I have to admit that doing The Next Iron Chef was nerve-racking, but I took away great friendships and an experience I’ll always remember. Cooking can be so subjective and culinary arts have never been a competitive sport for me; this was different from anything I’d ever done.
I felt confident about my dish, Grilled Duck Breast with Green Papaya and Mango. It was familiar and comfortable, and represented one aspect of my cooking style. In retrospect, I could have made something more intricate, with a higher level of skill to impress, but my strategy for the first challenge was to rely more on technique and stay within my comfort zone.
We cooked on a grill out on the beach. Too bad, because I was pleased overall with the dish, and think it would have been a total success if I had more control over my equipment.
I would tell any chef wanting to get into this that they will benefit from the challenge of the show, but at the same time I would warn them to not take themselves too seriously. Enjoy the wonderful relationships you’ll make with other chefs from around the country. And have fun; you’re on television. I just wish I’d been able to compete longer so people could have really gotten to know me, both personally and professionally. Having said that, I hope people will come to Wilshire Restaurant and sample my goods!
–Chef Andrew Kirschner