Alex Guarnaschelli on the Secret to Iron Chef Success, the Mistakes She Won’t Forgive and a Certain Risotto by Bobby Flayby Maria Russo in Food Network Chef, Shows, May 12th, 2017
After competing in not one but two seasons of The Next Iron Chef, Alex Guarnaschelli ultimately earned the coveted title in December of 2012, which means she’s all too familiar with the nerves and hopes the remaining Iron Chef Gauntlet contestants are feeling right now. On Sunday, she and Ching-He Huang will come together to judge the final Secret Ingredient Showdown, an all-important battle, as it’s the last before one challenger advances to the gauntlet.
We chatted with Alex to find out what it’s like for her to reenter the world of Iron Chef, not as a competitor this time but as a judge. It turns out, though, that being on the other side of the table doesn’t eliminate her anxieties. “I still get up in the middle of the night and have night sweats from this competition,” she told us. Taking on this role, however, means that she will expect exemplary work, especially when so much is on the line. Read on below to get her take in this exclusive one-on-one interview.
You know better than most what it’s like to both compete on and judge Iron Chef. What’s it like to be back in this world?
Alex Guarnaschelli: I still get up in the middle of the night and have night sweats from this competition, like, “The eggplant is overcooked!” The tagline was, and is, “The only title that matters.” And I think that really is still true. I think people still feel that way. It’s very iconic, and I don’t think that ever dissipates with time. And I think it’s been napping gently under a tree, and now it’s time to wake up.