Episode 1 — Next Iron Chef: Greenspan eaten by grasshoppers

OK, we have to admit: we were nervous. Really nervous. Our pick to win the Next Iron Chef–Chef Dominique Crenn–almost got eliminated on the very first show! She had to cook 2 dishes with sea cucumber, an ingredient she apparently had not ever seen before. Suffice it to say, Chef Dominique had no idea how to cook sea cucumber. If you are wondering what sea cucumber is, take a look:

Crenn was saved, though, by Chef Eric Greenspan, who had the unenviable task of cooking 2 dishes with grasshoppers. Yes, grasshoppers! (No picture needed.)

The other 8 chefs also had pretty out-there ingredients:

1. Seamus Mullen – stinky tofu (apparently smells like turd)
2. Amanda Freitag – eel
3. Jehangir Mehta – duck tongue
4. Brad Farmerie – darian
5. Nate Appelman – unlaid eggs
6. Jose Garces – cockscomb
7. Holly Smith – jellyfish
8. Roberto Trevino – chicken feet

The judges thought Nate Appelman’s dishes with unlaid eggs were the best. Appelman is a character, kind of like a Chuck Liddell for the kitchen. Appelman managed to insult many of the other chefs. During the first round, he told Dominique Crenn he “didn’t enjoy” her dish. He told Seamus Mullen that his salmon would have been better with acid. He also criticized Jose Garces’s chicken as too dry, even though the majority of other chefs voted it as the best first round dish.