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Iron Chef America (Part 1)


bpearis
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Alton Brown is the sole commentator? No color guy? Who's idea was this?

looks like patricia yeo is bobby flay's assistant...

Edited by bpearis (log)

"If it's me and your granny on bongos, then it's a Fall gig'' -- Mark E. Smith

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So far the floor commentator has not been able to identify daikon and foie gras. Come on now...

And they could use some interaction between Alton and someone else.

Bill Russell

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and no crowd.  It seems a little dead.

very dead with so little play between alton and anyone else. alton would be a great foil, and someone else would make a great alton foil. but there's no one there. his little tidbits are going acknowledged. he probably feels like i do most of the time on egullet.

Edited by tommy (log)
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forcing alton to do both play-by-play and color was a big mistake. (and half his commentary was obviously done in post.) plus no live audience. there was no energy to the show. it's still better than the abomination that was the USA Networks version.

plus, am i the only one who thought sakai had it sown up?

Edited by bpearis (log)

"If it's me and your granny on bongos, then it's a Fall gig'' -- Mark E. Smith

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Assuming we can give some spoilerish info, since it's over now, here's my first impressions:

- I agree that Alton needs someone to talk to. The guy on the floor was pretty useless. I like Alton's commentary for the most part, but at times, he seemed to be waiting for someone, ANYONE else to say something.

- I also agree, it needs the studio audience. It felt a little sterile.

- I like the Chairman, and how he was a little more involved there.

- I didn't like the outcome of the battle, but then, that's how I feel about MOST Iron Chef shows, so maybe that's a plus?

- When they were showing the ingredients in the "Making of" show before the battle, I was quite pleased to notice that they had chosen many of the same brands that are in my pantry right now. I don't know if it means I chose well or they chose poorly, but I was pleased :smile: .

- I really would have liked to have seen the breakdown of the voting, not just the final results. I think how the judges awarded points is very interesting.

- On the whole, it reminds me of some of the earlier Iron Chef shows we're getting now, before they were all comfortable in their roles. It's a little awkward, but frankly, it could have been worse. LOTS worse.

Marcia.

just another viewer.

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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...

- When they were showing the ingredients in the "Making of" show before the battle, I was quite pleased to notice that they had chosen many of the same brands that are in my pantry right now. I don't know if it means I chose well or they chose poorly, but I was pleased :smile: .

...

I think it was more a matter of not having Sysco boxes everywhere.

And what brand were those jars of spices? Looked interesting, but it kind of reminded me of the Rachel Ray generic "Chicken Broth" with the fake labels.

Was that product placement, maybe? I noticed the Kraft logo evey time they had a full screen graphic.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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I liked it and thought it was light years ahead of the UPN disaster. I also think that Flay's dishes were more appealing to the American tasters...I do agree that Alton could use someone to talk too and maybe an audience or "royal box" would help in that aspect.

on another note...I am going to do a shoot with Fuji TV on Sunday at a local bar to get Americans reactions to the new show...I have to set a location up in the morning but it will be some place near Hermosa Beach...if anyone in L.A. wants to come and be part of it and maybe be on TV in japan, drop me an e mail and I will give you the location.

Moo, Cluck, Oink.....they all taste good!

The Hungry Detective

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So far the floor commentator has not been able to identify daikon and foie gras.  Come on now...

i was amazed. although, i think he's playing dumb. a little too dumb for, say, *us*, but dumb nonetheless.

they definitely need a giggling girl.

I'm surprised you didn't mention the producer-lady in the "making of". A culinary hottie.

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I realized that the appeal of the original Iron Chef (which, alas, ceased production in 1999 and is now available only in reruns) has nothing to do with food.

She lost me, and all credibility, right here.

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I think the Slate article overstates the point. I think it would be fairer to say that the appeal of the original Iron Chef was about a cross cultural experience that encompassed a lot more than what recipe was being prepared. The new version will be only about the food, at least to an American audience.

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- When they were showing the ingredients in the "Making of" show before the battle, I was quite pleased to notice that they had chosen many of the same brands that are in my pantry right now. I don't know if it means I chose well or they chose poorly, but I was pleased :smile: .

i missed that show, but didn't i see "taste of thai" coconut milk at one point during the battle!?!?!?!? :blink::blink::blink:

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in the making-of they showed one of the producers going shopping and one of the ingredients on the list was lotus root. they showed the guy buying a package of pre-sliced lotus root... what they can't find a whole one?

"If it's me and your granny on bongos, then it's a Fall gig'' -- Mark E. Smith

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I'm surprised you didn't mention the producer-lady in the "making of". A culinary hottie.

Me too! and I am a practicing (still perfecting though!) card-carrying heterosexual!

She seemed very knowledgeable and she should have been more prominently featured even! :biggrin:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Well, the Battle of the Masters is upon us. I liked it for the most part, but agree it needs to be tweaked a bit. I do think some of it gets lost in the exchange of cultures with regards to Fuji TV vs Food Network produced shows. I do think that it was pretty serious and very focused on the food elements. I also think that Alton did an outstanding job, but could use a guest sidekick.

Now, your thoughts please.

Moo, Cluck, Oink.....they all taste good!

The Hungry Detective

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I also think that Alton did an outstanding job, but could use a guest sidekick.

but, hopefully, not the hapless oriental lady he often picks upon mercilessly at his local, Atlanta Bed Bath and Beyond! :unsure:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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I definitely liked the kitchen and the layout of the new set and I am glad that it was nothing like the USA version starring William Shatner. But I was dissapointed with the panel's decision. It may have something to do with my dislike/fervent hatred of Bobby Flay or because I really like Sakai. I just didn't think that after 83 wins and only 7 losses Flay would become Sakai's 8th.

Edited by carp (log)
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I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that the American panel wasn't used to the tastes and style of Sakai's cooking.

Sort of like when Bobby Flay went to Japan to battle Morimoto and fed the Japanese panel Tameles.

I let Jsmeeker tell me where to eat in Vegas.

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I wonder where the old sidekick was? I thought Alton was great but without that guy interrupting with "SQUISHY-SAN!" all the time kinda disappointed us! (Yep, we had a party...)

Looking forward to tonight... :raz:

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

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I am not too surprised by the new IC's blandness. The tasting judges, as far as we could tell, were not interacting either amongst themselves or with the commentator, something which gave the Japanese version some of its spirit. Remember the fun they all had of trying to guess what the ingredients were and what dish/flavour pairing was going to result? Poor AB, speculating all alone.

I was definitely surprised at the ignorance and lack of attention that the "floor" man/team was paying to the food. How can anyone that is in any way familiar with food not know what foie gras is? Could he not even take an educated guess? True, sometimes the Japanese floor man was unaware of some of the foodstuff that the more Western competitors would be using, but somehow, it was not as glaring. Maybe because he knew his Asian produce? They should have let the woman who was in charge of the collection of the food, or maybe the guy that bought the presliced lotus root be heard commenting on the food, would have been a)more knowledgeable b)more enthusiastic.

I do think it would be nice to have judges that try seriously to convey the taste and smell and texture of the food for us, the audience. It was really part part of the fun listening to the lyrical and sometimes funny/bizarre comments of the judges and trying to get a sense of how the dish tasted, smelled, felt in the mouth. Is that too much to ask? Oh, I forgot, It's a remake, I should remember to lower my already low expectations regarding any TV product even further.

P.S. I do think the USA show did have one thing right, the American chefs are in garb that is a little more practical, and chef-friendly. No sweaty satin here.

tu autem servasti bonum vinum usque adhuc

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I agree, Chris. Some people had complaints about Brown, but I thought he added excitement to it. I don't know how much of that was filler and how much was live, but he seemed to be on top of things and constantly correcting the guy on the floor. I think we need someone with a more distinct voice than the guy on the floor and he should probably bug the chefs a bit more like they did on the old show. I do think an audience might be helpful. It's weird that when they come out there's no applause. I just wouldn't want the audience of Americans we got in Japan when Flay went. They were a little too rowdy. We need a good golf crowd that yells "You're the man" every once in a while, but isn't constantly heckling or holding up "John 3:16" signs and painting their face.

I think a woman sidekick to Alton that also has a nice balance of knowledge and humor would be a good fit. Or maybe just getting the panelists involved and asking questions here and there and acting all surprised when the chefs do something or other. That way there's a little more emotion. People complained about Alton "waiting for someone else to speak", but I actually thought it came across frantic, like he was having a tough time getting in everything there was to say. He commented way more than on the ICJ, where people generally are giggling and joking about something when Ohta breaks in: "Fukui-san!"

It can use some tweaking, but it's light years ahead of the USA version, which was all flash and faux drama, without the substance. This one has substance and drama (the unveiling of those flopping trout, the fact that PETA is probably pissed at watching Flay throw one around and then dispatch its head with a cleaver, was fun). It just needs a little more time to come into its own and be tweaked a little, I think.

If you saw the very early ICJs, they're a little raw here and there, too. Most shows are (few TV shows, even ones with huge popularity, like Seinfeld and The Simpsons, start out great from the beginning).

I think the one thing I would do immediately, if I were the producer, would be to spend some time with the panel training them to speak descriptively about food. It's always tough, especially when trying to say good things about food. But it's very important and ICJ was always good at that, even if it came across hokey on first viewing.

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I'm going to wait until I see all the battles twice before I say too much; but I think they did a good job (I got a sense for the dishes, though not as much as I would have liked). AB did a creditable job, though I agree that he needs a partner. I also think they should have had someone on the panel that has tasted real Japanese cuisine. It's different--there's no other way to describe it. So, unless you've had it, it's hard to judge it. (yes, I'm learning how to cook Japanese) As for the winner, I was disapointed, but not too surprised.

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