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The Next Iron Chef Episode 2 Scorecard

October 16, 2007

· The Chairman just phones it in: +20 points
· Tons of shiny gadgetry: +30 points
· 7 Chefs intimidated by said gadgetry: +20 points
· Extremely brief glimpse of judging: -25 points
· Alton nearly has to whack a chef for failing to stop at time out: +15 points
· The last woman chef bites the dust (secret ingredient for the rest of the season: Sausage!): -10 points

Total: +50 Points

I get tired of the foam-and-mango-caviar crowd as fast as anybody, but there was a point to this — if you really understand cooking, these gadgets, powders and techniques will let you get effects you couldn’t easily get any other way.

On the other hand, if you don’t know what you’re doing, all the gadgets in the world couldn’t save you.

On Top Chef 3, Hung never met a piece of protein he wasn’t happy to sous vide, even if he had to do it over a can of Sterno. By contrast, the previous season’s foam-peddler Marcel was whining that he couldn’t do a proper job without a thermal immersion circulator.

All of the Iron Chef candidates are able to cook. Some of them got inspired by the toys and took it to another level, others floundered and flopped.

This show needs to be 90 minutes long — we seriously aren’t seeing enough of the judging. We don’t get to taste the food, so the judge’s (and Alton’s) comments are all we have to go by to understand the results of the kitchen session we just watched.

It looks like next week they’re channelling Tom and Padma and doing some goofy outdoor cooking episode. Meh.

Look, if this is for the next “Iron Chef”, then it should be all about how the contender functions or fails in an environment like “Kitchen Stadium”. Unless they’re planning on taking next season’s show on the “Rodeo and Lunch Truck” tour, who cares how well these guys can cook in the great outdoors — or for that matter, in an over-heated and under-ventilated kitchen at the CIA?

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