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. LaMae says:

    Chef Falkner is the next iron chef in my eyes….as I will no watch the show. Being voted off for taking the most risk? Guarnaschelli getting her Hands slapped. Obvious favoritism by Chef Zakarian. No longer a credible show. Chef Falkner remember you are above this.

  2. john says:

    I canceled my cable TV earlier this year. The only thing I really watch on TV is Food Network. I have too many other interests to waste time on most of the schlock that is on.

    I love this show. I was on the edge of my seat tonight as I watched it, a day later than everyone else because I have to buy the show from iTunes Store. This episode was very stressful, just like the same episode last year. I was very happy that Zakarian won last year and I think he has done a wonderful job as an Iron Chef. He is much more entertaining than Garces or Forgione.

    I think all of the remaining contestants could be an Iron Chef, just like Forgione or Garces. Which one is really going to be outpacing the rest? I'd pick Freitag or Guarnaschelli. They are very good.

    I'm not really sorry to see Faulkner go but she also could have made a good Iron Chef.

  3. Salli says:

    It's time for rotating judges and/or blind tastings. Would love to see Vigneron win, but think that would be considered too politically incorrect imo….another reason for blind tastings. I expect a woman to win.

    Also, I thought the Vigneron/Mendelsohn "stunt" was fun. The most enjoyable IC's to watch are Michael Simon and Bobby Flay, for this very reason.

    • Kay Wiermaa says:

      I ALSO vote for Marcel Vigneron ALL THE WAY!!! Yes, blind tastings might be the best answer. While I don't appreciate "the stunt" so much, I'm glad they weren't eliminated due to it. The stunt of Zacharian as a judge and Simon's favoritism of Mehta who cooks alot of flavors Simon is partial to – well, that's even more threatening to the results of the competition!

    • Guest says:

      Not a big fan of Vigneron, but I agree with you about the blind tastings and roatating judges!

  4. Former fan says:

    Being bored to tears by the overflow of Guy's DDD on your network, I was eagerly awaiting the new episode of NIC redemption. The RISK theme was thoroughly entertaining until the evaluations of the dishes started by the panel of "experts". What were they thinking? Dishes that were rated as bland, poorly executed, underseasoned, and definitely not RISKY, were rewarded and "pet" chefs were passed along to the next round. Chef Falkner however was placed in the showdown, for what reason??? Her food was never negatively rated, but yet there she was. An obvious ploy to put her in a position to be eliminated through the political maneuvers of Chef Z. She should have won last season and she surely is the best of the group this year, but just what do you have against her? Shame on you FN, you've lost yet another viewer.

    • Salli says:

      so true on the DDD

    • Penelope says:

      Give me a break – she landed in the bottom 2 on 3 different occasions this season. If anyone thought they had a lock on the title, it was Falkner. Who feeds someone fish scales? Yes, it was risky, it was also stupid and inedible.

    • Kay Wiermaa says:

      THANK YOU!!!! How many DDDs need to run back to back to back to back??? Get some new programming, pls! Looking at all these comments, as much as I love and respect Geoffrey Zacharian, FN should not have put him on the guillotine of NIC judge. How can be he viewed as objective? I think you need to change this for competitions going forward, it's simply a conflict of interest. And he doesn't deserve to be put in that position; neither do the competitors.

  5. Chester says:

    My patience is wearing thin with this "contest". Two buddies made a mockery of this profession and this show by plating together only to receive a "patronizing finger wagging" from Alton reminiscent of my high school teacher who scolded me once for returning to class late after lunch one day !!! . – BOTH of these serious Iron Chef contenders should have been eliminated based on principle alone immediately on the spot. Alex pulls another "fast one" by stealing another competitors item to enhance her dish.. come on now. She should be gone as well.

    Now Faulkner gets eliminated for what? A little too much saffron????? At least the Iron Chef's could taste the anchovies in HER dishes – Right ?? Didn't Alton say that 2 Iron Chef's could not even taste the secret ingrediant – anchovy, in 2 of Appleman's dishes???

    Don't get me wrong, these competitors are all very talented, I just think that "The Chairman" had better re-visit the rule book here regarding this competition as to what is deemed ethical and what is regarded as allowablew tom-foolry.

    • alexfan says:

      No he didn't – Alton said one of the judges (Donatello) mentioned the lack of anchovy – this after the world saw Chef Appleman put a lot of anchovy in it. NONE of the other judges was going along with Donatello who was trying to bring down Appleman to save Falkner.

      Get your facts straight.

      • Penelope says:

        Agreed – I knew before the commercial, by the tease that Falker was going. Donatello put her head down in her hands. That was her gal.

  6. Emily says:

    I have watched all season of NIC and never before have I been honestly for lack of better words… PISSED!!

    First of all, having Chef Zakarian as a judge is the worst choice the show has ever made, second next to voting off Chef Faulkner. He has too many connections and too many biases towards definately Alex, also Amanda as a fellow judge on chopped, and towards Elizabeth. I cannot say it any more… HE SHOULD NOT BE A JUDGE!! Of course he is rooting for Alex, hello!!! Can you say sous chef plus fellow Chopped judge? duh!

    Second of all, never, and I mean ever have I been more upset with the judges of this show. Iron Chef America needs a female chef, and I do not mean Alex. She's had enough of a chance as the sous chef of the "wonderful" Chef Zakarian. Big bummer.

    Third, I can guarantee, that if Chef Mehta wins this show, I'll stop watching.

  7. elizabeth says:

    I'm not watching any more. I absolutely hate this decision. HATE. Chef Faulkner should have been the next iron chef.

  8. Linda says:

    I can't tell you how disappointed I am at the elimination of Chef Faulkner! She took more risk than any of the other chefs (can you say fish scales?) and she incorporated more anchovy flavor in the final challenge than her competitor. Unfortunately, judges are human too and it's obvious that they have favorites, so the only way to make this a true competition is to judge the dishes WITHOUT knowing who prepared them, then critique each dish in front of all the competitors. On another note – BOTH chefs should have been eliminated last week for making a mockery of the competition.

    • Jo says:

      Amen to both critiques. I couldn't agree more or say it better!

    • Alaskamilf says:

      serving that fish scale was culinary malpractice not risk taking.

      Appleton WINS 2-1

      Play on!

      • Linda says:

        I still cannot figure out what on earth possessed her to try to serve the scales as food!
        Yes. I know. Some fish is served with skin on – it can be prepared to be a lovely crispy element in the dish – but as far as I know NEVER without having been de-scaled and inspected to be sure that the scales are ALL gone. And this with fish whose scales are small and fairly pliable

  9. Maya says:

    Was watching this series, I didn't know Chef Faulkner, but she was who I was rooting for her. She definitely belonged in the finals. She going home was bogus, it seemed to me Reality TV Drama Over Kill, the previews, geesh over kill … "Kiss of Death" blah blah. I also felt she totally deserved to be crowned Iron Chef last Season, (I went back to watch the last season because I was so impressed by her this season)
    Yeah so … I have no interest to watch the rest of the series, erased it off my DVR Record Settings. She'll get back up, shes got balls of steel, still love her. I'm not upset, just disappointed in the lack of integrity … and the Judges CRYING … Novela/Soap Opera Moment of the season, what a farce. She belongs up there, ridiculous ratings fiasco, I'm only one person, but I'm out. Faulkner can cook circles around the"Judges", she's truly inspiring. Oh well … off to Bravos I guess. Mad Love for Chef Faulkner, you won in my book.

  10. Faulkner Fan says:

    This was an absolute travesty!! Chef Faulkner should have won last season and Zakarian should have been sent home in the episode where he completely ignored the challenge. He won because he was an older chef and they didn't want to offend the culinary world. Chef Faulkner should not have been voted off last night and I am disgusted by the obvious favoritism. Has anyone heard of "conflict of interest'? How can you judge someone who you work with on Chopped? I like Alex but she would not make a good iron chef. If another male wins this year which now it looks like its going to happen with Faulkner gone then the integrity of this show is gone for me. If I hadn't paid for this season on Itunes I wouldn't watch another episode. Faulkner should have been Iron Chef last year and this year. YOu suck Food Network.

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