Posted by Lauren

next iron chef 01 Drafting the Next Iron Chef

Have you heard of The Food Network’s show Next Iron Chef: Redemption? Well, it’s one of my favorites. Last season, when Geoffrey Zakarian was crowned the next iron chef, my friend Andrew and I had a little wager going. Unfortunately, he bet Zakarian would win, so… basically I lost. We agreed to draft chefs after watching the first episode of this season. I can’t wait to have a winning chef this time around! Go Alex, go!


  1. Amanda Freitag
  2. Elizabeth Faulkner
  3. Jehangir Mehta
  4. Spike Mendelsohn


  1. Alex Guarnaschelli
  2. Nate Appleman
  3. Erik Greenspan
  4. Marcel Vigneron

So here’s the premise. First, all chefs complete in the Chairman’s Challenge.

next iron chef chairmans challenge Drafting the Next Iron Chef

There’s always a theme – episode 1 centered on Resourcefulness and episode 2 focused on Innovation. No shortage of twists during the Chairman’s Challenge!

After a winner and honorable mentions are selected, the bottom 2 or 3 battle it out in the Secret Ingredient Showdown.

next iron chef secret ingredient showdown Drafting the Next Iron Chef

Each chef gets 30 minutes to artfully prepare a dish highlighting a random ingredient. Meanwhile, all the other chefs look on and shout ‘encouraging’ words. Yeah, I’m sure the hot-seat chefs really want to hear what you think.

Episode 3 aired tonight! But first let’s chat about episode 1 and 2…

next iron chef ep1 01 Drafting the Next Iron Chef

Challenge: be resourceful with the limited pantry, the matches, the aluminum foil, and the primitive fire pit that you A. need to start and B. need to share with another chef. Easy peasy.

next iron chef ep1 02 Drafting the Next Iron Chef

Each chef got an ingredient that “took them out” on a previous competition. For my #1 Alex G-$, she had lobster! My #3, Greenspan, had to use grasshoppers, AGAIN.

next iron chef ep1 03 Drafting the Next Iron Chef

We met the judges: Simon Majumdar (food and travel writer), Geoffrey Zakarian (last year’s winner and owner of multiple fireplaces), and Donatella Arpaia.. her advice came straight out of a cheerocracy flick: Bring it.

next iron chef ep1 04 Drafting the Next Iron Chef

I have a hunch that Zakarian and G-$ are more than friends; his high acclaim of her lobster dish only adds weight to my argument.

next iron chef ep1 05 Drafting the Next Iron Chef

next iron chef ep1 06 Drafting the Next Iron Chef

I was equally proud of my #2, Nate Appleman, for his rendition of bananas. He prepared a banana curry with clams and roasted banana dish that blew the judges out of the water.

next iron chef ep1 07 Drafting the Next Iron Chef

next iron chef ep1 08 Drafting the Next Iron Chef

After all 10 chefs listened to the judges complain about too much salt, too little heat, bad bread, no texture, blah blah…. it was time to announce a winner!

next iron chef ep1 09 Drafting the Next Iron Chef

I actually think Faulkner is a serious contender. She shut down her SF restaurant a year ago and I was almost positive it was because she would win last season. Alas, I was wrong. Season 1′s runner-up has even more reason for redemption!

But Faulkner didn’t win. Alex G-$ did.

next iron chef ep1 10 Drafting the Next Iron Chef

By the way, who is Duskie?

next iron chef ep1 11 Drafting the Next Iron Chef

Part two, Secret Ingredient Showdown for the bottom two chefs: Tim Love and Spike.

next iron chef ep1 12 Drafting the Next Iron Chef

Both chefs spent 30 minutes preparing a savory dish with pineapple as the star. Texan restauranteur Tim Love decided he had enough time for a tequila shot.

next iron chef ep1 13 Drafting the Next Iron Chef

Pineapples are one of my 3 least favorite foods. Icky!

next iron chef ep1 14 Drafting the Next Iron Chef

In the end, the judges axed Chef Love and his pickled pineapple, quail, crispy kale, and juiced corn dish. Chef Spike made it through with a Vietnamese-style sweet and sour branzino.

next iron chef ep1 15 Drafting the Next Iron Chef

As for episode 2, G-$ picked three groups of three to innovate on classic food concepts: taco, falafel, and the banh mi.

next iron chef ep2 01 Drafting the Next Iron Chef

In the banh mi group: Faulkner, Appleman, and Greenspan. All solid contenders. (didn’t snap a screenshot)

next iron chef ep2 02 Drafting the Next Iron Chef

next iron chef ep2 03 Drafting the Next Iron Chef

15 TV-magic minutes later, the judges picked a winner in each group: Greenspan for the banh mi, G-$ for the taco, and Mehta for the falafel. Chef Mehta actually won the ‘best dish’ award and I agree that his was the most “innovative.” At least Greenspan knows a judge would marry him for his food.

next iron chef ep2 04 Drafting the Next Iron Chef

Is that an unfair advantage?

Needless to say, Alex was a happy camper.

next iron chef ep2 05 Drafting the Next Iron Chef

The bottom 3 proceeded to the Secret Ingredient Showdown: white bread.

next iron chef ep2 06 Drafting the Next Iron Chef

Faulkner’s dish won high praises – she prepared a modern Monte Cristo stuffed with goat cheese and bacon along with a french toast ice cream. Alton implied that it should be Faulkner sitting at the judges table instead of Zakarian. He was not amused.

next iron chef ep2 07 Drafting the Next Iron Chef

In the end, Duskie (pigtail lady) packed her bags. Neither of us drafted her so I’m 100% indifferent after episode 2. Can’t wait for the next one to hit Hulu!

Question: What’s your favorite cooking show?



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