A Battle She’ll Never Forget — Chef Guarnaschelli’s First Iron Chef America Showdown

by in Shows, December 31st, 2012

Iron Chef Alex GuarnaschelliThere are no easy tests in Kitchen Stadium. The first battle for any newly crowned Iron Chef, however, is perhaps the toughest of all. The glory of winning The Next Iron Chef competition is all but forgotten and the winner now has to prove themselves worthy in the world’s toughest culinary arena.

It also doesn’t make any difference that Iron Chef Guarnaschelli has become familiar with Kitchen Stadium over the last year, as Iron Chef Zakarian’s sous chef. This time around, she was master, not servant, and any defeat would be associated directly with her name.

It was ironic that her first opponent would be Judy Joo, who — along with Iron Chef Michael Symon and I — was responsible for eliminating her in Season 4 of The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs. She not only battled to win, but also had a very definite point to prove.

The Secret Ingredient was mortadella (something her fellow rival chef, Chef Nate Appleman, is now very familiar with) and both chefs managed to get their first dish in front of the judges within the 20-minute time frame. Neither was declared a great success, but Iron Chef Guarnaschelli came away with a slender lead of two points to take into the rest of the battle.

Iron Chef America: Battle MortadellaBoth chefs wisely decided to treat the mortadella almost as if it were bacon. Highlights from Chef’s Joo’s offerings for the judges included Korean fried chicken and scallops prepared using the Chairman’s culinary curveball and a Danish aebleskiver pan. For Iron Chef Guarnaschelli, the standouts were her mortadella popovers and a silky pasta dish of tortellini that used the Secret Ingredient.

Those dishes were just enough for the judges to award Iron Chef Guarnaschelli a narrow five-point lead, and ensured that she left Kitchen Stadium with the first tick in the win box on her battle card.

I look forward to having the opportunity to judge her as an Iron Chef soon.

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Comments (95)

  1. ann krock says:

    surprise, surprise AG won the challenge!!! How did FN agree to pay JJ to lose this challenge?? Can AG every be nice and stop making faces??

  2. Victoria says:

    I love this show. Chef Alex definitely earned her title!!! I like Alton, but I just wish he would stop saying "uh" after practically every couple words. It makes it difficult to listen to him. Does no one hear how annoying this is besides me???

  3. Priscilla says:

    Im so happy for these two amazingly talented women to be the final two. Thank you Alex and Amanda for being bad asses and for continuing to show the world that women are still being honored for their skills and hardwork. I'll continue to pursue my love of food and will always hold my head up high for it.

  4. Linda says:

    Congratulations, Alex. Great battle. Fun for your audience. Glad you won.

  5. Carol says:

    Great fan of Food Network. However, I knew from the get-go that AG would prevail as the next Iron Chef and that she would win the first challenge. She is a great chef, but I am disappointed to see such blatant favoritism.

    • Carol says:

      Ha my name is Carol too! I agree Chef Alex is a great chef, but I dont know about blatant favoritism. It was that he appeciated her effort and didnt critisize her much.

  6. Kathy says:

    Ann K – I agree with you. The faces the comments, even during the Redemption challenges. I always thought AG was a bit on the snobbish side, but liked her anyway, but now not so much. With all the challenges Amanda won, I'm surprised she lost in the end.

  7. Liz says:

    Favoritism, heck yes. After all Alex was Iron Chef Geoffrey's sous chef before the competition, therefore, I feel he should not have quaified as a judge.

  8. Blue Ice says:

    Big surprise. She won her first battle. Kinda silly if she didn't. Kinda interesting Judy is also going to be judging her in future battles.

  9. Aila says:

    I love AG's personality! She is the most down-to-earth of all the chefs. So glad that she won.

  10. Shannon says:

    Of course Alex won the competition, if you could call it that. There was NO way the Food Network would allow her to lose her 1st battle. Even Forgione was given a pass on his first battle. I am not a big fan of Chef G , her personality is so off putting. She is generally loud, angry and more often than not plain old mean. I see she has not changed.

    This battle however took the cake for me…..it was disgusting when Alex scraped the spilled sorbet off of the ice cream machine (with her bare hands!) into a bowl and redeposited it back into the machine….what in the world was she thinking, if this is the way she handles food I would never eat anything she prepares.

    • Victor says:

      Shannon,
      If you recall. the ice cream machine wasn't working properly. Such occurrences also happened on Chopped several times, to my knowledge. The fault is mechanical, not human.

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