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. Chris says:

    Ah the more things change the more things stay the same here in the peanut gallery. I remember reading comments last season boo hooing that Zakarian was favored over Falkner and everyone else and that "I'm never watching this show again". Seems like all the whiners came back. Here's the thing with NIC, you screw up once at the wrong time and you're gone. There isn't a running score where you keep your rankings every week. As Simon said, it was a split vote. Two judges thought Falkner used too much saffron, one felt that the anchovies taste was non existent. 2-1, Falkner loses. Funny how commentators here who are not even tasting the food feel that they are qualified to judge who should be the NIC.

    • Episode 5 says:

      Obviously viewers can't actually taste the food being judged however it is viewers who watch ICA and keep the NIC at their posts. So yes, viewers are qualified to judge who should be the NIC and create comments because they are the individuals turning the channel.

    • Andrea says:

      1) Chef Falkner has a ton of fans, so you have no idea who's commenting now vs. then.
      2) Most of us feel that a non-existent secret ingredient is more egregious than too much saffron, so 2-1 doesn't hold.
      3) Why do you bother watching food contests if you can't taste anything?

      • Hey says:

        You can't taste anything shown on tv so why bother watching tv? With television you can only see and listen to it so no viewers aren't qualified to judge the actual competion because they can't taste what's being made. However if you're commenting on the blog obviously you watch the show and have an opinion. And as a viewer and commentator you have a right to express your thoughts on the shows you watch–if you pay for them and take out time to watch, yes. No tv show would be successful without viewers and viewers opinions do sway even reality tv shows such as cooking competions.

    • Joel says:

      The other problem is that the "screw up" is subjective. Mehta making a flat, bland souffle is a pretty monumental error. Name one iron chef that makes bland food, and on a risk challenge? He is clearly still in the running.

      Oh, and we already know that making a souffle in 25 minutes is completely possible, because Falkner herself did it last year, to perfection, and with tuna jerky (and Zacharian followed in her footsteps in the exact same episode). Mehta failed on a plain souffle, without having to deal with the likes of tuna jerky, in the same amount of time. On a risk challenge, shouldn't making "bland" food be a tremendous "screw-up"?

      There were other screw ups. The thing is, the judges get to decide whose is "at the wrong time," and they again have showed that not following the challenge of the day won't actually hurt you. If risk would have been considered a prerequisite in this challenge, or if they would have even given tangible points for risk, Falkner would have had so many more risk points than anyone else it wouldn't have been comparable. The fact that the taste of the rest of her dish was universally successful would have given her more than enough points to supplement.

      Call it whining if you want, but the only real standard the judges really seem to have is taste. So those who follow the challenges (especially when the theme of the day is "Risk") are being put at a tremendous disadvantage. Simon said it himself on his twitter feed. It all really comes down to taste. The judges should be clear about this, so that all chefs can just put out their best food. Then those trying to fully embody what they were asked to do wouldn't end up paying the price to not gain anything tangibly.

  2. anonymous says:

    My kids and I watch this show. It is very obvious that Chef Alex is favored no matter what she does. She said her risk to steal was the risk she took. She should have been eliminated for that, but it is very apparent she is Chef Z favorite, although not deserving. We are rethinking about watching this show and will not watch Iron Chef if Chef Alex is the next IC.

    • Leslie says:

      I'm in full agreement with this!!!! It seems with having Chef Z a judge is absolutely over the top not ok. I would be able to take the competition seriously if Chef Z wasn't a judge. I don't believe he has any objectivity with regard to Alex.

  3. MamaLBird says:

    Sad to see Chef Faulker leave – who by the way is very talented. I didn't believe in her during the early parts of the show last year but made me a believer towards the end. She's such a badass in the kitchen (in a good way)

    Chef Z should not be the judge because of his connections with Alex and Amanda. It seems that every episode, he has nothing bad to say about Chef Alex. Talk about being fair….

  4. Brett says:

    I think you guys really screwed up & I'm not sure the rest of the season is worth watching.
    Simon's love of his boyhood memories(?) of Spain made him love Nate's dish so much he voted against Elizabeth who is obviously the Iron Chef amongst the group you have.

  5. Janet says:

    We don't for one minute think Amanda Freitag nor Alex Guarnaschelli are better cooks than Chef Falkner, it must be nice to be best Buddy's with one of the Judges (Geoffrey Zakarian) How fair is this?

  6. Mike and Janet says:

    P.S. We will not be watching this channel again especially if Alex Guarnaschelli win's, with her buddy Geoffrey Zakarian voting her in this is fixed, they elimited the most entertaining people right away and now they are down to the boring personilitys, The Iron Chef show's are boring except for Simon, it would have been nice to have had another person with personility as a Iron Chef.
    People this is Fixed as was last years contest.

    • Alaskamilf says:

      The fix is Donatella trying to get as many male chefs thrown out so the finale has 2 female cooks to ensure the next Iron Chef is a woman…

  7. Alaskamilf says:

    For all here supporting Falkner – please fry up some paiche grande fish scales for your next big holiday meal and serve it to your loved ones.

    Let me know how that works out for you…

    • Mariebb23 says:

      The fish scales is not what people are upset about…well mostly. It's the secret ingredient showdown that didn't make sense. I agree using the scales was odd, but there were other chefs who should've been at the bottom, such as Alex.

  8. Dish says:

    How do you know she's lying if you can't taste the dish?

  9. kasxyz says:

    I couldn't stand chef faulkner and I'm glad she's gone! Team Alex all the way!!!

  10. MoHub says:

    His name is Appleman.

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