Canned foods: the pantry staple that everyone loves to hate. Professional chefs tend to stay away from these packaged, preserved goodies since fresh is always best, so last Sunday when the Chairman presented the Next Iron Chef: Redemption rivals with an altar of canned meats and seafood, they were anything but excited. Although all of the rivals ultimately rose to the occasion, Chef Spike Mendelsohn’s and Chef Marcel Vigneron’s dishes left something to be desired, and their canned Vienna sausage – and clam-inspired offerings, respectively, were deemed the weakest of the day.
In this week’s installment of Rival Recipes, we’re giving Chef Spike a chance to redeem himself with perhaps the most-popular canned ingredient: tomatoes. Like in the Chairman’s Challenge, he and his cook-off competitor, Chef Elizabeth Falkner, must look beyond tomatoes as they are in the can and imagine them as something greater, the star of a refined dish.
Chef Spike lets canned tomato sauce shine in his hearty, comforting, all-American Uncle D’s Chili, named after his Uncle Denny, while Chef Elizabeth pairs canned San Marzano tomatoes with Italian flavors in her Minestrone soup. Both bowls are packed with fill-you-up beans and bold spices, but Chef Spike’s is packed with beefy meat, bell peppers and barbecue sauce and Chef Elizabeth’s is vegetarian, filled instead with celery, carrots and haricots verts.
After last week’s doozy of a Secret Ingredient Showdown in which Chefs Spike Mendelsohn and Marcel Vigneron threw caution to the wind and presented to the judges as The Next Iron Chef‘s first-ever alliance, some fans may be ready for a return to Redemption normalcy, or at least some semblance of predictability. But with just six finalists remaining and the Chairman’s dreaded ingredient auction looming, the competition is just heating up and the next episodes will be the most-shocking yet as the chefs are faced with do-or-die challenges and last chances for success.
No stranger to either high or low moments of The Next Iron Chef, host Alton has witnessed all of the most-unforgettable moments in Kitchen Stadium and surely knows what the rivals should — and should not — be thinking, doing and cooking at this stage of their journey. In the above sneak-peek shot from Sunday’s new episode, Alton seems to have pulled Chef Nate Appleman aside to share a quick bit of information intended for his ears only. What do you think Alton is dishing about in his one-on-one chat with Chef Nate? Where are the other rivals, and why aren’t they privy to what Alton has to say?
Before you tune in this Sunday at 9pm/8c to watch what happens next, we’re challenging you, Next Iron Chef fans, to write your best captions (tastefully appropriate, please) for this secretive moment in the comments below.
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Something unprecedented happened on this past Sunday’s episode of The Next Iron Chef. For the first time in Kitchen Stadium, two chefs chose to plate together, which led to their dishes being judged side by side. Was it a good or bad decision on their part? Did it tarnish the sanctity of the competition?
It’s been evident from the beginning of Season 5 that Chefs Mendelsohn and Vigneron have had an alliance. Episode 4 showed viewers how deep their friendship goes. The two competed against one another in the secret ingredient elimination challenge and made the decision to plate their lobster dishes together. But were they to be judged together, sent home together or allowed to win together? All the rival chefs were up in arms by their actions. Ultimately the judges chose to send home Chef Mendelsohn.
FN Dish wants to know, what would you have done if you were a judge? Do you think what went down in Kitchen Stadium was fair? Would you have liked to have seen both chefs saved? Or would you have eliminated both chefs for their antics?
There are some pretty strange and unusual ingredients that get used on The Next Iron Chef challenges. But what secret ingredients have been the hardest for the competitors to work with? The culinary team in Food Network Kitchens weighed in on this question and came up with eight of the most difficult secret ingredients from the previous four seasons.
But what’s the absolute hardest ingredient used on The Next Iron Chef? You get to decide in this bracket challenge. In Round 1, you had to narrow down the eight to four. In Round 2, you had to choose the two finalists. Now’s your chance to vote for the one ingredient you want to win.
How It Works
Round 1 was November 15-22. The top eight secret ingredients were narrowed down to four.
Round 2 was November 22-29. The remaining four ingredients were narrowed down to two.
The finals are this week, starting November 29 at noon. You choose the winner from the two finalists. Vote below now.
On December 6 we will announce the winner at noon.
How many times have you been caught without a plan for dinner? It can happen, right? You end up scrounging around in the pantry or the cupboards looking for something you could turn into a meal. Oftentimes you may even find yourself cooking with canned foods. Take, for example, a can of tuna — it can become a pretty good pasta puttanesca with the right recipe. Food Network is challenging you to a pantry cook-off challenge to find out what you can make.
On the latest episode of The Next Iron Chef, the Chairman’s challenge had the chefs cooking with canned foods with the goal of transforming the ingredient into something worth plating for the judges. Some of the cans available were properly labeled and others had question marks — just to throw the chefs a curveball. Though the chefs didn’t seem very keen on the challenge, they took it in stride. Now it’s your turn: Which canned food would you choose and what would you make out of it?
Choose the ingredient and tell us what you would make.
Week after week, you come to FN Dish to get the latest scoop on The Next Iron Chef, read exclusive exit interviews from eliminated rivals, caption sneak-peek images, cast your vote in Rival Recipe cook-offs and more. But did you know that there’s an entire Next Iron Chef online headquarters dedicated to this season’s chefs and the judges? That’s right — we’ve created an all-access Next Iron Chef guide at FoodNetwork.com/NIC where you can discover never-before-seen images, one-on-one video interviews with rivals and insider information from Food Network’s culinary team, and even cast your vote in the Next Iron Chef Fan Vote.
If you haven’t been there to check it out yet, we invite you to take a look around to see what’s there.
Interested in a behind-the-scenes look at the rivals and judges on set? Then you’ll want to flip through this revealing slideshow. Want to see what went down each week? Check out the photo galleries below for a roundup of the top, most-memorable moments from every episode.
Episode 1 Episode 2 Episode 3 Episode 4
Have you voted for your favorite rival chef?
I am not sure that any chef would be pleased to be informed that they had to produce a meal almost entirely from the contents of a can. But if you want to become The Next Iron Chef, those are exactly the sort of obstacles that you have to overcome.
Chef Falkner’s mystery can contained a substance as far removed from USDA prime beef as I am from Brad Pitt. Despite this, she astounded everyone at the judging plinth by producing a dish so fine that it would have been acceptable in some of the best restaurants on the planet. It really was that good.
Chefs Mendelsohn and Vigneron, however, were far less successful. Chef Mendelsohn’s dish lacked balance, while the salt levels in Chef Vigneron’s dish drew the words “inedible” from all three judges and Alton Brown. It made it pretty obvious that these two high school friends would be competing against each other in the Secret Ingredient Showdown.
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 seven 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
It’s never easy for a rival to hear Alton say, “You will not be The Next Iron Chef,” but for Chef Eric Greenspan last Sunday, his elimination was particularly challenging, given that he disagreed with the panel’s reasoning behind it. He told us in this exclusive exit interview that he has “tons of respect for all the judges on the show,” but ultimately maintains that “my dish was well-balanced and the flavors spoke to what I find delicious based on past experience and my own palette. I know I wasn’t outcooked.”
In this week’s installment of Rival Recipes, we’re giving Chef Greenspan a final chance to redeem himself in another showdown, this time against Chef Alex Guarnaschelli with one of his all-time favorite culinary subjects: the sandwich.
Not surprising since he is the grilled cheese guru, Chef Eric has chosen to bring The Champ, a next-level grilled cheese sandwich, to the battle while Chef Alex is featuring a Croque Madam Sandwich, a French-inspired ham and cheese sandwich. Both between-bread creations boast layers of rich, buttery cheese, but Chef Eric’s is built on dark raisin bread with an apricot-caper spread while Chef Alex’s comes together on thick-cut sourdough and is topped with a fried egg.
Sometimes on The Next Iron Chef, rivals manage to execute their dishes as flawlessly as they intend to and leave the judges simply speechless on account of the beauty, sophistication and downright deliciousness of their offerings. Other times, however, chefs’ plans are foiled and for one reason or another, they present the panel with plates that leave them astounded — and not in a good way.
The above image is a sneak-peek shot from Sunday’s brand-new episode, and let’s just say that Simon Majumdar wouldn’t be making that face if the dish he was judging was everything it was supposed to be. It’s revealed in this exclusive video preview that something goes wrong — very wrong — when the remaining seven chefs attempt to give everyday canned foods a second life outside of the can. What do you think had to have happened for a Redemption rival to serve the judges so distressing a bite? Who do you think is responsible for leaving Simon in a whole-body wince?
Write your best captions