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Simon’s Top 10 Dishes From The Next Iron Chef: Redemption

by in Shows, December 26th, 2012

Chef Estes' Clam ChowderAs Chef Guarnaschelli dons her jacket and prepares for her first battle this Sunday as a fully fledged Iron Chef, I now have a chance to look back over the last eight weeks and select my highlights from the nearly 100 dishes that were placed in front of the judges during the competition.

It’s certainly no easy task, as I genuinely believe that the level of cooking this year was even higher than in previous seasons. But I’ve come up with my list of the top 10 tastes from The Next Iron Chef: Redemption.

10. Clam Chowder: Chef Estes (Road to Redemption Web Series, Battle Potato)

Chef Estes never really showed her considerable skill to the best effect this season. The clam chowder (pictured above) she prepared in the cook-off competition against Chef Wong, however, was evidence that she deserved her place in the final 10. If you’re going to serve chowder to the judges, it had better be the best you’ve made. I suspect this was pretty close and it received rave reviews from Alton Brown, Iron Chef Jose Garces and me.

Find out which dish made Simon’s top spot

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It All Came Down to a Cherry Tart — Critical Moments

by in Shows, December 24th, 2012

Chefs Freitag and GuarnaschelliIt was clear from the very first taste of Chef Freitag’s Lusty Lemon Chicken that she was going to be the first rival chef to reach Kitchen Stadium. It really was that good. But deciding who would be joining her would prove to be much more difficult.

I very much liked Chef Appleman’s use of haddock (chosen by me because of my love for fish and chips) in his chowder, but agreed with my colleagues that it lacked the advertised smoked element. Similarly, while we all thought that Chef Guarnaschelli’s dish of sea urchin was elegant, it definitely lacked the acidity that it needed to bring out the depth of flavor of the seafood. It was close, but in the end Chef Guarnaschelli took the second spot in Kitchen Stadium.

Both these chefs deserved their places in the finale, and to make sure that the long-standing Iron Chefs had their say in the final decision, Bobby Flay, Michael Symon and Masaharu Morimoto helped swell the ranks at the judges’ table. In honor of the Iron Chefs, the Chairman revealed the Secret Ingredients on the altar, which represented each of them and the cuisines they specialize in.

Keep reading

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In Their Own Words: Next Iron Chef Rivals’ Journals Revealed

by in Shows, December 24th, 2012

The Next Iron Chef: Redemption JournalHave you ever wondered what the Next Iron Chef: Redemption rivals were thinking when, on the first episode, they opened their coolers on the beach to find fateful ingredients from battles past? Or when in episode 4, they entered the kitchen to find an altar of canned products? Have you wondered how they felt when their friends and fellow chefs were eliminated after hard-fought battles, or simply how they managed to stay organized and efficient within the chaos of cooking under pressure?

Before filming began for the season, each rival was given a journal to use during the competition, and it was in these personal notebooks that the chefs shared their ideas for challenges, reflections on eliminations, plus must-have ingredient lists, inspirational reminders and more, week after week. Their handwritten notes, some beautifully legible in colorful markers and others scrawled in barely recognizable penmanship, tell their stories on the road to redemption, and at the end, create a scrapbook of sorts of their time in the competition.

Want to see what each rival wrote in his or her journal? Flip through the below photo galleries to get an insider’s look at actual pages from their journals plus behind-the-scenes photos from some of their most memorable challenges and showdowns.

Read more

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Chatting With The Next Iron Chef: Redemption Winner

by in Shows, December 23rd, 2012

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.

Sunday night’s final episode brought three of the most talented chefs together for two final battles. The first battle would eliminate one chef (read the exclusive interview from that chef); the two remaining chefs were then sent to Kitchen Stadium for the ultimate battle that celebrated three long-standing Iron Chefs and would determine The Next Iron Chef. And the winner is …

SPOILER ALERT: Find out who won

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Chatting With the Next Iron Chef: Redemption Runner-Up

by in Shows, December 23rd, 2012

The Next Iron Chef: Redemption FinaleThe 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. This week we said goodbye to two (read exclusive exit interviews).

SPOILER ALERT: Find out who went home

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Chatting With the Latest Next Iron Chef: Redemption Exile

by in Shows, December 23rd, 2012

The Next Iron Chef: Redemption FinaleThe 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.

Find out who went home

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Simon Says: Judge Simon Majumdar’s Best One-Liners From The Next Iron Chef

by in Shows, December 23rd, 2012

Simon Majumdar

There’s no question that this season of The Next Iron Chef: Redemption has been one of Food Network’s most-intense culinary competitions to date. After all, 10 superstar chefs have put their personal and professional reputations on the line — for a second time — in the hopes of making gastronomical history by claiming the only title that matters: that of The Next Iron Chef. Week after week rivals fall and their hopes at achieving redemption become crushed in an instant.

Despite the anxious, pressure cooker-like challenges and Showdowns in which the chefs inevitably find themselves, judge Simon Majumdar has managed to interject a host of witty, well-timed reactions and one-liners that delivered some of the smartest and flat-out funniest moments of the show. Among his best instances of constructive and comedic criticism have been his reaction to Chef Spike Mendelsohn’s use of an apparently juvenile melon baller — he quipped that “We are talking about becoming The Next Iron Chef, not The Next Home Dinner Party Cook” — and his judgment of Alex Guarnaschelli’s too-green spiced ham ravioli, which he deemed reminiscent of “Kermit in a blender.” These sharp, entertaining remarks have provided some of the most LOL-worthy moments of the season to date, and what makes them perhaps even more hilarious is that they’re coming from Simon, a notoriously no-nonsense judge with little tolerance for less than perfection.

Get the best one-liners

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VOTE: A Next Iron Chef Three-Way Bacon Cook-Off — Rival Recipes

by in Shows, December 22nd, 2012

A Next Iron Chef Three-Way Bacon Cook-Off - Rival RecipesBacon was the name of the game on last Sunday’s episode of The Next Iron Chef: Redemption, as the final four rivals were challenged to transcend the everyday Las Vegas buffet by creating a five-course buffet offering with bacon at the forefront. Teammates Nate Appleman and Amanda Freitag embraced the test wholeheartedly, featuring an easy-to-eat spread complete with bite-sized dishes and Sin City-inspired plates alike. Chefs Alex Guarnaschelli and Marcel Vigneron had buffets on the brain when they imagined their French-style feast, but a few technical flaws forced them into a Secret Ingredient Showdown. In the end, it was Chef Guarnaschelli who survived to cook in the upcoming finale episode alongside Chefs Appleman and Freitag, after a raw rack of lamb proved to be Chef Vigneron’s undoing.

In this week’s installment of Rival Recipes, we’re putting the focus back on everyone’s favorite pork product and asking the top three finale-bound chefs to bring their best bacon-centered bites to battle. Chef Appleman has chosen to use pancetta (Italian cured bacon) in his big-batch side dish of Roasted Green Beans With Pancetta and Yogurt, while Chefs Guarnaschelli and Freitag are letting bacon shine in an appetizer and main dish, respectively. Chef Guarnaschelli’s recipe for Flatbread With Bacon and Scallion Pesto uses thin slices of thick-cut bacon to finish a lemon zest-topped dough, while Chef Freitag’s Bacon-Wrapped New York Trout With Brussels Sprouts and Mustard Sauce features a bacon blanket and classic Italian seasonings.

VOTE NOW

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Raise the Bar — The Next Iron Chef Caption It

by in Shows, December 21st, 2012

Donatella ArpaiaAfter eight weeks on the road to redemption, just one battle stands between the final three rivals, Chefs Nate Appleman, Amanda Freitag and Alex Guarnaschelli, and the culinary kingdom that is Kitchen Stadium. Of course the stakes have been high throughout the competition, as it’s the nature of the Redemption beast for chefs to be eliminated each week, but come Sunday, the rivals are put to the ultimate test in a last-supper challenge, one that will require them to bring their A games if they want to make their dreams of total redemption reality.

The judges’ panel on The Next Iron Chef has made known what they want to see from the chefs’ challenge offerings: elegant, sophisticated plating techniques, unparalleled creativity, expert use of the Secret Ingredient and, of course, ingenious flavor profiles. But looking at the sneak-peek image above from Sunday’s finale episode, it seems as though judge Donatella Arpaia is suggesting that these elements are not enough anymore — that in this all-important finale, the remaining rivals must raise the bar to new levels of Iron Chef-worthy greatness if they want to cook in Kitchen Stadium. Do you think Donatella is referring to one chef’s approach to challenges in particular? Which rival do you think is most in jeopardy of not earning a place among the final two?

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Get a Sneak Peek of Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off Season 2

by in Shows, December 21st, 2012

If you can’t wait until January 6 to start watching the new season of Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off, then today is your lucky day. FN Dish has a sneak peek just for you (click the play button above to watch).

As you’ll see, Season 2 has got a lot more to it than just cooking. These celebrities are in for a ride.

Don’t forget to tune in on Sunday, January 6 at 9pm/8c to watch the premiere. And keep coming back to FN Dish for exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes previews.