The Next Iron Chef

Did anyone else watch this?

As someone who thinks that Iron Chef America is one of Food Networks few remaining decent shows, I was looking forward to last nights premier of the new round of Iron Chef qualifiers.

A couple thoughts:

  • I think Food Network has finally given up on worrying about overlapping with Top Chef. Except for the “Food Network People” contestants, all the major chefs here have appeared on some iteration of Top Chef, and they even name dropped the show on several occasions.

  • Robert Irvine can’t get kicked off this show quickly enough. Though I will admit that after being forced to sit through an episode of Restaurant: Impossible, I dont hate him as much as I used to. It’s like a low rent version of the BRITISH version of Kitchen Nightmares, and neatly avoids (at least in the episode I saw) all of the crappy reality TV stuff that infects the Fox version of Kitchen Nightmares.

  • Alex Guarnaschelli is much better on this show than on Chopped. Watching her having a nervous breakdown about every single thing she cooked was a lot more entertaining than watching her nitpick something made by someone else.

  • Anne Burrell is the only “Food Network” person here I am really rooting for.

  • They seem to have really focused on getting people who viewers have seen before this season. This is a big contrast to last season, where basically I had no idea who most of the cast was. I recognized every single person on this season.

  • Michael Chiarello hasn’t changed at all since Top Chef Masters, and he is my current pick to win.

  • I miss the judges from the first season of Next Iron Chef. I realize Michael Ruhlman is a friend of Anthony Bourdain, and God forbid we let anything touched by him appear on Food Network anymore, but the judges since then have been generally flat (with the exception of Steingarten). The debates between Ruhlman, Knowlton, and Arpaia were amazing.

  • Finally, SPIKE!!! I have to admit that I don’t hate Spike nearly as much as I did during his first appearance on Top Chef, and I have eaten at both “We The Pizza” and “The Good Stuff Eatery” and enjoyed them both. He utterly dominated this episode like the reality show veteran he is, but by the end, it was obvious he was getting the loser edit. Considering some of the chefs there, he was never going to win the thing, but it was an entertaining episode.

There are too many Iron Chefs. The title is losing its mystique. Morimoto, Flay… the other guy… they are true Iron Chefs. The rest are poseurs.