratulations Alex, so happy you won. Can't wait to see you on Iron Chef.

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