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. Shezogie says:

    I am glad to see Chef Faulkner go. She just didn't have the talent or creativity to make a good Iron Chef. Alex, on the other hand does.

  2. Foodlover says:

    I was shocked to see Chef Falkner go. It seemed like Chef Mehta was the one that should have been in the bottom – nobody liked his souffle. Isn't it odd that two, spikey-haired lesbian chefs (Falkner and Burrell last season) were eliminated in the same type of challenge?? Maybe that is what the producers wanted. It's too bad that the evaluations are so subjective…

    • Salli says:

      Seems they wanted to recreate the Burrell drama for TV and it backfired…

    • Penelope says:

      I agree about Mehta – what an unpleasant man, in general. He's sneaking by like Forgione did. Forgione never won any challenges, but never was in the bottom two.

    • Kay Wiermaa says:

      I don't like it either – and I'd love to see arrogant Mehta and Appelman go home. But as far as lesbian chefs….remember Cat represents on IRA.

  3. Susan says:

    I am angry that Chef Falkner was sent home. The judges seemed to have it in for her from the beginning. I have lost all respect for Chef Zakarian in particular because he has so obviously played favorites and has been condescending toward Chef Falkner. Could it be because so many people believe she should have won over him during the last contest? Is he afraid of her going too far in this contest proving she should have won? She is the only true Iron Chef contender of all those on this season. She exudes confidence, power, character, respect, and talent. The rest of those scared little rabbits do not interest me in the least. Especially Chef Zakarians sous chef, Chef Guarnicelli, who basically cries through every battle. And she is not the only one. Sorry for he rant. I just cannot believe it. What a shame. This really tarnishes the reputation of The Iron Chef. The quality of the chefs has greatly diminished with this way of selecting members.

  4. msg says:

    Chef Faulkner declared that she was the next Iron Chef…last year, and carried it on this year. Confidence does not always get the results you expect. She counted on how many ways she could make ice cream. I'm glad she is gone.

    • Janice says:

      I love the comment about the ice cream, so true ! Time for her to go home.

    • Penelope says:

      I agree, especially when she made the crack about Amanda's ice cream. Too cocky for her own good. Fish scales – please.

    • Alaskamilf says:

      Burrell nailed it about the Falkner not making 'real' food.

    • mariebb23 says:

      Why does everyone rip her for her ability to make ice cream? For this series i believe she made it once. Last season I think she made it twice and one of those was during the final show. It's obviously a strength. Most chefs using their strengths.

      Oh and she isn't the only Chef that declared she would be the next Iron Chef. All of them stated that in their introductions. Why would these chefs enter this competition if they didn't want to be an Iron Chef and exhibit the confidence to compete?

    • Hanna08 says:

      She acted as though the title was hers, she deserved it, she got robbed last time around, she should just be handed the job. That's not arrogance, that's entitlement. I'm not fond of Appleman either, but I'm sure glad Faulkner is gone. I'm hoping for Alex or Amanda.

  5. Linda says:

    I just spoke to a friend of mine who was a longtime multistar chef from NYC and Atlanta. He was noted for his seafood and his Mediterranean cuisne. I asked about Faulkner's fish and the use of the scales. His response? " I couldn't beieve it when I saw what she was doing with the scales. They are beautiful but there is no way to make them edible. Even using them for a plating medium would be less than ideal. I wasn't surprised she was on the bottom." And this guy is a fan of hers!

  6. Victor says:

    Incredible the eliminaton of that chef, she is the most talent in that competition. Im realy discuss for the results of that competition.She was the most talent chef of all competotors and not apreciate the judge apretiation. Im discuss for the judges.

  7. Bmwjr says:

    Having chef Faulkner leave the compition in that way is not good for the show and or the judges !!!

  8. Julie says:

    I'm glad she's gone! Obnoxious and arrogant. Even the greatest of chefs show some humility once in a while. So long!!

  9. Eh bien, tant pis says:

    I for one only trust Simon Majumdar as a judge – he is composed, honest, and sincere.

    Zakarian loves Alex.

    Donatella hates the male contestants.

    Alton can't wait to dress up funny and act superior and learned – the contestants to him are just whiny cooks…

  10. MicrophoneMadam says:

    Like many, I was appalled that the judging had Chef Falkner leave the show last night. Too many egos to deal with, especially Chefs Mehta, Applebaum, and the seemingly always cranky Freitag. Judge Donatella needs to leave Food Network as someone who is consistently standing in her arrogance and superior attitude. Makes viewing any show she is on most unpleasant. I've had it with NIC and ICA if this is the quality of show put out.

    • jam says:

      I agree with your first sentence. And, while Donatella's voice is grating, her opinions are usually sound. And this week, she clearly would have sent Appleman home over Falkner. Not to mention, she was the one judge who didn't nit-pick and fault Falkner for the fish scales.

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