Daily Archive: November 25, 2012

Next Iron Chef: Simplicity

Posted by Lauren

Remember how I love the show The Next Iron Chef: Redemption? And how my pal Andrew and I drafted chefs for a friendly competition? Episode 1 and 2 set the scene for an even more interesting third episode. This week’s theme? Simplicity!

We begin at a random Farmer’s Market somewhere in LA County. Food photographer Todd Selby shows up to take awkward family photos, Alton Plus Eight. Ok, not really. But Mr. Selby is there to capture each chef’s “essence” in a photograph. My girl Alex G-$ said it perfectly: “but how is this relevant to the challenge?”

Chef Freitag got her game face on…

But was still very skeptical…

Selby truly highlighted the “essence” of each chef: liquid-nitrogen-lover Vigneron played around with caramel sauce, pastry chef Faulkner tossed pizza dough, and Appleman ripped apart some meat because he’s so devilish. Riiiiiiight.

Again, why were the photographs necessary?!

For the Chairman’s Challenge, the Mischievous Mehta paired chefs together (since he won last week)… both Andrew and I ended up with our picks competing against our other picks.

Appleman and Freitag are the only ones with uncrossed arms. What does this mean?!!!

Alton described the Chairman’s Challenge and the chefs sized up their competition. Each chef needed to create an offering that reflected the personality of their opponent in one itty bitty bite. If I had to make an Appleman amuse-bouche it would be one tortilla chip with a squeeze of lime and kosher salt a la Chipotle.

Alton said “GO!” and off the chefs went to the fridge to scavenge for truffles.

In Alton’s words: “don’t fight, food doesn’t like violence” #truth

The chefs got started and all I remember is that Faulkner said she chose a “sexy urchin, because [she] thinks Freitag is pretty sexy” … and then Freitag MEOW-ed. Not kidding.

Time ran out and the chef duos presented their interpretative dishes to the judges.

My fourth draft pick, Marcel Vigneron, argued that his egg dish is like Alex being a mom SLASH learning how to cook from her mom (are either true?) and had brown butter croutons because her first restaurant is called Butter (that does make sense).

Alex G-$ was impresed with the frothy, chorizo-y, egg cup rendition… but no one upstages her. She offered up this beauty:

Opinions are all my own, but the souffléd goat cheese is all G-$.

And, this happened:

+580 points to my argument that Alex and Geoffrey are secretly in love

But then my scariest competitors, Andrew’s first and second picks, Freitag and Faulkner, went to the judging table. They all ooh-ed and ahh-ed over Freitag’s interpretation of Faulkner.

Both Mehta and Spike had boring dishes. But Mehta’s soggy dolma thing put him in the bottom 4. Either that or the judges think he is as spooky as I do!

My 3rd and 2nd picks made some of the best dishes of all. Appleman’s rendition of Greenspan edged out G’s sea urchin deviled eggs.

Yeah, truffles and caviar. I see why Appleman won that round.

Also safe: the modest Chef Spike.

Alex would have done a happy dance had she earned the title of “best dish.” But, she didn’t. So this is what we got instead:

Time for the Secret Ingredient SHOWDOWN! Alton revealed my personal favorite ingredient ever: CEREAL!

WOWEE. They must know I watch this show.

The secret ingredients, Raisin Bran and Rice Krispies, BOTH had to be included. Appleman looked frightened, but he beat Greenspan and really didn’t have to fret his pretty face over such things!

Faulkner, like last week, thrived under pressure. She took it down to the WIRE though with plating that steamy marshmallow truffle.

Meanwhile, my top two picks freeeeeaked out. Calm down!!

Yes, they LOVED OMG SO MUCH LOVE Chef Faulkner’s tartufo bianco. They invited her back to the next Secret Ingredient Showdown just to highlight her best under-pressure cooking.

Vigneron’s juvenile plating of a rice krispie treat in an open-faced coconut almost got him off the show. He survived, but it won’t be long.

It came down to Mischievous Mehta’s oily crab cakes vs. Greenspan’s awkward tuna (aka Andrew’s #3 pick against my #3 pick).

In the end, my guy got sent home :( Greenspan was merely out-conceptualized by the others, not out-cooked – a point he made clear in his closing remarks.

Goodbye Grasshopper.

Question: If you could sum yourself up in one bite, what would it be?
I’m probably a fudgy brownie studded with peanut butter chips, dusted with cayenne pepper.