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. nextironcheffan says:

    In my opinion Chef Appleman,should've gone home,and Chef Faulkner should've stayed.She could've been the next Iron Chef.

    • Bonnie R. says:

      I also wanted Chef Faulkner to be crowned the Next Iron Chef. I became a fan of hers last time when she competed against Chef Z, Chef Alex G., and others. She's truly creative, and I think its time that a female win to replace Chef Cat Cora in Kitchen Stadium. It's awful that she was eliminated just because she was heavy-handed with the saffron. Chef Appleman should have gone home. I also remember the comment from one of the judges that anchovies could hardly be detected in his dish. Just tell me where Chef Faulkner will be cooking, and I'll go there to watch her, and better yet, to eat her delicious food.

  2. Steve says:

    Chef faulkner was the most talented chef on this show and the favorite of the judges. Glad to see they are still judging on who made the better dish and not who they want to see win it. Compared to last season when all he judges just wanted chef Z to be the next iron chef.

    • alexfan says:

      I absolutely agree.

      I was stunned when Falkner was chopped because I thought NO WAY does the Food Network want her departure this early. Falkner brings drama and a crazy loyal fan base which would've been perfect for Las Vegas.

      Maybe that is why Alton (the Food Network front man) looked so smashed and devastated as well.

    • Joel says:

      Their failure was sending her to the bottom for the first judging, not the second.

      When they say to take risk, apparently what they mean is cook something faster than we expect it to be able to be cooked. Make something that we think is hard to make (ice cream, or a souffle). NOT try something actually risky. All of Faulkner's food was good, and the risky fish scale chips were too strong of a taste that a bland, flat souffle rolls right on by.

      Lesson learned: When they say take a risk, just cook something delicious.

    • Roberta says:

      I felt the same way about Chef Z. It was a done deal from the beginning!

  3. SNL says:

    Faulkner is not my favorite, however, I was confused to see her go. My understanding is that the challenge is supposed to highlight the ingredient and in that way, didn't she outshine Nate? There was a comment that the anchovy couldn't even be detected in his food. So while, maybe it tasted better – how did he win the challenge if the secret ingredient wasn't highlighted? Confused.

    • blank blank says:

      Exactly just like with Alex's Dish she did not Interpret Risk in her Dish. If this is the case, all the chefs should just ignore all the rules & just put out a good dish if the judges are not going to care if they meet any criteria they are asking for. So why both having any rules if they can do whatever they like.

  4. FanFare59 says:

    Simon, thanks for your commentary (albeit too brief, once again). Even with Falkner's scale mistake, complaints ran rampant with everyone (except Marcel). Certainly, Mehta and his unpuffed souffle deserved a place in the bottom. Alex wasn't even innovative; except when she stole an ingredient from Marcel and had the nerve to laugh about it (wasn't THAT action disrespectful of the "Iron Chef" show?) Appleperson's frittata didn't look very appealing nor was it really risky. The reaction from 2 out of 3 judges said it all: obviously, you were uncomfortable with your decision. Perhaps it was because it was the wrong decision. We all are aware which way the wind blows for the 3rd judge: Zakarian's smug expression said it all.

  5. Mike says:

    I am tired of watching shows where the produces are involved in the decision. It is obvious that Chef Z had it out for Chef Falkner–she should have won last time. This show was a travesty. Two judges said Chef A's food had no seasoning! What a disgrace. I am done with this show. They need judges that have a personal integrity because it is obvious these three do not!

    • tGuest says:

      Well said! My exact opinion as well. Why have judges at all, when you got Butt-hole Zakarian on the panel.

    • jondos says:

      You know your right! I knew that Chef Zakarian was friends with Chef Guarnachelli and his being a judge was a conflict of interest, but I had forgotten that he was the one who had beaten Chef Faulkner to become an Iron Chef. BTW, what are the chances that the winner of the last challenge falls to the bottom only to face the Chef that THEY put there? This has happened two years in a row now. Very very unlikely. As far as INTEGRITY goes, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it. These rigged outcomes on many FN shows are too common to be coincidence. I wonder if this is how the Japanese do things? After all they are the originators of the Iron Chef concept. if I had to guess THEY would much rather keep THEIR INTEGRITY than behave as the FN has!

      • Moviemom says:

        I couldn't agree more! Chef Zakarian should not be one of the panel of judges. There is clearly a conflict of interest, since he is friends with Chef Guarnachelli from Chopped, and he had competed against Chef Faulkner in the final round of last season's Iron Chef.

    • luvamanda says:

      It is difficult to watch the Rerun (it is on as I type this) and see Zakarian's lack of integrity on full display as he gushes over Alex G's pedestrian bison dish.

      Zakarian is then taken to the woodshed by Donatella for not being honest that Alex took no risk AND the risk she claims she took had nothing to do with her primary ingredient.


  6. Guest says:

    How can this "contest" be fair when Zakarian is so blatantly maneuvering for Alex to be NIC? ridiculous that these 3 people should have the power week after week to select the NIC. You should have different judges every week so those like Donatella and Geoffrey, with their obvious biases, cannot determine the success of a single chef. I thought they blew it w/Ming Tsai, and now again, this totally biased decision eliminates the one chef (Faulkner) who is obviously more creative and talented than the others. The whole concept is now a joke to me, more than ever.

  7. C Anderson says:

    I think it is pretty obvious that a woman is not going to make the next Iron Chef!!!!!!! The "good ole boys" still rule in this country. Appleman shouldn't even be in the same room with Falkner!!!!! Falkner is a great chef and Appleman is a wannabe!!!!!!!!!! I lost 99% of my respect for Food Network and will start watching different shows besides cooking. HGTV here I come!!!

  8. Christie says:

    This was bs. I will no longer watch this show and struggle with watching the network. Bad decision. Food Network has lost all integrity with this one.

  9. applejoez says:

    I cannot believe this! I am so disappointed I barely want to watch the show anymore!! Chef Falkner has been at the top of this competition for TWO seasons and has handled herself with the most dignity out of any other chef. She is amazing and inspirational and ungodly talented and I refuse to watch this show now that she is gone, especially because the judges who eliminated her are arguably LESS talented than she is (I love zakarian, but let's get real). This is the first time that Alton has ever disappointed me- his less than amazing judgement in this situation has definitely thrown him off his pedestal. An iron chef needs to perform amazingly in EVERY challenge- and Falkner has shown that she can be amazing almost all the time. It's ridiculous that she was eliminated for one dish, especially when her opponent's was less than perfect too. If you couldn't tell, Im SO MAD!

  10. Discusted! says:

    Last nights episode was the last straw…I'm DONE with FN! Last week both boys should have been eliminated and this week was a travesty! You ALL should be ashamed,!!!!!!!!!! Chef Faulkner was the only contender who has what it takes to be a true iron chef……..BOO

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