Emotional Goodbyes — Critical Moments

by in Shows, December 3rd, 2012

The Next Iron Chef: RedemptionThe curse of the auction challenge strikes again.

No one who watched The Next Iron Chef Season 4 will ever forget the look on Chef Burrell’s face as she realized that her decision to place eventual winner Chef Zakarian in the Secret Ingredient Showdown was going to come back and bite her in the backside. In Season 5, Chef Falkner found herself in the exact same position.

But first, let’s give due praise to Chef Vigneron. His stunning dish of braised beef cheeks proved that he had emerged from the shadow of high school shenanigans with his pal, Chef Mendelsohn, to make himself a very serious contender for a place in Kitchen Stadium.

Chef Falkner was not so fortunate. While she managed to cook the Amazonian fish paiche perfectly, her plating was messy and further spoiled by the addition of deep-fried scales. If I was being charitable, I would describe eating the scales as being worse than chewing on dead men’s toenails. It meant that, like Chef Burrell before her, she was now going to face one of her toughest challengers to stay in the competition.

Chef Appleman had also produced one of the worst tastes of the competition to date in the form of a mortadella mousse (every bit as unpleasant as it sounds), but that all changed when he was presented with anchovies in the Secret Ingredient Showdown. For me, his choice to produce two Spanish dishes was risky, as it’s a cuisine close to my heart, but he managed to produce genuinely delicious food when it mattered the most. Chef Falkner also made ample use of the ingredient, but heavy-handedness with the saffron in a Fregola Sarda produced a bitter taste that I found overpowered everything else on the plate.

It was not a unanimous decision, but this time it was Chef Falkner who was told by Alton Brown, “I am sorry, but you will not be The Next Iron Chef.”

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 (218)

  1. MoHub says:

    About that smirk on Appleman's face?

    Appleman knew he was going to outcook Falkner, but was clearly worried that the lunatic FN fringe might try and keep Falkner in the game. If it weren't for the integrity of Judge Simon, Appleman would have been booted.

    Appleman was clearly relieved and his elated grin was well deserved. Falkner thought she was too hip and invincible – hence the devastated look upon hearing that she would not be the Next Iron Chef.

    That was awesome drama!

    • Joel says:

      You sure seem have a lot of access to what people are thinking. Appleman was delusional if he "knew" he was going to outcook Falkner. When she is at her best, people say things like "this is one of the 5 best dishes I have tasted on Iron Chef." Yes, that's right – Iron Chef. Not "Next Iron Chef."

      And about Simon's integrity, I will give him that he always goes with what he is convinced tastes the best. But I will also say that the judges didn't consider risk as a qualitative factor, Simon nor Geoffrey. If they would have told the contestants to cook their best tasting dish, Elizabeth would have never been in the bottom. This is how they judged though, as if they had told them that risk didn't really matter. If they would have considered "risk" worth points, not just taste, Falkner wouldn't have been up against Appleman to begin with. Mehta or Guarnaschelli would have been.

      If there is anything that last episode taught us, it is that the contestants aren't penalized for not following the challenge. I would say that this is a matter of integrity of the show. If someone decided not to use the secret ingredient, they would have no hope of winning. But if someone doesn't follow the challenge, they aren't penalized. It might just be me, but I think that's a pretty significant discrepancy.

    • noFalk4U says:

      I agree, Falkner has been unbearable to watch because she is so arrogant and loved to play the part of the NIC among her competitors. I think that is why it was nice to see Judge Simon not be intimidated by Donatella's drama and cast the deciding vote. IC Zakarian is enamored with Alex but correctly recognized that Appleman was the clear victor in a close contest.

      Falkner lost two battles and clearly IF she was as awesome as some in here think, she wouldn't have come close to being eliminated. Falkner is a pastry Chef who simply ran out of ability in this savory format.

    • Alexfan says:

      I liked how Faulkner shared a smile with chef Alex when they were waiting for the trucks to bring in the secret ingredients. I don't trust chef Faulkner because I think she is a conniving person who knows chef Alex might be the favorite but She chose to take out Mehta because she was scared of him and found out why.

      I think Alex will be in the finale.

  2. Tamara says:

    I'm done with this show. Two reasons Faulkner left, sexism and politics (Chef Zacharian). She should have never been in the bottom. Chef Mehta should have battled Appleman. Anyone who wins at this point is sloppy seconds. If Chef Guarnaschelli wins I'm definitely convinced this show and judges are biased.

  3. Guest says:

    I'm a little surprised by all the negative comments on this site re: this last NIC show. Yes, Chef Faulkner is a brilliant, creative chef, who is fun to watch. Unfortunately, she is also a little uneven in her cooking – recall that she was in the bottom at least twice before in this specific series? It finally caught up with her. I'm shocked; I really expected her to be in the Final 2 this year – but I can't say I'm surprised. As for all the attacks on the judges – shame on you people! You cannot taste the food yourself, and you also cannot hear ALL the discussion that the judges are having about the dishes presented to them; how can you double guess them? I wanted to come to this site to see the final interview with Chef Faulkner, but I won't make the mistake of reading the comments again… and I fully intend to see the rest of this series!

    • Amandafan says:

      When Donatella confronted Zakarian for his absurd defense of Alex not having taken a risk with her primary ingredient – everyone had conclusive proof that Zakarian was corrupt.

      Alex violated the main theme of Risk and should have been put in the cookoff round with Appleman. Falkner and Mehta stumbled taking risks, BUT Alex avoided risk altogether which is the greater sin.

      • downnotout says:

        The judges "got played" in the words of Zakarian from the previous week. This time Zakarian loved getting played by Alex, but thankfully Donatella openly thrashed him for his biased defense of the indefensible.

        The problem with a corrupt Zakarian is that it doesn't make the series more dramatic – it makes the series absurdly stupid.

  4. Rosa Campay says:

    I grieve for Chef Falkner, my favorite. But Vigneron should be out. I hope somebody beats him out of competition. He's too Cocky to be The Next Iron Chef. I remember other seasons when Ming Tsai, Ann Burrell and Robert Irvine lost. Is this show rigged or what????
    Well, who needs to be an "Iron" Cheff when you already are Golden, Titanium or Diamond Chefs? (not in any particular order).

    I'll see the show a few more times, but I would really like to know how an Iron Chef Vacancy happens to open. Do they just quit, get sick and tired, are bussy in their own business, or just can't take the hypocricy?
    Falkner and Guarnischelli should have been the Top Fianlists.

  5. allyntriemert says:

    I have watched NIC for many years, This is so wrong that faulkner is gone…..Why are there not different judges each week on NIC, take a hint boys! This way is too biased, and yes jeffery everyone saw the look on your face when Elizebeth was sent home, and also king of souffles…..you let mehta stay, the appearence of the food on his plate was BS. What is FN going to do about all of this? Make it right people.

  6. Bruce says:

    Faulkner is a class act all the way and for the most part she is not a winer or complainer. Her reaction when eliminated was anger because (right or wrong) she disagreed wit the judges decisions. Sometimes evevts that initially seem negative and hopeless, in time, do a 180 and work for us in a positive manner. Keeping the sources anonymous, I know for a fact, Chef Faulkner termination has recently landed her interviews with other broadcast companies and someday soon and perhaps soon we will be watching her as the host on her very own cooking show.

    • donna says:

      Faulkner has an attitude of entitlement that is a big turn-off. Have watched her lose in 2 seasons of NIC, as well as many episodes of 'Challenge', and she has a long history as a sore loser. She also lost in the 2nd episode of the 1st season of Top Chef Masters.

  7. Bob says:

    What a sad day, I'm disappointed with FN for the decision to send Chef Faulkner home. I feel that Risk was not made a focal point in judging. Chef Faulkner made two risky meals and that should have been more pronounced in the decision. Chef Faulkner you should be brought back!

  8. Moviemom says:

    I'm so upset that Chef Faulkner was eliminated. I was rooting for her all the way. I really thought she would be the Next Iron chef. Yes, she made a mistake to use the fish scales, but that doesn't take away from the fact that she is a very talented chef. Too bad Iron Chef doesn't have "Last Chance Kitchen" like Top Chef, where the eliminated chef has a chance to get back in the game. With her gone, this show is no longer my "must see" show.

  9. Leigh Pike says:

    I agree Chef Zakarian's body language displayed his real feelings about Faulkner. Chef Alex did not meet the challenge with her dish. But Chef Z isn't going to eliminate his sous chef. Chef Z critiques and votes demonstrate his conflict of interest.

  10. donna says:

    Faulkner deserved to be eliminated. She sent Appleman to the bottom, because she feared him, which was not honorable. She should have sent Alex to the secret ingredient showdown, because she had the least amount of risk in her dish. Faulkner over-reached to have presented fried scales to the judges. Afterall, no matter the challenge, above all else, a chef must present beautiful, delicious food. For all of the rage expressed here that she was sent home prematurely…..she was in the bottom 3 out of 5 times. Get a grip.

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