Bringing Home the Bacon — Critical Moments

by in Shows, December 17th, 2012

Next Iron Chef Rival ChefsThe four remaining chefs were asked to transform the much-maligned Las Vegas buffet into something worthy of Kitchen Stadium Sunday night.

After legendary magician David Copperfield pronounced that bacon was to be the main ingredient, Chef Freitag paired herself with Chef Appleman to face off against the decidedly odd couple of Chef Guarnaschelli and Chef Vigneron.

The end results brought some real highs and some very definite lows on both sides. I thought that Chefs Freitag and Appleman’s salad lacked any of the announced lime and jalapeno dressing, leaving it bland and tasteless. Their dessert called “The Elvis,” however, still ranks as one of the very best tastes of the whole competition.

Chefs Guarnaschelli and Vigneron produced two triumphant dishes in the form of bacon-wrapped bacon and sublime roast chicken. But they let themselves down by presenting undercooked leeks and a chocolate mousse that was grainy and unpalatable. It was enough to send them both to the Secret Ingredient Showdown to battle it out for a spot in the finale.

The quest to pair chocolate with protein showed just how creative and skilled both these chefs are. I marked Chef Vigneron down, however, for presenting a piece of lamb so rare it was almost bleating. I felt it was a far bigger flaw than his opponent’s lack of seasoning on a deep-fried duck heart .

Although there was a long and heated debate, in the end the three judges reached a unanimous agreement that Chef Vigneron would be the next chef to hear the words “I am sorry, but you will not be The Next Iron Chef.”

That left Chef Guarnaschelli joining Chef Frietag and Chef Appleman in the final battle to reach Kitchen Stadium. It’s going to be one heck of a showdown.

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 final episode below (click the play button):

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Comments (82)

  1. rfvoigt says:

    My ongoing gripe with this program is that the judges know who made what. It harks back to the situation in the past where symphony orchestras had unblinded auditions and only hired male musicians. As soon as they had the musicians perform behind a screen they ended up hiring a large number of female musicians. i think the outcome of these competitions would be vastly different if the judges didn't know who created what dish.

    • MoreCookingLessDrama says:

      You are suggesting that there is some favoritism in the judging? I agree! Coincidentally, Alex Guarniscelli is no stranger to favoritism. On Chopped, she frequently compliments certain chefs for things that she criticizes others for, which is one of many reasons she shouldn't be on Food Network at all, let alone as an Iron Chef. But if her buddy Zakarian keeps phoning it in for her…

  2. rekha says:

    Simon,
    How can the FN allow Zacharian to be on the judging panel. He is obviously favoring Alex and you are going along with it. Shame on you!!! Why dont you crown Alex and be done with it. Cant stand Alex and Zacharian. FN has no integrity and will never watch it again.

  3. hello says:

    This is just my opinion but Appleman just doesn't have the Iron Chef presence that I see in the current Iron Chefs. I think Amanda is very talented but her personality is grating on my nerves. She reminds me of a wine that's too dry or vinegar that's too sour (her facial expression in particular sometimes).

    I know there are many of you out there who are either fans or friends of Appleman or Frietag who might be reading this. Sorry if I offend you with my comments. It's just my opinion. I am sure they are both brilliant chefs. But I just don't see them as an Iron Chef. But I'm not the judge so and I could be wrong, LoL. I think Alex is a good candidate. She represents women chefs well w/o coming off too cocky and maintaining some of the feminity. I think Alex also is a very talented Chef and she doesn't read as being a stuck up chef just cuz she's good at what she does. I like that about her. In short, I could see her as an Iron Chef. In my ideal world, Faulkner would still be in the competition. I think she is awesome and has the stuff to be a potential Iron Chef. Thanks all. :) Good luck to all 3 finalists!

    • NYJoe says:

      IC Zakarian and his favorite pet cow Alex are such a sad element to what would otherwise be an entertaining NIC.

      Alex and Zak have left a horrible stain on this year's NIC.

    • Fly Army says:

      An Iron Chef needs to have a presence in kitchen stadium which Alex does not have! Faulkner would have made the perfect Iron Chef, she has the experience and leadership skills to succeed.

  4. bettyboop1941 says:

    I wonder how much the Spike/Marcel episode played in Marcel going home. That disrepect should have sent both of them home and maybe the judges aimed to send Marcel home no matter how great his dishes were.

    • Fly Army says:

      Though I like both Chefs from their Top Chef days I believe they have not earned the right to be an Iron Chef just yet. If anyone from Top Chef deserves to compete to be an Iron Chef it should be Hung Huynh or Richard Blais!

      • FanFare59 says:

        I agree with your Top Chef choices for a this competition. Richard Blais would be outstanding in every way. Plus, he's incredibly humble.

    • Linda says:

      I don't think that episode had anything to do with it. He just didn't quite get there in his final challenge. When you go to the showdown as often as he did, you are bound to lose at some point.
      He'd done well in the other appearances and I think he just got overconfident. That inconsistant lamb (some of which was just plain raw) was the kick in the pants. The judges don't like inconsistance

      • LISN1 says:

        The judges don't like inconsistencies in anyone except Alex. She has served inconsistent plates throughout the competition and slipped by.

        • Linda says:

          What happened in other episodes is irrelevant to what happened in this one. Alex got dinged for insufficient salt on the duck hearts so she wasn't perfect. But, do you think that is worse than serving raw lamb? If so, I would respectfully disagree with you.

  5. John Cox says:

    I'm hoping for a two girl showdown for NIC.

  6. Charles Cattani says:

    I have been in the food buisness since 2002, and I will tell you that if I were to look at the scope and talent of the chefs and their abilities to contribute to what an Iron Chef is, and does, I would have to give that coveted spot to Chef Freitag. Remeber when Iron Chef Simon battled in the NIC finale in kitchen stadium against Chef Besch? All the judges acknowledged Besch's food to be superior is quality and taste, however, they felt Simon had the personality to be a great Iron Chef. That is the direction this show is headed in now. Sorry, but just pointing out the obvious.

    • amandafan says:

      John Besh was the real deal, but FN needed a different sort of character to become Iron Chef. IC Symon is a pleasure to watch but I'm a bigger fan of John Besh…

  7. MoreCookingLessDrama says:

    Another miscarriage of justice performed on a Food Network competition show.

  8. Mat (the real one) says:

    Just letting you know:

    someone is posting as me and replying to other posts and is saying total crap. Please know that it isn't the real Mat.

  9. Bacon says:

    Bacon would have been fun in a waffle batter in scrambled eggs on ice cream with candied bacon it or crumbled on a cobb salad. These are foods I think buffet. But I agree bacon by itself speaks for itself.

  10. ChezKiKi says:

    I really liked the Vegas Buffet / bacon challenge. Wish we could get the recipes! But I tivo'd it and took careful notes. I like Appleman and Freitag's cooking; I'm rooting for either of them.

  11. bettyboop1941 says:

    I totally agree, but then the network would be paying all that money for the judges who wouldn't have all that "show" time and they want exposure.

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