For Top Chef Fans: the Next "Iron Chef"

I am surprised that none of you top chefies out there posted about this. Perhaps you’d forgotten about it like I had. Anyway, I did catch it last night, and the format is really kinda similar to Top Chef, except that you have a much higher caliber of contestant, and the focus really is on the food in this one. I thought it was pretty fun, overall.

Much better hosting and judging, also!

It was pretty good although I wish they’d lose that chairman. He is so god damned annoying and phony.

No! I love the Chairman. My 5-year old son went through a phase of loving Iron Chef above anything else. He would haul out the plastic play food and reproduce an entire show complete with timers, judge reviews, commentary, the whole bit. I learned to love the smarm that Chairman brings to every show.

In any case, my real question is which Iron Chef are they replacing?

Iron Chef Japan Chairman, yes. Iron Chef America chairman, no.


Oh yes, the Japanese guy was great. The American guy sucks.

My understanding is that Mario Batali is not getting renewed.

That’s too bad if it’s true. Batali always came up with something neat. I figured that they were going to add another Iron Chef.

I do like that all the contestants are sharp. Much better than their last show that featured folks trying to get a show on the network.

Batali? WTF, he works 80% of the episodes.

Food Network appears to be nearly finished with their Batali-ectomy. The guy’s almost completely gone from the network.

Although I’ve watched most of 3 seasons of ICA, I prefer the original. First, the commentators are 14 flavors of awesome. Mistranslations (that seem on purpose, given the western flavor of many of the comments), strange ingredients, bizzare behavoir. That is the IC I know. Do you get to see a chef punch a helper in the head in ICA? Didn’t think so. Will you see whole live giant octopus or stingray? How about fantastic, firey szechuan cuisine? How about trumped up rivalries and grudge matches that have all the drama of…well…wrestling? Does the chairman ride into the arena on a horse?

And the taster comments are priceless beyond compare. There’s nothing like a cute japanese woman saying “At first when I put it in my mouth, it was masculine. Then it became feminine!” while giggling. Or, the infamous “It’s like a fluffy cloud…in my mouth!” Jeffrey Steingarten is pretty amusing, but he’s no quirky japanese opera singer.

Sorry for the mini rant…I’m passionate about the IC.

I watched this last night for the very first time, an Iron Chef virgin if you will. Cool show! Some of the stuff the come up with is insane.

I’ve noticed lately that when they show a close-up of his hands they shake really bad, he might have some kinda muscular disorder and is getting out voluntarily.

Maybe, but the impression one gets from reading Heat is that Batali’s appetite for food is only exceeded by his appetite for drugs and alcohol. He might be shaking for other reasons. One anecdote which stuck in my mind is that the guy commonly polishes off a half-case of wine by himself during an evening’s festivities: that’s about 36 drinks and 3600 calories, from wine alone.

According to this article, Mario is still going to be on Iron Chef, but his other show (Molto Mario) will no longer be shown. Not a huge deal - the article mentions that there have not been new episodes of Molto for a few years.

Would you enjoy ICA more if they redubbed the show using IC’s voice over actors? That’s really the main difference between the two shows. IC’s food selection was more bizarre, but it was filmed in Japan. American show, American food. Japanese show, Japanese food.

The chairman is a pointless character. ICA would have been better off dumping that portion of the show. The asian battle arena theme didn’t really cross over to the American version. They should hire Christopher Walken and dress him up as his character in Balls of Fury and let him ad lib the intro.

There’s some other differences between the original Iron Chef versus the American one that are significant.

Alton Brown is essentially talking to himself. As a play-by-play announcer, he needs a colour commentator to play off of. Where is Dr. Hattori when you really need him?

The chefs have their own sous chefs who seem to be given assignments to do entirely on their own. So it seems less like Iron Chef and more like Iron Chef and company.

Tim, I’m pretty sure that half the skill of being an Iron Chef is being able to delegate effectively to your sous chefs. I actually find that element to be a great part of the challenge, because you have to be able to effectively multithread a shitload of stuff.

The chairman is pointless in that he has no function that requires him. However, in the Japanese version he provides 100% awesome, no matter how superfluous. Biting into that pepper in the open, the mouthpiece for the challenger background, the rare times he played an active role in storylines (usually the grudge matches).

It’s not essential, but it’s an intangible that makes the show awesomer.

On the other hand, the chairman in the original never wound up dying of radiation poisoning in Cradle 2 the Grave.

When he bites into the pepper, is he holding back laughter or gagging?