Resident Foodies say: Iron Chef will remain an all-boys club, save one. Chef Geoffrey Zakarian won the Next Iron Chef, defeating Chef Elizabeth Falkner, in a holiday-themed cook-off in Kitchen Stadium. A number of the judges–5 men (including the Chairman) and 1 woman–seemed to think Chef Falkner cooked the best dish of the night, but Chef Zakarian, known as a master technician, had the best overall meal. Falkner was described by some of the judges as the more creative chef and with greater potential, plus her pastry skills, but Zakarian was considered to be a master chef already. Judge Simon Majumdar, however, was vocal in his dislike of one of Zakarian’s dishes, the “gift” dish made of beef, which Majumdar found chewy and described as a “flop.” It wasn’t exactly clear how the Iron Chef is selected–by a majority vote or by the Chairman based on the advice of the judges. In the end, though, Zakarian won.
With Chef Zakarian, Iron Chef has now 7 men and 1 woman, a gender disparity that is now worse than the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court (more on that later).
Congrats to Chef Zakarian and Chef Falkner for a spirited finale.
Resident Foodies say: Tonight is the finale of Next Iron Chef. Chef Geoff Zakarian, a master technician, is the favorite, while Chef Elizabeth Falkner, who is a pastry chef, is the underdog. Our bet is on Chef Falkner. She would become the second woman to be an Iron Chef, joining Cat Cora.
Resident Foodies say: December 11’s episode of Next Iron Chef was a double elimination. Chef Alexandra Guarneschelli was the first to go, while Chef Geoff Zakarian–who has been consistent all season–was the first to make it into the finale. The secret ingredient for the challenge between the remaining two chefs was crackers. Chef Michael Chiarello lost based on flavor and integration of the secret ingredient.
That means Chef Elizabeth Falkner goes up against Chef Zakarian, female against male, West Coast v. East Coast. Zakarian may be the favorite, but Falkner should win it all. It’s “Tebow Time” for Chef Falkner to pull this thing out.
Resident Foodies say: Chef Geoffrey Zakarian and Chef Anne Burrell were in the bottom two this week and had a cook-off with Ponzu and Panko bread crumbs. The twist was that they had to make a dessert, instead of a savory dish with the two Japanese ingredients.
Zakarian made a soufflé, while Burrell made a zucchini involtini. The judges really liked both dishes (as Michael Symon said, both were Iron Chef worthy dishes), but ultimately decided to keep Chef Zakarian based on his technical skills, which all three judges have continued to rave about. The judges also thought he had one of the top dishes earlier that evening, so that probably helped. Zakarian was in the bottom two only because Chef Burrell was given the vote, based on her victory last week in the NYC challenge, to pick the least risky dish of the night. She picked Zakarian because he cooked wagyu beef in the least risky way of the remaining chefs. Ironically, Burrell had the most time to cook her dish (based on her victory last week), but ended up in the bottom two, pitted against the chef she selected for the bottom. She picked her poison.
The competition is now down to the Final Four: Chef Zakarian, Elizabeth Falkner, Alexandra Guarnaschelli, and Michael Chiarello. Two men, two women. Two West coasters, and two East coasters.
Resident Foodies say: Episode 5 of Next Iron Chef was a NYC challenge. Chef Marcus Samuelsson was eliminated after a bagel cook off with Chef Elizabeth Falkner. Both were in the bottom two after their first dishes (storytelling about NYC) placed lowest among the judges. Samuelsson looked stunned by the elimination. The elimination wasn’t too surprising as Samuelsson never really seemed to get untracked during the entire competition, with his dishes failing to really impress the judges.
Five judges remain, including 3 women. Anne Burrell, Alex Guarnaschelli, Elizabeth Falkner, Michael Chiarello, and Geoffrey Zakarian. Smart money would be on a woman to win, especially given that Cat Cora is the only female Iron Chef so far–with 6 men. That’s worse than the Supreme Court.
Resident Foodies say: In Episode 4, Chef Beau MacMillan of Scottsdale got eliminated, barely losing out to Chef Geoffrey Zakarian in a coconut challenge. MacMillan was in the bottom two last time, so perhaps it was his time to go, despite his strong effort.