Tag: Next Iron Chef

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Next Iron Chef: Under Pressure

by in Shows, October 15th, 2010

In Episode Two's diner challenge, Chef Dumont used a pressure cooker for the first time to cook her one-hour pot roast. What went wrong?

Because of the crazy time constraints on Iron Chef, pressure cookers get used more there than on possibly any other show we do. (And definitely more than in your average restaurant kitchen—chefs tell us all the time that they’d never used one before ICA.)

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Next Iron Chef Exit Interview: For Chef Pagan, An “Amazing Ride”

by in Shows, October 11th, 2010
Chef Mario Pagan on the meatloaf that sent him home: "I felt that having been given the most labor-intensive dish, I did a good job."

FN Dish: What did you take away from the experience of competing on The Next Iron Chef?
Mario Pagan: Competing in The Next Iron Chef has been the most amazing and exciting highlight of my career! It’s an honor to have been picked as one of the ten best chefs in the United States. Being amongst so many talented chefs is an opportunity that is hard to come by.

Dish: How did you feel about the meatloaf and potatoes dish that sent you home when you presented it?
M.P.: I felt that having been given the most labor-intensive dish, I did a good job.

Dish: If you could have a do-over, what would you change about that fateful dish?
M.P.: If I had to do it all over again, I have to say that I should have used arrowroot instead of cornstarch to thicken my sauce.

Dish: What advice would you give future Next Iron Chef contestants?
M.P.:
The best advice that I can give is to make sure to pick your proteins first and then set up your “mise en place” for your planned dish. Ask for the remaining time in the battle at all times. But, until you’re there, you’ll never understand the overwhelming feeling of being in that kitchen. What an amazing ride! Stay and cook strong!

Look inside Chef Pagan’s Next Iron Chef journal and flip through our behind-the-scenes gallery from Episode 2.

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Critical Moments: Pot Pie Redux vs. Poached Meatloaf on Next Iron Chef

by in Shows, October 11th, 2010
Judge Simon Majumdar’s Take: “Chef Forgione’s Chicken Pot Pie was, to my mind, one of the top dishes of the whole competition.”

Next Iron Chef judge Simon Majumdar joins us on the FN Dish each week to share his insider’s take on what went down Sunday night.

There was definitely more tension in the air as the chefs presented to the judges for a second time. They had seen Chef Kirschner suffer an unexpectedly rapid exit and knew for certain that one mistake could be enough to send them home.

My fellow judges had also begun to show their true colors. Michael Symon was the supportive former competitor and Donatella, the stern den mother who scored high for presentation. We agreed on one thing however, above all the food had to taste good. Otherwise all bets were off.

Chef Forgione’s deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie was, to my mind, one of the top dishes of the whole competition. I had no hesitation putting a big fat “W” next to his name as the winner and have been daydreaming about it ever since.

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Big Popularity Contest

by in Shows, October 8th, 2010

Don’t pretend that you’re above it – none of us are immune. Even though we’re mature adults working in the real world, there is still that potential to have a “big man on campus” or experience “cheerleader envy” with coworkers. Is there someone winning the popularity contest at your workplace? I like to think I’m winning at Food Network’s offices.

Now, with that mindset, let’s look at the chefs competing this season in The Next Iron Chef. Who do you want to win this thing? I don’t want you to vote based on who has the better credentials and who can best give Bobby and Morimoto a run for their money – that’s what Michael, Donatella and Simon are there for. I want you to go back to your high school days when nothing else mattered but who was the coolest, who had the best personality and hair, and OK, for this particular vote, maybe who poses best holding a knife. (Oh, I’ve just noticed Chef Forgione has no knife in his picture. But still, he has a mohawk and that alone is enough to get my vote.)

Popularity Contest a/k/a Fan Vote
Yes, they all have talent. But, who is the most popular?

If the chefs themselves were voting, clearly Chef Tsai would be their prom king. He seems to have everyone a bit intimidated.

Vote now, then tell me who you voted for below (and the silly reason why you chose your chef).

Be sure and watch Episode 2 this Sunday at 9pm/8c (then vote even more). Like high school (and the workplace), who is popular and who is not can change from day to day (or episode to episode).

 

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Next Iron Chef: Duskie’s Pineapple Problem

by in Shows, October 7th, 2010
The enzymes in pineapple were responsible for Chef Estes' mushy pork, says our resident food science guru Alton Brown

Before our 10 rivals landed in L.A. to compete on The Next Iron Chef, each was asked what ingredient they couldn’t live without on a desert island. And what do you know? The chefs’ answers (ranging from corn and limes to chicken and whole pigs) determined their secret ingredient in the very first episode.

While Chef Duskie Estes had done so well in the first round, winning the sandwich challenge, her elimination-round meal landed her in the bottom three. Instead of utilizing the whole pig she received, she ended up preparing only a few cubes of skewered pork loin for her suckling pig surf-and-turf dish. While all the judges loved the broth and seafood components of her dish, even pork-obsessed Iron Chef Michael Symon said he thought the dish would be better without the pork, which tasted mushy—a secret ingredient failure.

What was the problem? Alton Brown mentioned the effect of the enzymes in pineapple on meats. Chef Estes said she thought the pineapple would make a good marinade, and she wasn’t entirely wrong. Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which actually breaks down proteins and can have great tenderizing properties. She selected the pork loin because it was the fastest-cooking cut of meat on the pig, but didn’t take into consideration that it was also the leanest, most tender, and most likely to completely break down from the pineapple’s enzymes.

Had Chef Estes chosen a tougher cut of meat, the pineapple may have worked better as the tenderizing marinade she envisioned. Fortunately for Duskie, this “fundamental flaw,” as the judges called it, did not send her home this round.

–Victoria Kabakian

Don’t let Chef Estes’ mushy pork scare you off from cooking with pineapple. Try one of these five-star recipes that showcase the fruit in delicious ways:

Check out all the rivals’ dishes in our behind-the-scenes photo gallery from Episode One.

Which rival chef do you think will get foiled this Sunday? Don’t miss The Next Iron Chef  at 9pm/8c.

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Critical Moments: Scorching Peppers Are No Laughing Matter on The Next Iron Chef

by in Shows, October 4th, 2010
Simon Majumdar (second from right) enjoys a break from the seriousness of his first day as a judge on The Next Iron Chef.

Next Iron Chef judge Simon Majumdar joins us on the FN Dish each week to share his insider’s take on what went down Sunday night.

The task that lay ahead of the judges became apparent the moment the contestants for Season Three of The Next Iron Chef were introduced. All were serious players and every one had a chance of making it to Kitchen Stadium.

The first challenge gave the chefs a chance to show us their chops, or indeed their corn, limes, fish or whatever ingredient they had offered up when asked what their desert island “must have” would be. Some might have regretted their enthusiasm once they knew they had only an hour to show their chosen item to its best effect while battling blowing sand and the encroaching waves.

The end results caused much discussion amongst the judges. Chef Tsai was a unanimous winner, but who was to be eliminated provided a more heated argument. Iron Chef Symon finally gave Chef Pagan a pass for having sand in his dish and he survived. So too did Chef Estes, but only by the skin of her teeth, and very possibly because we were already a bit scared of her.

That left Chef Andrew Kirschner, whose food I admire, to be the first to hear the dreaded words “You will not be the next Iron Chef.” A great shame, but that’s what you get for serving fatty duck and trying to blow Donatella’s head off with a hot pepper.

Look inside Chef Kirschner’s Next Iron Chef journal and flip through our behind-the-scenes gallery from Episode 1.

More about Simon Majumdar:
Simon’s Website
Simon’s book, Eat My Globe
Follow @SimonMajumdar on Twitter

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Next Iron Chef Exit Interview: Chef Kirschner, First to Go

by in Shows, October 4th, 2010
Chef Andrew Kirschner's advice to future Next Iron Chef rivals: "Have fun; you’re on television."

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

Look inside Chef Kirschner’s Next Iron Chef journal and flip through our behind-the-scenes gallery from Episode 1.

More about Chef Kirschner:
Wilshire Restaurant on Facebook
Follow @wilshirerest on Twitter

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Judge’s Tables: Next Iron Chef’s Donatella Arpaia, Pizza and Prime Time

by in News, Shows, October 1st, 2010
Next Iron Chef Judge Donatella Arpaia--courtesy Caroline Owens
Next Iron Chef Judge Donatella Arpaia looks relaxed--but she's in the midst of super-busy times.

No matter how you slice it, this is an exciting moment for New York City restaurateur Donatella Arpaia. Doors opened this past week to her eponymously named pizzeria, Donatella, and Sunday starts her reprise run as a judge on the new season of The Next Iron Chef. “Donatella is my most personal project to date–it’s the first to carry my name. I wanted to create a rustic but glam environment and to use authentic ingredients,” says the attorney-turned-culinary-mogul and author of Donatella Cooks. “For some time I’ve wanted to go back to my roots, so I traveled to Naples and had in mind that I wanted to make the most authentic Neapolitan pizza possible.”

Donatella and her chefs traveled to Naples, where she spent summers in her youth, returning with tried-and-true artisanal techniques, ingredients (Caputo flour for the pies), and volcanic salt, sand and rock from Mount Vesuvius for the gilded wood-firing oven. It’s early, but her efforts are paying off with a big dose of attention to her plate-sized pies and antipasti (see for yourself at Zagat, Eater and Slice). “I didn’t really understand that other people are as obsessed with pizza as I am,” she says.

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The Rumors Are True…

by in View All Posts, April 21st, 2009

Yes, I am here to tell you that Food Network WILL, in fact, be premiering an entire series with Brian Boitano this August.

Yes, Brian Boitano the figure skater.

Yes, THIS Brian Boitano:

Image Credit: www.skateworld.co.uk

The series is tentatively titled, What Would Brian Boitano Make? You may be thinking to yourself, “that sounds vaguely familiar…” And, I’m here to confirm that YES, the inspiration came from the famous South Park song, “What Would Brian Bointano Do?” (There is no official confirmation yet, but I’m pretty sure there will be less cursing from the Food Network version.) Here’s the description from our programming department:

WHAT WOULD BRIAN BOITANO MAKE?
Everyone knows Brian Boitano won an Olympic gold medal in figure skating. What they don’t know: Brian is an accomplished cook who loves to entertain! In this new series, Brian takes viewers on a reality cooking adventure as he creates amazing food for a new event in each episode. Funny, knowledgeable and irresistible, Brian brings himself and so much more to What Would Brian Boitano Make?

And now that I have your full attention (and in some cases, full confusion), check out the rest of the 2009-2010 Food Network line-up that was announced just this afternoon:

CHEFS VS CITY (WT)
Premieres: July 2009
Acclaimed chefs Chris Cosentino and Aaron Sanchez are pitted against two local foodies in a winner-takes-all race through a different city each week, through the most fascinating, unusual food locations. Each team begins with a clue leading them to their first food challenge. Challenges could include everything from wine stomping to the eating the spiciest chili west of the Mississippi to diving for sea urchins! The five challenges take the chefs and foodies on an adrenaline-charged, food-lovers tour of each city, and once complete, it’s a sprint to the finish line to see if the locals can protect their home turf or if the Food Network chefs can conquer a new city.

EXTREME CUISINE WITH JEFF CORWIN
Premieres: September 2009
Renowned for his expertise in wildlife and conservation, Jeff Corwin sets his sights on exploring human culture through regional cuisine in his first Food Network endeavor: Extreme Cuisine with Jeff Corwin. With an open mind (and mouth), this thrilling primetime series follows the passionate foodie and anthropologist as he tears through countries like Thailand, Mexico, Greece, and Peru on radical culinary adventures. Learning from the natives, he samples the exotic foods and local customs that mold each community. Jeff enjoys countless surprises and unforgettable flavors during this fun-filled culinary quest – all in a day’s work!

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