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.
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?
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.
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.
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.