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Iron Chef America (Part 2)

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Yea, he works at Tapika restaurant and Michael Jordan's Steakhouse. He and Flay are still close friends though, obviously. I'm pretty certain Wayne was just filling in for Vicki Wells.

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I don't think the shows are "rigged", but I think the Iron Chefs have a huge advantage. They cook for the same judges all the time and subtly build up a rapport and/or reputation, and get used to cooking within the one hour time frame under pressure.

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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.

...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.

I plead guilty! But it's a shame ICA will never be able to make people wax idealistic or go overboard.


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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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.

...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.

I plead guilty! But it's a shame ICA will never be able to make people wax idealistic or go overboard.

I suppose that there are also egos involved. Perhaps more so on the challenger's side than on that of the regular cast of characters whose credits as a media performer are being built far in excess of their credits within the industry, although we all know having a TV show increases demand for reservations. The Iron Chefs can afford losses and most of the challengers gain just by being selected to appear on the show. None of that excuses the show from not convincingly satisfying our idealistic desires to see a fair contest with impartial judging. As an exhibition of culinary talent it would be sufficient to show the chefs at work and to devote more time to comments by a knowledgeable panel. The format of the original was of a contest and it's been continued with the noticeable change of no longer showing the scores of the individual judges, making each judge less responsible for his scores as well as alleviating him of the responsibility of knowing if his score was reported correctly.


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.

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I'm watching the Morimoto v. Donna battle (more interesting to us DCers since Donna runs Galileo).

I just saw Morimoto start to make tofu and just before he started to add this clear liquid, he sort of blessed himself...almost making a cross. What was that?

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This is the first time I can recall any chef not being able to finish (so many of) his dishes on time.

Although the 5 dish limit/minimum also seems too restrictive for my liking.

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This is the first time I can recall any chef not being able to finish (so many of) his dishes on time.

Although the 5 dish limit/minimum also seems too restrictive for my liking.

Yikes thought he was extremely unprepared. talk about embarassing... wonder if he ended up firing his assistants, can't believe he asked to return for a "revenge"..

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My assumption has been that the teams practice. He was still cooking most of his food. In the end, I had the feeling he hadn't even considered how long it would take to make some of his dishes. In past, we've seen chefs ad lib changes in their planned dishes because something went wrong. I was really surprised to see only two dishes finished cooking let alone plated. He didn't seem to have a time table. As a result, I don't think we were really able to get that much sense of what his food was all about. For that it was disappointing.


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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My assumption has been that the teams practice. He was still cooking most of his food. In the end, I had the feeling he hadn't even considered how long it would take to make some of his dishes. In past, we've seen chefs ad lib changes in their planned dishes because something went wrong. I was really surprised to see only two dishes finished cooking let alone plated. He didn't seem to have a time table. As a result, I don't think we were really able to get that much sense of what his food was all about. For that it was disappointing.

Agreed. I was really annoyed by his inability to improvise. Running out of time? Fine - abandon the pasta and redeploy the assistants to something else - at least get something done!

I have to guess that he just totally didn't get it. Disappointing. And embarassing. Laboratorio has been on my to-eat list for a while, and it's still there, but only because I've heard so many good things from people I trust... Watching him on ICA certainly wouldn't inspire me to seek hiim out.


Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

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Also, wouldn't it be a given that Donna would make pasta? You would think they would have known exactly how much time they needed to put it together.


peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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Also, wouldn't it be a given that Donna would make pasta? You would think they would have known exactly how much time they needed to put it together.

I only caught the last few minutes of the battle. It looked to me like Donna wasn't taking the whole thing all that seriously. He was laughing and throwing flour around. It doesn't make for very dramatic television, but you gotta admire the guy's outlook.

A.

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It looked like he was having fun, but yes, he seemed very overmatched by the time limit. It is a real shame, because a lot of his dishes looked like they would have been tastier than Morimoto's, if only he had had time to finish. It often seems as if the chefs haven't completely finished by the time the buzzer rings, and I assume there is a little wiggle room, but yeah, I guess he just went wany over the edge.

All in all this was the only episode I have seen so far that has been really dissapointing, I would've loved to have seen all of his dishes, but from the moment the buzzer rang it was obvious that he was going to get killed for his inefficiency.


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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As a non-food related project manager, this battle frustrated me. In my work, being on time with a quality product is everything. I agree with the posts here about how he should have changed course when he knew time was running out. This is where I see there is sometimes a conflict in the food industry. The artist doesn't always care about schedules as long as they create art. The business person is all about schedules. I think this battle showed us a lot more than we are giving it credit for........


"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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Uno mas...

This reminds me of one thing I like about ICJ; no 5 dish rule. Some chefs won by putting their all into 2 dishes. That is good time management.


"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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Tony vs. Bobby

Now there's a match. Maybe they could make it a three-way and add JAMIE.

Get all the pretty boys together and have them compete in swimsuits.

The main difference between the PBS food shows and the Food Network shows is that the PBS shows are about food. The Food Network is all about personality. Give me Jaque, Charlie Trotter, Rick Bayless, and the Cooks Illus. show anytime. As far as I am concerned the only shows on the Food Network that interest me in the least bit are Mario and Alton.


"the only thing we knew for sure about henry porter was that his name wasn't henry porter" : bob

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Tony vs. Bobby

Now there's a match.  Maybe they could make it a three-way and add JAMIE.

Get all the pretty boys together and have them compete in swimsuits.

The main difference between the PBS food shows and the Food Network shows is that the PBS shows are about food.  The Food Network is all about personality.  Give me Jaque, Charlie Trotter, Rick Bayless, and the Cooks Illus. show anytime.  As far as I am concerned the only shows on the Food Network that interest me in the least bit are Mario and Alton.

The PBS shows are designed so that you learn something, Food Network is designed to entertain you. The one exception is Alton Brown, who definitely tries to teach, but tries too hard to entertain.


Edited by mnebergall (log)

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Tony vs. Bobby

Now there's a match.  Maybe they could make it a three-way and add JAMIE.

Get all the pretty boys together and have them compete in swimsuits.

The main difference between the PBS food shows and the Food Network shows is that the PBS shows are about food.  The Food Network is all about personality.  Give me Jaque, Charlie Trotter, Rick Bayless, and the Cooks Illus. show anytime.  As far as I am concerned the only shows on the Food Network that interest me in the least bit are Mario and Alton.

The PBS shows are designed so that you learn something, Food Network is designed to entertain you. The one exception is Alton Brown, who definitely tries to teach, but tries too hard to entertain.

I disagree. I think a lot of the FnTV shows can be quite educational, depending on the level you start out at. I have personally learned a lot from Rachel Ray, Bobby Flay, Ina Garten, and etc. Sure there entertainment value is pumped up as well, but if you pay close attention you can learn quite a bit.


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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Attn: Flay haters.....break out a new bottle of Rolaids.....on his web site he says he will be taping five new episodes in a few months! :biggrin:

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what did you think about tonight's show? To me it was very clear that Mario will and should win. I enjoy all the shows in which Mario competes, they are usually pretty energetic and fun.

Elie


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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what did you think about tonight's show? To me it was very clear that Mario will and should win. I enjoy all the shows in which Mario competes, they are usually pretty energetic and fun.

Elie

I thought this was IronMan at its best. Mario created diverse and interesting dishes. In particular, the figs "brulee" in marscapone made my mouth water. He incorportated the main ingredient, cheeses, into his created dishes perfectly. Too often, the designated ingredient is merely used as an accent to some dish the chefs come up with.

ri


"the only thing we knew for sure about henry porter was that his name wasn't henry porter" : bob

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This was one of the better episodes with both chefs wipping up impressive dishes. Batali was clearly the winner as his dishes were much more focuseed and interesting. They really looked as if they would taste wonderful. I agree about the bruleed figs in mascarpone. That dish was intensely mouth-watering. Batali proved he is a genuine Iron Chef.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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There was a great difference in style here. Mario's dishes seemed almost traditional, even staid next to Campbell's. At the same time, most of them spoke to me of their taste. I found them far more appealing. Campbell's dishes may well have been satisfying, but they didn't send that message to me. They reminded my of why I've disliked fusion cooking. I didn't find a sense of structure or discipline. At the same time, there are a number of very creative avant garde chefs whose food I very much enjoy eating. I'm not sure their dishes would have shown up well on TV or seemed appealing from either pictures or descriptions.

What's more interesting from the media perspective, is that interest in the show seems to be falling off here. Is it the challenger or just that some members have had enough? It's my very personal and perhaps prejudiced opinion that the most talented chefs to appear on the Iron Chef America are yet to come. Those are Alex Lee who's a friend, and the chef who's assisting him who is even closer to me. Both of these men have cooked dishes not on the menu for me at Daniel and I've seen them in action and know some of the people who have worked with and under them. When I say they are chefs' chefs, some of you will suspect I'm guided by my relationship, while some of the pros will nod accordingly.


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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There was a great difference in style here. Mario's dishes seemed almost traditional, even staid next to Campbell's. At the same time, most of them spoke to me of their taste. I found them far more appealing. Campbell's dishes may well have been satisfying, but they didn't send that message to me. They reminded my of why I've disliked fusion cooking. I didn't find a sense of structure or discipline. At the same time, there are a number of very creative avant garde chefs whose food I very much enjoy eating. I'm not sure their dishes would have shown up well on TV or seemed appealing from either pictures or descriptions.

What's more interesting from the media perspective, is that interest in the show seems to be falling off here. Is it the challenger or just that some members have had enough? It's my very personal and perhaps prejudiced opinion that the most talented chefs to appear on the Iron Chef America are yet to come. Those are Alex Lee who's a friend, and the chef who's assisting him who is even closer to me. Both of these men have cooked dishes not on the menu for me at Daniel and I've seen them in action and know some of the people who have worked with and under them. When I say they are chefs' chefs, some of you will suspect I'm guided by my relationship, while some of the pros will nod accordingly.

I am not at all suprised that interest in the show is not very high. I really thought the concept would not translate well. In ICJ what entertained me was the crazy translating, the inept judges, and the exotic ingredients. ICA has no translating, judges that take this way to seriously, and the ingredients have been pretty mundane.

Couple this with chefs whose main purposes are to enhance and progress their images, careers, and dollars and you have a pretty wishy washy show.

ICA has just turned into a speed cooking exhibition with judging as a five minute afterthought.

To make the IC concept work, they need to get more interesting ingredients, eliminate the 5 dish requirement, and allow more time for the chefs to elaborate on their dishes and why they are making them.

At least that would help keep me as a viewer.

ri


"the only thing we knew for sure about henry porter was that his name wasn't henry porter" : bob

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There was a great difference in style here. Mario's dishes seemed almost traditional, even staid next to Campbell's. At the same time, most of them spoke to me of their taste. I found them far more appealing. Campbell's dishes may well have been satisfying, but they didn't send that message to me. They reminded my of why I've disliked fusion cooking.

This is why I was very surprised that Mario received the higher score for originality. It was very clear from about halfway through that Mario was going to win, and yes, his dishes probably did taste better, but I didn't think he took very many chances. Campbell's dishes appeared far more "out there", and I have to admire someone who takes that risk.

Having said that, I'd probably have liked Mario's food better :-).

What's more interesting from the media perspective, is that interest in the show seems to be falling off here. Is it the challenger or just that some members have had enough?

As just another viewer, the show seems to be getting into a rut. It's all a little too controlled - the number of dishes, the ingredients, the fact that the Iron Chef wins most of the time....there's little suspense, and you just know that you're not going to be surprised. It also doesn't help that there's no audience or story lines (e.g. the Ota(sp?) faction).

I'm going to continue watching, because it's still fun, and there's nothing else on :-). But one of the judges put it in a nutshell when he commented something to the effect of "all Mario's dishes could be made at home". That says to me that it's being played just a little too safe.

Marcia.


Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

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The point about Mario's dishes being makeable by a home cook was not made to take away from his accomplishments. The dishes did not use esoteric techniques, but they were creative combinations using whimsy and readily available ingredients. The dishes were in fact original takeoffs on traditional fare. Anyone can throw together disparate ingredients, but if they don't work, how original or creative is that? Believe me, I love nothing more than real creativity when I dineout - so long as it is delicious, too.

Aside from the debacle with Roberto Donna (it would have been interesting if he was able to complete his dishes), this was the first episode in which I thought the Iron Chef was the clear cut victor. This isnot meant to take anything away from Campbell, who gave it his all and did what appeared to be a fine job.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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