Shocking to say the least, Chef Elizabeth Falkner’s elimination last Sunday night was downright powerful and emotional, not only for Chef Falkner, her fellow chefs and the judges, but also you, Next Iron Chef fans. After all, given her string of successful Showdown wins and a first-place finish in the Chairman’s Challenge of Transformation, Chef Falkner seemed to be on the fast track to Redemption glory, and fans were just waiting for her to finally claim the title of The Next Iron Chef. On Sunday, however, things took a troublesome turn and, in a moment of striking déjà vu, she crumbled in the Chairman’s ingredient auction and a head-to-head Showdown against the rival she had chosen, just like Chef Anne Burrell did in this challenge last season. Despite a smart Caesar salad and fried anchovies, Chef Falkner was told that she would not become The Next Iron Chef, and within minutes, fans Tweeted @FoodNetwork and took to our Facebook timeline and blog to express their disappointment, confusion and sadness over her early exit.
Questioning Chef Falkner’s quick decline on the road to redemption, K. Patrice Williams posted a comment on Facebook (pictured above) that speaks to both Chef Falkner’s highest and lowest moments of the competition. “I can believe I cried when they eliminated her. I’m still shocked. I was convinced she was going to be The Next Iron Chef. How does someone [go from making] the best dessert any of the judges have ever tasted to getting eliminated the next week?” she wondered, echoing the sentiments of fellow Falkner fans.
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All month long, Food Network has a bunch of holiday episodes and specials that are sure to give you some great ideas for celebrating the holidays. This weekend it’s all about entertaining family members and dear friends. Visit with Ree, Trisha and Giada as they show you how they celebrate with their loved ones. From Rachael you’ll get five great dinner recipes that you can rely on when entertaining this season. And finally, if you’re looking for the best cookie and cake recipes to serve for dessert, the chefs from All-Star Cookies and The Best Thing I Ever Made have you covered.
If you missed any of last week’s holiday episodes, be sure to check out our Program Guide to see when they air again.
The Pioneer Woman: “Christmas Is Coming“
Join the Drummond family on their ranch to see how they celebrate Christmas over three days. Ree makes Rigatoni and Meatballs, which is the perfect meal to enjoy after the work of trimming the tree. On Christmas Eve, Chocolate Mint Brownie Bites are put out for Santa in case he gets tired of all those cookies. And for a traditional ranch-style Christmas Day brunch, it’s Drop Biscuits and Sausage Gravy.
Tune in: Saturday, December 8 at 10:30am/9:30c
More holiday episodes from Trisha, Giada and Rachael
In a special holiday episode of Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine takes on one of his biggest missions to date. In the spirit of giving back, Robert travels to Joplin, Mo., to revitalize a Boys & Girls Club that served as a safe house after one of the deadliest tornadoes ever hit the town.
Robert’s challenge has two parts. First, he must transform the club into a space that’s inviting for kids and adults alike — all in only three days. Second, Robert must cook a thank-you dinner for 1,000 volunteers in just five hours — luckily he has help from Chef Michael Chiarello and the Dinner: Impossible crew. With a $30,000 budget, this mission will transform not only the club, but the lives of the people who were affected by the natural disaster.
Tune in: Sunday, December 9 at 10pm/9c
Click here to make a donation to the Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Missouri, then read how you can help the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
In this bracket challenge, you voted for the secret ingredient you thought was the hardest to work with in the past four seasons of The Next Iron Chef. In Round 1, you had to narrow down eight ingredients to four. In Round 2, you had to choose the two finalists. In the Finals, you chose the winner.
Click to find out what secret ingredient won
Facing the imminent closure of their 11-year-old restaurant, Bronk’s Bar and Grill, husband and wife owners, Erik and Tracy Brunkow, turned to Robert Irvine for help in saving their business. This Lake City, Minn., eatery had been serving dishes made mostly from frozen food in an out-of-date, unadorned space, but thanks to Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team, it reopened with a fresh menu and vibrant decor to match. We checked in with Erik a few months after the transformation to see how Bronk’s is doing now.
Immediately after the renovation, sales at Bronk’s grew significantly, doubling during weekdays and tripling on weekends. Erik says that customers have come from near and far to see and taste the changes, and everyone is wowed by the updated decor. “They say it’s brighter, fresher and more open,” he explains. “People are noticing our tin ceiling all of a sudden, which was there originally.”
Bronk’s is still serving the updated menu exclusively, and Erik notes that they’re using only fresh, never-frozen ingredients. He adds that the specialty sauces that Robert created have been extremely well-received by diners. “People want us to bottle them and sell them at the store.”
Get your sweet tooth on with new holiday episodes of Cupcake Wars and Sweet Genius, premiering this Thursday.
Cupcake Wars: Cupcakes on Parade
Four bakers compete for the opportunity to serve their cupcake creations at a VIP party for the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Parade in Chicago.
Tune in: Thursday, December 6 at 8pm/7c
Get in the spirit with Sweet Genius, too
Is it possible to make something delicious from a can of food? Last week FN Dish editors challenged you to a pantry cook-off to find out what dish you would make out of ordinary canned foods. It was a challenge inspired by Episode 4 of The Next Iron Chef, where the chefs had to transform a chosen canned food into something worth plating for the judges. In the end, most of the chefs were successful in the challenge, even those who chose cans labeled with question marks. But what can the average person at home create with canned foods? You voted for the ingredient you would choose to cook with and then told us the dish you would make.
Find out which ingredient was your top choice and who won the challenge
The 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.
Keep reading and get an extended preview of the next episode
The fifth season of The Next Iron Chef: Redemption is in full swing with now only six familiar chefs battling it out again to prove they’ve got the skills to win the ultimate prize: the title of Iron Chef.
Each chef will try to pull out all their tricks to stay in the competition but, ultimately, one chef must go home each week. Every Sunday, FN Dish brings you exclusive exit interviews with the latest chef to go home.
SPOILER ALERT: Find out who went home
We’re only halfway through this unprecedented season of The Next Iron Chef: Redemption, and it’s already proven to be one for the ages. In just four short weeks, we’ve witnessed the first Chairman’s Challenge in which the rivals have cooked with their secret ingredients before, Kitchen Stadium’s very first food fight and an unparalleled chef alliance that left the judges’ panel a bit miffed and two rivals on the brink of elimination. When it comes to battling for redemption, nothing is predictable.
With all of the drama unfolding week after week, you can be sure that we’ve collected a now-overflowing batch of images that captures the most-memorable unfoldings from these unforgettable episodes. Want to relive the craziest moments of Next Iron Chef so far? Check out this season-in-review photo gallery and see just what this year’s group of rivals has been up to in the competition.
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