Tag: Simon Majumdar

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Ten New Superstars Compete for Iron Chef Title

by in Shows, April 19th, 2011

next iron chef contestants
You’ve seen several of these elite chefs judge contestants on Food Network shows like Chopped, Worst Cooks in America and 24 Hour Restaurant Battle. Now, the tables will be turned. Ten new chefs will go knife-to-knife in the fourth season of The Next Iron Chef, set to premiering Sunday, October 30.

Putting their reputations on the line for a chance to compete in Kitchen Stadium are some of the nation’s most well known and best chefs, including Food Network’s and Cooking Channel’s own talent:

•    Anne BurrellSecrets of a Restaurant Chef, Worst Cooks in America (Food Network)
•    Michael Chiarello – Bottega Restaurant (Napa Valley), Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello (Cooking Channel)
•    Elizabeth Falkner – Citizen Cake, Orson (San Francisco), Iron Chef America – challenger (Food Network)
•    Alex Guarnaschelli – Butter, The Darby (New York), Alex’s Day Off, Chopped (Food Network)
•    Chuck Hughes – Garde Manger (Montreal), Chuck’s Day Off (Cooking Channel), Iron Chef America – challenger (Food Network)
•    Robert Irvine – Robert Irvine’s eat! (Hilton Head Island), Dinner: Impossible, Restaurant: Impossible, Worst Cooks in America (Food Network)
•    Beau MacMillan – Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain (Phoenix), Challenge, Iron Chef America – challenger (Food Network)
•    Spike Mendelsohn – Good Stuff Eatery (Washington D.C.), Kelsey & Spike Cook (Food2.com)
•    Marcus Samuelsson – Red Rooster Harlem (New York), 24 Hour Restaurant Battle, Chopped (Food Network)
•    Geoffrey Zakarian – The National, The Lambs Club (New York),  24 Hour Restaurant Battle, Chopped (Food Network)

Welcoming back to the judges table is the original Next Iron Chef Michael Symon, as well as esteemed food journalist Simon Majumdar — new to this season is UK Iron Chef Judy Joo.

The winner will join the ranks of chefs including Bobby Flay, Marc Forgione, Jose Garces, Masaharu Morimoto and Symon as a member of the Chairman’s team on Iron Chef America.

Who will you be rooting for? Tell us in the comments.

Related: A New ‘Star’ Will Be Born: The Return of Food Network Star


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Critical Moments: A Kitchen Stadium Thanksgiving

by in Shows, November 22nd, 2010
The newly crowned Iron Chef Marc Forgione: Simon Majumdar’s "clear winner"

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.

With dozens of cameras catching every glimpse and grimace, a gallery of excited onlookers and smoke billowing across the set, I could begin to see what all the fuss had been about.

It was my first visit to Kitchen Stadium and I was nervous enough. I could only begin to imagine how Chef Canora and Chef Forgione must be feeling as they walked into the arena. They had not only to impress the three judges one more time, but also to persuade Iron Chefs Morimoto and Flay that they were ready to join the pantheon of the greats.

When given their final task, to prepare for us the finest Thanksgiving feast imaginable, the way they approached it summed up their performances in every challenge to date. Chef Forgione was cool, calm and collected as he followed his story of recreating the first turkey-free Thanksgiving. Chef Canora, on the other hand, was all drama and nervous energy as he dipped into his family cookbook to bring us a traditional Thanksgiving meal. It was not long before he was literally leaving his blood, sweat and tears on the floor.

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Critical Moments: Best of the Best on The Next Iron Chef

by in Shows, November 15th, 2010
"Marc vs. Marco to be the Next Iron Chef. I could hardly wait."

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 Chairman’s decision to allow four chefs to battle it out for a place in Kitchen Stadium made the judges’ decision even more difficult. So did the fact that the remaining combatants had been the ones to impress most in the competition to date. Although it was not going to be easy, at the end of the penultimate challenge two would be going home and two would face off to become The Next Iron Chef.

With Lobster, Mangalitsa Pork, Wagyu Beef and Hawaiian Moi to choose from, the chefs could have no complaints about being denied the best of the best, even if they had to run a marathon to collect them. They did not disappoint and the three dishes placed in front of us showed each of the chefs cooking at the very top of their game. With such skill on show we had to search for the most minor of flaws in technique, seasoning and plating to make our final decisions.

Chef Canora was, for me, a clear winner. Not least for his unapologetic use of rendered Wagyu beef fat to add a delicious savory note to a beet broth and a parcel of meaty mushrooms. It was pure Canora and made me determined to give him the opportunity to cook one last time.

Against any other group of challengers, Chef Tio’s elegant cooking would have surely seen her go through to join him. Yet, while I disagreed with Donatella’s opinion that the crispy moi was under-seasoned, I couldn’t argue that she had been outshone by her rivals and, by the narrowest of margins she was the first to be eliminated.

Chef Tsai and Chef Forgione remained before us as two chefs who could both grace the final battle with their very different styles and culinary backgrounds. I put my X against Chef Forgione’s name. I had been his toughest critic in the previous two challenges, but was seriously impressed with his dishes and determination to show me he could use a pressure cooker to good effect.

Chef Tsai looked genuinely stunned when Alton announced that he would not be the Next Iron Chef, but a misjudged dish of lardo had been enough to fell Ming The Magnificent, and send an equally astonished Forgione to Kitchen Stadium.

Marc vs. Marco to be the Next Iron Chef. I could hardly wait.

Look inside Chef Tsai and Chef Tio’s Next Iron Chef journals and flip through our behind-the-scenes gallery from Episode 7.

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

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Critical Moments: What Happens in Vegas…

by in Shows, November 8th, 2010
This week's challenge to transform a Vegas buffet into "something that would not make any sane person recoil in terror" was "close to impossible," according to Simon Majumdar.

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 Chairman had asked the remaining five chefs to transform a traditional Las Vegas buffet into something that would not make any sane person recoil in terror. It was a close to impossible task. To my mind this is one of the low points of American cuisine and I felt as much trepidation as I did anticipation as I took my place on the judging plinth.

Despite the fact that he constantly looked on the verge of a fatal aneurysm, it was Chef Canora who came closest to meeting The Chairman’s challenge with a variety of dishes that were both packed with flavor, but also showed off his exemplary technique. He was our clear winner, although his cardiologist may disagree.

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Critical Moments: Next Stop, Vegas

by in Shows, November 1st, 2010
Although "his plating could use a few more contemporary touches," Chef Tsai edged Chef Canora into second place this week.

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 is only so far that enthusiasm, tenacity and a good spirit will get you in a competition such as The Next Iron Chef. To date, Chef Chauhan had showed those qualities in abundance. She had also shown a great deal of culinary talent. However, as we reached the midway point on the road to selecting a new incumbent for Kitchen Stadium, the gap in technical skill between her and her rivals became more apparent.

The Chairman’s challenge, to create an American menu from all four points of the compass, was the toughest yet and the stakes were raised even higher when Alton informed the surviving six that the reward for pleasing the judges was a trip to America’s new dining wonderland, Las Vegas. It was obvious, from their expressions, that no one wanted to be the one to miss out on the party.

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Critical Moments: On The Next Iron Chef, Tio Shines and Estes Serves One Bad Apple

by in Shows, October 25th, 2010
Chef Tio wowed Judge Majumdar with “stunning” fish tacos and a funnel cake that changed his opinion of this deep-fried fair fave.

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.

I am sure my heart sank as fast as those of the chefs when we were told that the next elimination challenge would take place at the San Diego State Fair. Fairs can be fun, but they are hardly renowned for providing memorable culinary moments, unless you are intrigued by what the food stands can possibly find to deep fry next. The thought of trying seven assorted plates of fair fare had me rummaging in the bathroom cabinet for the extra-strength antacid as I packed to head South.

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Critical Moments: On The Next Iron Chef, One Rival “Finds His Mojo”

by in Shows, October 18th, 2010
This week, Chef Marco Canora "may have lost his artichokes, but he certainly found his mojo," says Judge Majumdar.

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.

Episode 3 of The Next Iron Chef should have been subtitled “Chef Canora Gets It.”

I didn’t see what went on in the kitchen, I was judging only what was on my plate, not how it arrived there. I am, however, pretty sure that at some point during the “Resourcefulness” challenge, a bright cartoon light bulb suddenly popped on above Marco Canora’s head as he finally realized that it would take more than just his considerable skills to reach Kitchen Stadium. His New World/Old World take on a classic Italian seafood stew not only mastered The Chairman’s challenge, but marked him out as the chef to beat amongst his rivals. Chef Canora may have lost his artichokes, but he certainly found his mojo.

As Donatella put it to him so perfectly, “Welcome to the race.”

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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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