The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs, "Storytelling": big apple tricks

Quick Take: The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs, “Storytelling”
New York City plays host to the next stage of the Iron Chef competition.  

Iron Chef 5

Review: The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs, “Storytelling”
(S0405) Host Alton Brown assembles the six remaining Super Chefs to NYC this week at Grand Central Station. For the Chairman’s Challenge, Brown says he’s got six different cards that are to be selected by each chef. From the card, they are to create a food narrative around the location revealed. Mystery meat and more!

Chef Michael Chiarello won the last Challenge so he gets to choose last. Chef Burrell goes first and she gets Central Park. Chef Falkner gets the Statue of Liberty. Chef Samuelson selects Broadway, while Chef Guarnaschelli gets the Empire State.  Chef Zakarian is awarded Times Square and lastly, Chef Chiarello is given the choice of stealing a location from another chef or taking the last card. Chiarello obviously is a history nerd that loves Lady Liberty so he snags the bronze Madame and Falkner is given the last card…The Brooklyn Bridge.

Brown then tells the gang they will have $250 and 20 minutes to shop at the Grand Central gourmet market for their storied meal. All six will then cook at Charlie Palmer’s Restaurant and plate for Brown, the three judges and guest judges Chef Charlie Palmer and former Iron Chef winner Chef Forgione.

Crazed cooking ensues, par every other episode, until Chef Guarnaschelli doesn’t look where she is placing her food and it goes right into a vat of pasta water. She looks pissed at herself and she scrambles to fix the mess by cooking again in the 20 minutes left. Can she do it? Hmmm….

At Judge’s Table, Brown, Judy Joo, Simon Majumdar, Palmer and Forgione are served while they listen to the chef on deck relay the inspiration for their narrative. Burrell comes out of the gate strong with her meal inspired by her own journey from small town NY to Tuscany and then back to NYC. The judges find her food and story totally successful.

Guarnaschelli is next and her bag of aromatic Empire State smells open the meal. I wish I had a smell button on my TV because NYC has some pretty great smells at times and some pretty awful ones so I was super curious about what that whiff was like. The judges weren’t offended and they called it clever but not necessary. However they loved her story and the food. Zakarian also gets kudos for his New Year’s Eve inspired menu, even though he gets spanked again for making multiple dishes. Pulling up the positive pack is Chiarello with his nerdy history fact inspired menu which was informative and tasty.

At the bottom of the pack are chefs Falkner and Samuelsson who don’t express their narratives in a strong or concise way so they’re sent to battle it out in the Iron Chef kitchen over…Bagels!

The two get elbows deep in the dough each doing their own spin essentially on a bagel and lox. Falkner creates an ice cream with a grilled bagel flavor (what?) amongst some other concoctions with bagel bits or infusion. Samuelsson does a pickled trout with a gazpacho and bagel dumplings. The judges think the menu is Samuelsson’s most focused of the competition. Falkner is credited for great flavors and a thoughtful presentation. Both get points for technique and creativity, with neither tripping. It ends up a close one with best bagel flavor winning and Samuelsson is sent home. Falkner lives to cook another day!

By Tara Bennett

About the author

is an author (The Lost Encyclopedia), a national entertainment journalist and a media studies adjunct professor at Rowan University. She's been a film, TV and pop culture junkie for as long as she can remember and she's got the old TV Guide's to prove it. Pray for her thighs as she spends far too much time at her desk writing or her couch watching what she loves.

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