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Iron Chef America (Part 2)

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[Moderator note: This is part of an extended topic that became too large for our servers to handle efficiently, so we've divided it into shorter segments; the preceding part of this discussion is here: Iron Chef America (Part 1)]

 

 

 

 

Perhaps there will be another episode like Morimoto versus Feenie and my faith will be restored, but in the meantime:

After seeing Flay win against Armstrong I'm forced to conclude that ICA is to the original Iron Chef what American pizza is to Italian pizza: the perversion of something fun, wholesome, delightful, and simple into something bland, overstuffed, bombastic, and engineered. One only need look at Flay's pumpkin/ice cream mess to see that.


Edited by Mjx Note Added. (log)

Don’t you have a machine that puts food into the mouth and pushes it down?

--Nikita Khrushchev to Richard Nixon during the "Kitchen Debate" in Moscow, 1959

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...One only need look at Flay's pumpkin/ice cream mess to see that.

I agree. But it was fun to see Flay almost wipe out a few times, not to mention the burning himself and the flying knife. Is it wrong of me that I giggled?


I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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...One only need look at Flay's pumpkin/ice cream mess to see that.

I agree. But it was fun to see Flay almost wipe out a few times, not to mention the burning himself and the flying knife. Is it wrong of me that I giggled?

Even when not contrasted against the sovereignty and sangfroid of Armstrong, Flay comes across like an amateur. I suspect the Foodnetwork is playing this up so people like us get irritated and write about it on sites like this--so who's got the last laugh (or giggle)? But that only adds to my suspicion that the whole thing is rigged to an extent the original never was. Again: a characteristically American perversion of a simple pleasure.


Don’t you have a machine that puts food into the mouth and pushes it down?

--Nikita Khrushchev to Richard Nixon during the "Kitchen Debate" in Moscow, 1959

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Many Americans think of wilderness and Mounties when they think of Canada. 

Totally agree with your comments. I highlighted your bit about the "wilderness and Mounties"--did anyone notice Kevin Brauch's comment that perhaps Morimoto's miso/crab cooked over an open flame on the wooden paddle is an "homage" to Canada? :laugh:

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go hunt some caribou for my lunch. :wink:

Kevin Brauch is Canadian, eh. :)

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I don't know why nobody has realised yet but pineapple will not gel with gelatin unless an enzyme is deactiviated by heat.

True.

But do you know if agar works?

Little off topic but I was just wondering.


Edited by RooStew (log)

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Even when not contrasted against the sovereignty and sangfroid of Armstrong, Flay comes across like an amateur. I suspect the Foodnetwork is playing this up so people like us get irritated and write about it on sites like this--so who's got the last laugh (or giggle)? But that only adds to my suspicion that the whole thing is rigged to an extent the original never was. Again: a characteristically American perversion of a simple pleasure.

I hope I'm not overestimating people like us, but with Olive Garden and Red Lobster as sponsors, I suspect we're not the target audience. As for your suspicion, I wonder what would make anyone think it's rigged other than the challenger's equipment not working as well as that of the Iron Chef. This

I'm pretty sure it was the fridge.  It looked like the panna cotta didn't set at first either.  It looked like they had plans of unmolding it onto the jelly, and then they transferred it into a serving bowl instead.  It looked like soup.  IMHO.

is not the only time the challenger had equipment that didn't seem to function well, IMHO. We've noted the editing and the unwillingness to post the individual judge's scores before.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I wonder what would make anyone think it's rigged other than the challenger's equipment not working as well as that of the Iron Chef. This
I'm pretty sure it was the fridge.  It looked like the panna cotta didn't set at first either.  It looked like they had plans of unmolding it onto the jelly, and then they transferred it into a serving bowl instead.  It looked like soup.  IMHO.

is not the only time the challenger had equipment that didn't seem to function well, IMHO.

It doesn't seem to be just the challenger who has equipment problems though. Wasn't Morimoto having trouble with his oven that day too? And last night, Flay seemed to be the one having all the troubles (his sous chef kept complaining about the burners being too slow). I don't recall any problems on Armstrong's side, but I was only half-watching.


I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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...One only need look at Flay's pumpkin/ice cream mess to see that.

I agree. But it was fun to see Flay almost wipe out a few times, not to mention the burning himself and the flying knife. Is it wrong of me that I giggled?

Even when not contrasted against the sovereignty and sangfroid of Armstrong, Flay comes across like an amateur. I suspect the Foodnetwork is playing this up so people like us get irritated and write about it on sites like this--so who's got the last laugh (or giggle)? But that only adds to my suspicion that the whole thing is rigged to an extent the original never was. Again: a characteristically American perversion of a simple pleasure.

I certainly was hoping that Flay would fall into his saucepot or something but I think that you are right banco, FoodNetwork is really playing this up to annoy people, and at the same time, keep them interested. And its working on me. Every time Flay wins a battle it makes me want to never eat again. I'm just falling into the trap I guess.....

But oh man was that ice cream glob hideous! How could he get by with something like that? It looked like a three year old put that together while he was sleepwalking! Here I go again....


Some people say the glass is half empty, others say it is half full, I say, are you going to drink that?

Ben Wilcox

benherebfour@gmail.com

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Oh, come on yall. Didn't you just love the rope on top of the pumpkin with the fake flowers stuck in it? :huh:

Does anyone have a pic just in case somone missed the show? It was the funniest thing I've seen on any IC since Morimoto made hot dogs out of Uni. (if memory serves me correctly)


Edited by Mnehrling (log)

"Instead of orange juice, I'm going to use the juice from the inside of the orange."- The Brilliant Sandra Lee

http://www.matthewnehrlingmba.com

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Yeah, the fake flowers were lovely, but let's not forget the skewers sticking out the top and the stupid holes drilled in the pumpkin. Why were there holes in the pumpkin?


I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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Yeah, the fake flowers were lovely, but let's not forget the skewers sticking out the top and the stupid holes drilled in the pumpkin. Why were there holes in the pumpkin?

My guess was to keep it from cracking when it was quick frozen? Just a guess.


"Instead of orange juice, I'm going to use the juice from the inside of the orange."- The Brilliant Sandra Lee

http://www.matthewnehrlingmba.com

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I was stunned not only that Armstrong was beaten, but at the overall scoring. It was a completely unfair slaughter. I will say this though about the ice-cream. Aside from the whole crafts fair look, I was thoroughly pleased with the use of the theme ingredient. It was really an essay on pumpkin. The ice cream, brittle, and marshmallow cream were all pumpkin infused and the dessert sauce had "Fall spices" in it. To that end, it was a great execution of the theme. It was just goofy and akward.

I would have preferred to eat Armstrong's dishes top to bottom though. They all looked better. What can I say?


R. Jason Coulston

jason@popcling.com

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I think that Flay stuck to the squash theme much more than Armstrong did and thats why he won.

This much is true. We even heard Armstrong's sous chef comment on the lack of use of the theme ingredient with about ten minutes left.


Some people say the glass is half empty, others say it is half full, I say, are you going to drink that?

Ben Wilcox

benherebfour@gmail.com

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I don't get why everyone seems to hate Flay. I guess his personality can be a bit of a dividing line, but I personally like the confidence/cockyness, especially since he has the talent to back it up. I thought the holes in the pumpkin ice cream shell were somewhat odd, but the dish overall looked very good, ooey, gooey, overloaded, just perfect.

As for his other dishes, they seemed more adventurous as a rule than the challengers. His pumpkin soup looked and sounded as if it would be incredible, and I have to disagree with the comments made by the judge in the middle: one can never have anything too rich or portions to large, after all, if you get tired of it, just stop eating it. The faux-thanksgiving dinner thing seemed really nifty, and the pumpkin tamale was a moment of sheer brilliance.

Several of the dishes the challenger made looked appealing as well, I was especially drawn into his duck dish. However, he simply didn't emphasize the squash at all except for perhaps in his panna cottta. The food looked very good, though given the option I would've seen taken Flay's menu, but there can be no argument that he truly highlighted the theme ingredient as much as just including it in many of his dishes.


He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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I think that Flay stuck to the squash theme much more than Armstrong did and thats why he won.

I agree Chris,

Other than the ice cream, his food seemed more 'real' this time, something I've complained about his food in the past. Squash was good for Bobby.


"Instead of orange juice, I'm going to use the juice from the inside of the orange."- The Brilliant Sandra Lee

http://www.matthewnehrlingmba.com

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I dunno, I always thought the original IC Japan's contests were pretty fixed too. I guess I just assumed the whole thang, whether original or new-style, had a significant streak of pro-wrestling "scripting" going on.

Was intrigued to see Wayne Harley Brachman sous-cheffing for Flay this time out. I understand he used to work with Flay, but isn't he working somewhere else now? And he wasn't on Flay's team in previous episods of ICA, unless I'm misremembering...

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How can you tell Alton's comments are done post production?  I haven't really noticed, but I haven't been paying that close attention to his side bits.

Sorry, I should clarify. Not all his comments are post ... obviously the stuff he does where he interacts with the chefs is "live", but the little snippets of information that get cut-in mid battle will have a different audio quality to them.. they're less ambient and are done in studio. This may not be fair comment as the original Iron Chef was completely post-production in that is was dubbed.

For me, Iron Chef's appeal is the fact that everything is spur of the moment ... true they may have a good idea of what the secret ingredient is ahead of time, but all the prep/cooking/plating is done in one hour. That's pretty impressive when it takes me 15 minutes to make macaroni & cheese from a box! :laugh: I think the show is much better because of the spontinaity, and if Alton or Kevin or one of the judges mess up, so be it. Nobody allows the chefs to do a re-take ...

A.

I attended a taping of one of the shows. I assure you Alton was doing his commentary in real time, including "the snippets of info that get cut-in mid battle." It is certainly possible more is added or changed in post but, I think most of it is "live."

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does anyone know i they show the episodes over againn at some time? I missed this one and i would love to see what happened.

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...with Olive Garden and Red Lobster as sponsors, I suspect we're not the target audience. As for your suspicion, I wonder what would make anyone think it's rigged other than the challenger's equipment not working as well as that of the Iron Chef.

Unfortunately, you're right about the target audience, which tends to support my sad comment on what ICA is compared to the original.

As others have already mentioned, it was Flay's sous, not anyone from the Armstrong side, who was complaining about the equipment (specifically: weak burners). That is an indiginity to which Sakai, Morimoto, Chen et al would never descend (to say nothing of their assistants). But the rigging of the show is more obvious in other ways, like the off-the-wall scoring, the heavy-handed editing, and having Flay run around like a decapitated chicken. Curiously, the opportunities for real drama are wasted, like the personal background to the chefs' careers, a more-or-less real surprise ingredient, and a buildup of tension to the finish. All this is so very basic. If I hear the chairman ask one more time "What was your overall theme in preparing today's secret ingredient?" I'll secret myself in a well-tiled room and perform the ol' ceremonial disembowelment.


Don’t you have a machine that puts food into the mouth and pushes it down?

--Nikita Khrushchev to Richard Nixon during the "Kitchen Debate" in Moscow, 1959

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...with Olive Garden and Red Lobster as sponsors, I suspect we're not the target audience. As for your suspicion, I wonder what would make anyone think it's rigged other than the challenger's equipment not working as well as that of the Iron Chef.

Unfortunately, you're right about the target audience, which tends to support my sad comment on what ICA is compared to the original.

As others have already mentioned, it was Flay's sous, not anyone from the Armstrong side, who was complaining about the equipment (specifically: weak burners). That is an indiginity to which Sakai, Morimoto, Chen et al would never descend (to say nothing of their assistants). But the rigging of the show is more obvious in other ways, like the off-the-wall scoring, the heavy-handed editing, . . .

I think you're right in implying that I may be looking for telltale signs of rigging and finding more than there are, precisely because so much of what's been done seems designed to offer the producers some control over the final result.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I dunno, I always thought the original IC Japan's contests were pretty fixed too. I guess I just assumed the whole thang, whether original or new-style, had a significant streak of pro-wrestling "scripting" going on.

I agree with you completely.

Don't get me wrong - I love the original Iron Chef, but some people (many of whom can be found on this board :wink:) over-idealise it WAY too much. It was a fun show. Lets not go overboard.

And, for what it's worth, I was watching an episode just last week where Morimoto was complaining about one of the items of kitchen equipment.

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Was intrigued to see Wayne Harley Brachman sous-cheffing for Flay this time out. I understand he used to work with Flay, but isn't he working somewhere else now? And he wasn't on Flay's team in previous episods of ICA, unless I'm misremembering...

I believe Wayne used to be a PC in one or more of Flay's restaurants. Perhaps he's still working the gig.


 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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