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The fifth season of The Next Iron Chef: Redemption was full of ups and downs, but one thing is for sure: All eight chefs redeemed themselves in one way or another.
Every week, each chef tried to pull out all their tricks to stay in the competition but, ultimately, one chef went home each week. Read the exclusive exit interview of the first chef to say goodbye during the final episode below.
Coming off a win in the last challenge with his partner Chef Amanda Freitag, Chef Appleman was confident he’d make it to Kitchen Stadium — but he was just one dish short of ending up there. The final three chefs were tasked with creating the judges’ last meals. Chef Appleman was assigned Simon Majumdar’s last supper ingredient: haddock. While they enjoyed his haddock chowder, the judges considered it one-note and too light. Chef Nate Appleman said goodbye to the possibility of becoming The Next Iron Chef in this final episode.
The first challenge in the final episode was Passion and you had to create the judge’s last meal. What would your last supper be and why?
NA: Fried chicken and chocolate chip cookies with a burger on the side. Not one of those chef burgers, but a really well-made diner burger.
Throughout the competition, you always played a fair game and cooked your own food. What are two rules you always live by when cooking?
NA: I like to cook food that is craveable, simple and familiar, not too crazy but slightly different than what people expect. You are only as good as your weakest cook in the kitchen, so I do whatever I can to make everyone better around me.
We saw you help Chef Freitag twice in the competition: once to unlock her ice cream machine and again to explain how to crack open her wheel of Parmesan cheese. In the buffet challenge, she picked you as her teammate. Was there an Appleman-Freitag alliance that we didn’t know about?
NA: No alliance at all. We are good friends, but as competitors that friendship goes out the window. I believe Chef Freitag picked me as her teammate because I showed during the competition that I always played a fair game and respected all the other chefs.
You were just one battle short of a Kitchen Stadium finale. Do you consider yourself redeemed? Have clams become your new redemption ingredient?
NA: I definitely feel redeemed. I cooked to the best of my ability and I am very proud of how far I made it and the dishes I cooked. Clams don’t stand in my way!
What was it like watching the first-ever all-female finale battle?
NA: I don’t see it as a female-male thing — I look at them as chefs.
How has this experience changed you? What’s next for you?
NA: It’s just another great life experience. I’ll continue cooking and working hard on raising awareness for research for the Kawasaki Disease Foundation.
Read more about Chef Nate Appleman
Relive the final episode (click the play button):