Chatting With the Next Iron Chef: Redemption Runner-Up

by in Shows, December 23rd, 2012

The Next Iron Chef: Redemption FinaleThe 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.

Every week, each chef tried to pull out all their tricks to stay in the competition but, ultimately, one chef went home each week. This week we said goodbye to two (read exclusive exit interviews).

It all came down to two – for the first time, it was an all-female Kitchen Stadium battle finale. After saying goodbye to Chef Appleman in Las Vegas, Chefs Freitag and Guarnaschelli traveled to New York City to create a menu that would eventually change one chef’s life forever. Chef Freitag walked away from Las Vegas with a roast chicken dish the judges deemed perfect. In Kitchen Stadium, each chef had to create three dishes featuring two of the Chairman’s Secret Ingredients, which paid homage to three long-standing Iron Chefs: Chef Flay, Chef Morimoto and Chef Symon. While Chef Freitag’s menu, consisting of feta burrata, lamb with eggplant puree and a corn cake, was successful, Chef Alex Guarnaschelli inched her out slightly with her cherry tart. Chef Freitag battled her way to the finale, and even though she lost, she proved to viewers and readers that she deserved to be there.

Chef Amanda FreitagThe first challenge in the final episode was themed around Passion and you had to create Geoffrey Zakarian’s last meal. What would your last supper be and why?

AF: My last supper would probably be fresh pasta with butter and cheese. It is the most comforting, satisfying plate of food.

You perfected roast chicken in the finale. What tips can you share with our cooks to help them do the same thing?

AF: Always buy free-range chickens and season the chicken well with salt and pepper. I like to roast the chicken at a higher temperature of 425 degrees F to start and then finish the roasting time at 350 degrees F. Always use a meat thermometer to determine doneness.

Did cooking with marshmallows and squid — and winning that challenge of fusion — help you sympathize with or relate to the Chopped contestants you judge, who are often forced to marry disparate ingredients?

AF: I always relate to the Chopped contestants because I have competed so much and I too have been “chopped” when I competed on Chopped: All Stars. I do feel that the Fusion challenge was as cruel as a Chopped basket for sure!

What are three words you’d use to describe standing at the altar in front of the Chairman, waiting for him to unveil the winner?

AF: Anxious, frightened and excited.

Chefs Freitag and ApplemanWhat was a highlight or your favorite challenge and how was it compared to the first season you competed in?

AF: My favorite challenge was Transcendence. I enjoyed working on a team with Chef Appleman. The nature of the work we do as chefs is almost always a team effort and that is one of the reasons why I love what I do. Redemption was so different than my first competition because it was like coming home, but with a whole different set of rules and even stiffer competition.

How has this experience changed you? What’s next for you?

AF: This experience has taught me a lot about myself and gave me the ability to showcase my culinary talents to the world and my peers. I am looking forward to starting my own business and continuing to grow as a chef and a food expert.

Read more about Chef Amanda Freitag

Relive the final episode (click the play button):

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Comments (115)

  1. Merry Recipes says:

    Regardless of the outcome I hope FN will post recipes from both woman. Like Amanda's lemon chicken and banana dessert and Alex's white chocolate salad and her scallops from the final. I think they both had great appealing ideas!

  2. Kay says:

    Alex was the most consistent performer throughout the shows. She went to the show down only once. Amanda was there several times meaning her food was worst or second to worst. Alex was also praised for her consistently good tasting food – good execution outweighs originality everytime. If you watch Iron Chef, the one that makes the best tasting food almost always wins. Both of these women are extremely good and either could be an Iron Chef but Alex edged out Amanda in quality and fortunately was recognized for that.

    • Giina says:

      Which of the shows did u watch??? It was Amanda that came out on top not Alex. Need we say,
      Alex had friends on the panel and that's the reason she won. Life is not fair and this sort of thing
      Happens more then we want it.

    • steve says:

      Amanda won the competition more times than anyone and there's a reason for that. And if you listened to the judge's comments, her dished were good but not in the same league as Iron Chefs. In fact the 2nd or 3rd to last show even she commented to the effect that that she better START cooking like an iron chef.

    • gemini1012 says:

      Yes, she was consistently mediocre. But she won anyway.
      And really, what show DID you watch? Baffling.

    • CLEU says:

      Amanda went to show down only once and won three times. Alex won only once. Kay – you are a FRAUD, just like the FN.

  3. Rebecca says:

    I am so sad. i really hate competitions for this very reason. In a fair world, Amanda would have been the next Iron Chef.

  4. guest says:

    Well, right from the start everyone knew who the winner was going to be just like everyone knew that on the next food network star Justin was the winner from day one. Alton Brown singled him out from the beginning. Now we had an Iron Chef as one of the judges and who Alex just happened to be his sous chef. Enough said, she was destined to win. Her cooking is good but she has a tendency to be nasty. She doesn't have the personality to be an Iron Chef. Amanda's cooking was consistantly better than Alex's, she has a great personality, looks, and a good attitude. I knew Alex would win because Zakarian was one of the judges which I don't think he should have been seeing as he is not only an Iron Chef but Alex is his sous chef. The cards were stacked against Amanda. She definately should have won. Sorry I wasted my time watching this every week.

  5. bjc says:

    Freitag was indeed robbed. Lovely watching Alex complain through the enitre competition. I won't be watching again.

  6. susan says:

    ENOUGH BASHING, ALREADY! I have watched enough Chopped and other show episodes to have seen the kind and sensitive hearts of each of these fantastic women and their love and respect for each other is apparent. I, like others, would have loved to have seen both of them named Iron Chef. Congratulations to both of you ladies for a fine competition! I am sincerely looking forward to seeing you, Alex, in your Iron Chef uniform. P.S. to Alex and Amanda…..toss the negative comments out with the garbage and hold onto what really counts….you both performed in an outstanding manner and should be very proud.

    • gemini1012 says:

      Yes, no more opinions please. Apparently they count as bashing.

    • zapatogrande says:

      I wanted to see both of them win as well. That would have been a eal treat!

    • Erwin says:

      If you watched all of the shows there is no way you thought Alex won. We shouldn't win trophies for showing up, we should be Iron Chef for winning overall. Be honest not political. Disagreement is not bashing, it is simply disagreement. Graduate from preschool please. Two winners is half a loss meaning the contest was meaningless. Amanda won and was told she lost. should you live with that if you was her? Would that be fair to you? Bashing is a negative term that bullies use to stop disagreement..

  7. nalissa says:

    Amanda should have been the NIC. She started off slowly but at the end her dishes were innovative and tasty. I mean how many times did she win best dish? Even though they didn't say it, her Elvis dessert was their fav, and she cooked a PERFECT chicken dish. PERFECT. Week after week. That's not consistent? What a load of BS.

    I wish Alex good luck, but I think Kitchen Stadium will be her true test… and she'll need all the luck she can get.

  8. Tia says:

    I agree with the above post. My husband and I both knew with Zakarian as a judge that Guarnaschelli would win. They are friends and she is his sous chef. Not only did they constantly say that she played it safe but everyone would complain about her food except for Zakarian. A iron chef doesnt play it safe. Chef G is very nasty when she is on chopped, Amanda shows a humble side. I believe Falkner was gone early cause they knew she could beat her. Falkner, Freitag, and Applemen should have been final 3. Sorry Amanda mean people always get ahead faster

  9. Guest says:

    Hopefully the sponsors are reading these comments and understand the credibility problem FN has created with a rigged competition. American viewers can live with defeat, but they can't tolerate fixes — or being taken for fools week after week. Goodbye FN. Hello, Cooking Channel.

  10. memere says:

    This was rigged from the beginning. Amanda is definitely the Iron Chef. No more food network in this household……

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