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Iron Chef America (Part 2)


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MSNBC article

Although "Iron Chef" makes it seem as though the secret ingredient that must be used is pulled completely out of nowhere, the chefs do have a little bit of advance knowledge.  A Food Network spokesperson tells us that the chefs are given a list of five ingredients in advance, knowing only that the secret ingredient will be taken from that list. We're told that this was the practice on the original "Iron Chef" as well as "Iron Chef America." Chefs have to plan multiple recipes for each ingredient. Sometimes, especially on the original show, the ingredient is some form of live fish, which must be killed on-air.

Did you ever ask yourself how the chefs could create five new dishes so quickly? :rolleyes:

Are you shocked? :shock:

Are you saying to yourself, "yet another Food Network gimmick!" :hmmm:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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No...I'm not shocked. I was a bit surprised when I first heard about it. During one of the infamous Morimoto/Flay battles on the original series, a little boy was brought in to meet Morimoto the night before the battle. Morimoto was in the kitchen doing prep work, so I assume that he must have had an idea what the theme ingredient might be.

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Yes, little "Tommy" who actually looked more like Tammy. I felt this was the piont where ICJ jumped the shark, with the contrived visit ala win one for the Gipper.

The whole "secret" ingredient thing is kind of a secret. The competitors get a short list of possibilities, allowing them to have a few different menu ideas.

I still mourn the loss of ICJ where unbeleivible technique allways inspired me. Now all we have is Mousaka beating one of the most gifted cooks in the US. Lame-O.

cook slow, eat slower

J.Chovancek

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As previously discussed in this eGullet thread, it was revealed a while back that it's really one of just two ingredients, not five. From the original New York Times article, "Samurai of Cuisine, On a New Battlefield," January 14, 2005:

Both teams are readier for the challenge than most viewers realize. They have come to Kitchen Stadium knowing that they will be cooking with one of two ingredients, striped bass or buffalo, a choice negotiated in advance with the network.

The same was undoubtedly true of the original Fuji TV series, but as I believe someone noted in the old thread, they never claimed it was secret on the original series, just that it was the theme ingredient. It was a secret kept from the audience up until the reveal, though.

Fake chairman, fake cooking academy, fake secret, and now fake ('scuse me...adjusted) facts from Food Network spokesperson...but still fun.

Mike Harney

"If you're afraid of your food, you're probably not digesting it right because your stomach is all crunched up in fear. So you'll end up not being well."

- Julia Child

"There's no reason to say I'm narrow-minded. Just do it my way and you will have no problem at all."

- KSC Pad Leader Guenter Wendt

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Ehh, not so surprised. Frankly I'm more surprised that there was any uncertainty at all.

Iron Chef has always had that Pro wrestling feel, you just have to substitute a flying suplex for white truffles. Same idea, down to the fact the nicknamed guys always beat the nameless dudes in the stock coveralls.

I liked the "Tommy" moment in that first ICJ/America match, it just added to the over the top schmaltz of the series. But I also liked the crossover moments -- Iron Chef Chen (? I can't really remember) on that Gordon Elliot "door knock dinner" show.

s

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frankly i'd be shocked to hear if anyone is shocked at all. i figured it was common knowledge that the teams were given at least some sort of idea of what the ingredient must be. common sense?

whether it's 2 or 5, i really don't know the details of the quoted passages, but i really don't consider it "another food network gimmick." :hmmm:

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frankly i'd be shocked to hear if anyone is shocked at all.  i figured it was common knowledge that the teams were given at least some sort of idea of what the ingredient must be.  common sense? 

whether it's 2 or 5, i really don't know the details of the quoted passages, but i really don't consider it "another food network gimmick."  :hmmm:

Ditto.

Considering how well-coordinated many of the teams seem to be, it's always been obvious to me that the chefs had some sort of heads-up on the "secret" ingredient. I would think that they would also be able to specify a grocery list of some sort, based upon the final choice, or would have an idea of what else is going to be available to them. The show is probably better for it. After all, who wants to see a chef saying "I have only two dishes to present, because all of the other things I could think to make with this ingredient, require other ingredients that are not available tonight."

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Secret ingredient or not, I still think it would go well with steamed rice (thanks Doc)! :biggrin:

I always suspected that the "theme ingredient" wasn't all that secret. But that does not mean that the techniques and such aren't worthy of some discussion.

"A sole piece of sole"? Could this be a direct translation? I know, I know, subject matter for another topic .....

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MSNBC article
Although "Iron Chef" makes it seem as though the secret ingredient that must be used is pulled completely out of nowhere, the chefs do have a little bit of advance knowledge.   A Food Network spokesperson tells us that the chefs are given a list of five ingredients in advance, knowing only that the secret ingredient will be taken from that list. We're told that this was the practice on the original "Iron Chef" as well as "Iron Chef America." Chefs have to plan multiple recipes for each ingredient. Sometimes, especially on the original show, the ingredient is some form of live fish, which must be killed on-air.

Did you ever ask yourself how the chefs could create five new dishes so quickly? :rolleyes:

Are you shocked? :shock:

Are you saying to yourself, "yet another Food Network gimmick!" :hmmm:

Unless things have changed since the first season when teams knew it would be one of two ingredients, this is simply incorrect information and the discussion that's already happened here is based on better sources. ICA is as much a competition as professional wrestling. It's entertainment. A limited choice of ingredients is necessary if chefs are expected to bring specialized equipment. Does anyone believe those chefs would bring some of the stuff they arrive with if they had no idea of what the ingredient is?

Moderator's note: We've merged some posts on the MSNBC "facts" into the ongoing ICA thread because it's just part of the story we've been discussing and more or less a rehash of material better covered earlier in the Times.

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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  • 3 weeks later...

O.K. , I have to admit that I watched the Cora- Simon hamburger battle. I realize that it is just a TV show, and not a restaurant kitchen. What is the deal with Kerry Simon's hair? I was horrified at the shaggy heap hanging around all the food. I work in a kitchen everyday- and have my hair pulled back in a hat. It just looked very bad. i hope that he doesn't work in his restaurant kitchen like that! I am sure that I was not the only person who reacted like that. (and PLEASE don't say,"he is the rock and roll chef"- what is that crap).

(Cat Cora, Mario Batalli, etc... all pull their hair back)

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  • 2 weeks later...

extreme frustration :angry::angry:

I have never before called my cable provider about service problems. I've called them three times today - FoodTV is showing a black screen!

There are only two -count 'em TWO - episodes on FoodTV that I actually care about. One is the ICA battle featuring Wylie Dufresne, and the other is tonight's "battle asparagus" with Michael Symon (local NEO boy) vs Morimoto.

Don't worry about "spoilers". If any of you can actually view tonight's episode, I'd love to hear about it.

There was a major build-up to the ICA appearance in the local press. See Plain Dealer story

here. Silly focus on the "secret ingredient" thing - a certain blabbermouth business partner of M. Symon pretty gave that much away back in April when I dined at Lola Bistro (hint: it wasn't Liz :wink: ), and that was before the battle took place. I can't imagine that Morimoto was exactly thrilled by the choice of theme ingredient.

Still, I'll be interested in seeing how they approached the challenge - if my freakin' cable company ever brings FoodTV back on line...

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Don't worry about "spoilers". If any of you can actually view tonight's episode, I'd love to hear about it.

I did watch the earlier showing, although I'm not sure I'm the best person to evaluate how the dishes came out, since the theme ingredient was asparagus, which is among my top ten most disliked foods.

Morimoto was in top form - his oversized maki in dashi broth was a work of art. If I was was served that, I would probably think about trying asparagus again. Symon also did a take on sushi, using grape leaves instead of nori, and I think that was the dish he used the flamed ouzo on. Morimoto also served an asparagus ice cream (which elicited much excitement from Alton Brown, which seemed to amuse Morimoto) with a chocolate covered asparagus spear floating in rum. The judges seemed to like it.

I hope you were able to catch this episode, either tonight or in one of the reruns. I thought it was pretty entertaining, even if I didn't want any of the dishes, and for once I agreed with the judges :-).

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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If Symon ever learns to sauce his food probably, he may have a future in this business.

LOL - seriously, Michael...how did you think Michael did last night? I thought he put out some interesting dishes (was a little surprised at the lower scores for originality), but Morimoto was "on" with all of his stuff. Just my 2 cents, but I think Michael can feel very good about his performance.

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I meant to say "properly." Symon's got a saucing problem but other than that, he's a killer cook and a chef I admire endlessly.

that said, morimoto's food looked pretty fuckin good--some of the best LOOKING food i've ever seen on iron chef. that terrine appeared to be craftsmanship at its best.

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I finally got to watch the Symon vs Morimoto battle. Very entertaining, and I thought both sides did a great job with the "secret" ingredient. Symon was gracious in defeat (from a local Cleveland forum):

The bottom line is we felt we did a good job and were happy with the way both looked and tasted. I have to admit we thought we had a great chance to win untill Morimotto busted out that stained glass asparagus roll (that thing was off the hook) My favorite dish we did was probablly the grape leave roll or the dumplings. We will be having a Iron Chef dinner at lolita soon so i will keep you posted...live to cook...ms

I'm not surprised that Morimoto won, but the scores seemed a bit lopsided to me. I agree that the "stained glass" maki was gorgeous, but I thought Symon's presentation of the oyster with avgolemono was pretty cool looking.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Okay, I know if you aren't in the Pacific NW, Tamara Murphy may be an unknown, but did anyone watch last night? 48 to 50 - those were some high scores. Still, I wonder about the outcome. There was an awful lot of applause for her food (except the pasta dish) and some lukewarm responses to Mario's. One good potsticker shouldn't make the contest. I'd rather try the stuffed pepper or the b'astilla. Anyway, she was cool as a cuke, no?

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Okay, I know if you aren't in the Pacific NW, Tamara Murphy may be an unknown, but did anyone watch last night? 48 to 50 - those were some high scores. Still, I wonder about the outcome. There was an awful lot of applause for her food (except the pasta dish) and some lukewarm responses to Mario's. One good potsticker shouldn't make the contest. I'd rather try the stuffed pepper or the b'astilla. Anyway, she was cool as a cuke, no?

I have to agree that I was surprised when Mario won but then I remembered he lost the previous battle and heaven forbid that an Iron Chef lose two times in a row. Tamara did a great job; her dishes looked good (tasted good too according to the judges) and I really wanted to try the curry dish presented in the tagine.

"Eat it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." TMJ Jr. R.I.P.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Watched the Turkey battle with Flay vs. Two Hot Tamales (Feniger and Milliken) and was surprised to see it come out a tie.

While I wasn't thrilled with Flay's idea of Turkey Breast, stuffing, and cranberries prepared 5 different ways, I thought his food looked much more appealing than that of Feniger and Milliken. Just glad I didn't have to taste their Turkey "scotch eggs" or Turkey Broth Sorbet.

I'm not opposed to savory sorbets; but, then to serve it covered in chocolate in a chocolate tuile? Bleah. Maybe, if they had played up some sort of mole connection...

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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  • 1 month later...

I was very excited to watch this last night. It was nice to see these chefs have lamb to work with.. It is so much more exciting then a fish or a vegetable to me.. I was dissapointed that there was no offal or head.. But thats ok.. The thing that really really disturbed me and actually ruined the entire show were the judges.. I turned it on late so I didnt get their intro's.. I thought for a while that the pretty blond was the singer Jewel, but then I figured Jewel would know more about food..

Normally, they use really bad judges, but last nights was beyond.. It reminded me of a bad episode of the View.. It was a bunch of yenta women sitting around discussing lots of different things, including food.. And please dont think I am being harsh. These women knew nothing about food.. The first thing that shocked me was not one judge broke the yolk of their Quail Egg.. When Flay served his green eggs and lamb, the judges just tried the egg white of the quail egg and left the yolk undisturbed.. Next disturbing thing was when the women was grossed out by the raw lamb dish.. Another absolutely ridiculous comment was made by the same women who was grossed out .. "Wow, I like lamb, I mean I guess I like lamb" As if she was just coming to the realization after trying lamb for the first time.. I think the woman in the middle called one of Burke's dishes "Sexy"..

Anyone know who these women were? Or what their qaulifications were? Its really upsetting to see these great Chefs stand there and listen to these morons evaluate there dishes.. If they have to use judges for political reasons, just have them come on and make comments.. But dont pretend this thing is a competition..Dont have a chef's reputation and creations be judge by these people...

Edited by Daniel (log)
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I had the same problem...the s.o. flipped over to the game during the judge intros so I was flying blind as well. It was like a flashback to the ditzy actresses on ICJ. They truly hadn't a clue and were clearly queasy at the mere thought of eating lamb in most of its forms, never mind having any worthy insight into the preparation. Even IC Flail was just laughing at them - not with them - when he was presenting his dishes. And the perfunctory hug/pat on the back after Flay was announced the winner was accompanied by a brief exchange which, I assumed, went something like "ignorant fools" (only probably more colloquial).

Just when you thought they couldn't sink any lower...battle "cheesecake" :angry:

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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