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Iron Chef Gauntlet: Gladiators Ready!

On Iron Chef Gauntlet, seven of the country’s most-elite chefs will come together to prove that their skills are the sharpest — but ultimately just one will earn the right to the run the gauntlet for the chance to join the ranks of the great Iron Chefs.

Alton Brown is host and Chairman.

Three of the contestants — Nyesha Arrington, Stephanie Izard, and Sarah Grueneberg — were on previous seasons of Top Chef, and Jonathan Sawyer competed on Chopped. But the other competitors — Jason Dady, Michael Gulotta, and Shota Nakajima — are all newcomers to the world of TV cooking competitions.

NEW YORK – March 2, 2017 – The elite culinary skill, strategy and stamina of Iron Chef America returns to Food Network this spring with Iron Chef Gauntlet, a fresh reboot of the fan-favorite franchise hosted by the incomparable Alton Brown. The six-episode primetime event begins with seven extraordinary chefs competing for the chance to become an Iron Chef – each week one will rise and one will fall until a single chef is left standing, but in order to gain entry into this ultimate culinary society, one gladiator must win the Gauntlet - three rapid-succession battles, each against one legendary Iron Chef: Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto or Michael Symon. Iron Chef Gauntlet premieres Sunday, April 16th at 9pm (all times ET/PT), preceded by the one-hour special The Legend of Iron Chef at 8pm, which celebrates historic moments, and followed by the series premiere of Iron Chef Eats at 10pm, where familiar faces from Iron Chef reveal their favorite food spots from around the country. Online, a digital companion series rolls out simultaneously with new episodes, offering fans culinary inspiration, along with tips and tricks that home cooks can use in their own kitchens.

In the first five Iron Chef Gauntlet episodes, the competitors endure two grueling rounds of cooking starting with the Chairman’s Challenge where host Alton Brown delivers a themed challenge and is the sole decision maker on the most and least successful chef. The winner then selects a competitor to join the bottom chef in the Secret Ingredient Challenge, where they must cook three dishes featuring the secret ingredient presented on the altar. A panel of rotating judges send the least successful chef home each week, while the winner is sent back to battle. In the finale on Sunday, May 21st at 9pm, the last chef standing has the Iron Chef title in reach – but first, the chef must run the Gauntlet - three rapid-succession Secret Ingredient battles, each against one legendary Iron Chef: Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto or Michael Symon. Only if the finalist receives more points than the Iron Chefs combined will history be made, joining the coveted ranks of Iron Chefs, otherwise they will leave the kitchen in utter defeat.

In the premiere episode, Alton welcomes the seven chefs and presents the first Chairman’s Challenge ingredients: an array of wild ingredients. The chefs must use their expert technique to make a top-tier dish right out of the gate. Alton determines the most and least successful dishes, and the bottom-rated chef is thrown into the deep end for a Secret Ingredient Showdown against a competitor chosen by the winner. Three culinary interpretations of the secret ingredient are presented from both chefs to judges Donatella Arpaia and Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian and one competitor is sent home. Upcoming guest judges include Iron Chefs Cat Cora, Marc Forgione, Jose Garces and Alex Guarnaschelli, and food experts Ali Bouzari, Anne Burrell, Giada De Laurentiis, Anya Fernald, Ching-He Huang and Ludo Lefebvre.

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I'm sure actually watching tonight will clear it up, but at this point it's not clear how Alton Brown "is the sole decision maker on the most and least successful chef" if they also have judges.  It also bugs me a bit that there are more Iron Chefs judging than there are cooking, but I understand the gauntlet concept.

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I was confused at the description of the show's concept, which seems all over the place.  Figured I'd just have to watch it to find out how the new incarnation is structured.  It hasn't aired here yet on the West Coast, so it'll be awhile before I can share my inspirational observations.:-)

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That was good!  LOVE the fact that Stephanie won the first challenge, as she is my favorite Top Chef winner and I've also eaten in her wonderful restaurant in Chicago.  I wanted Nyesha to beat Sarah but oh well, Sarah will go down soon. She relies too much on pasta.  Duh, even I can make pasta.

I am also rooting for my Ohio homeboy Jonathan Sawyer. I felt that he and Stephanie were targeting and eyeing each other as the top competitors.

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Storms kept knocking my reception out so I'm waiting for the re-airing, but am dismayed that Sarah didn't go home. If she had acknowledged her behavior on Top Chef was inappropriate, I would move on, but since she double downed and defended it the last time I saw she was asked, I don't think she deserves to be on my television as a competitor. Alas, I don't get to make the rules for the world.

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Welcome to Iron Chef Gauntlet -- presented by Alton Brown, hosted by Alton Brown, chaired by Alton Brown, judged by Alton Brown and produced by Alton Brown! And sponsored by Wal-Mart. :-P

I'm still not sure what the point of the show is. Is it to find the "next Iron Chef"? Most of these contestants aren't worthy of that title, with a few of them spinning through just about every competitive cooking show on the network (and not always winning). I do know that it's horribly paced. And it's weird that all but two of the chefs sit idle for half the show.

I love me some Alton Brown, but this feels more like a vanity project than anything.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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I totally agree with rasalas about the level of chefs.  I love love love Iron Chef and these are good chefs, but IMO not *Iron* Chef-worthy (I'm not even a big fan of Stephanie though I know many are).  Fun to have the show back but I hope it's not to name a new Iron Chef.

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Boring.

From the dim lighting to the black-and-gray set, and a secret ingredient challenge...SPONSORED BY WAL-MART? Get all the way the f out of here with that nonsense.

Also, the non-competing chefs standing there offers less than zero, except for showing them that this could someday happen to them.

Garbage.  I'm out until they go up against Flay/Morimoto/Symon and FN finds some way to push the next overexposed chef (I'm calling Sawyer) in a "miraculous" win over their cash cows.

Edited by Tyrone Biggums.
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I was looking forward to this and now I'm not sure what I think.  The cooking itself was interesting but everything else paled next to the original - uninspired set, no color, no sense that something "important" was in progress.  No chairman, no Kevin.  Yes, I know that the Chairman was an actor but I got a kick out of him and he added to the atmosphere.  I missed him.

I almost got my wish which was that Sarah G. would be eliminated first.  Her behavior on Top Chef years ago was reprehensible and I have no respect for her.  I hope she goes next because I get annoyed just watching her pretend to be all cute and sunny.

If they do choose a new Iron Chef, I hope they reprise the show using the original format with new competitors.  I watched a rerun of an old show after this one and enjoyed it a lot more even though I'd seen it before and knew who won.

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So this is just basically The Next Iron Chef packaged under a new name.  It is NOT Iron Chef: America.  But if this whole boondozzle exists, hopefully that means they will start filming new episodes of ICA. I can't imagine what the point of potentially crowning a new Iron Chef will be without new episodes of the show.

And hopefully the Chairman and Kevin will come back.

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While watching the re-airing I noticed that the others all looked at each other when Sarah was told she was staying. They all looked as surprised as I would have been. I did think her food looked good, but she is just so unpleasant it ruined it for me. She had better reviews from the judges, too. It wasn't edited to seem real close, other than Donatella choking on her first bite.

Reading something else on Food Network took me to this article with Chef Arrington about her experience.

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2 hours ago, rasalas said:

I'm still not sure what the point of the show is. Is it to find the "next Iron Chef"? 

Alton Brown did a live FB chat tonight after the episode aired and he strongly implied* that Iron Chef: Gauntlet is a test to see if there's enough interest/ratings to justify bringing back Iron Chef America. He also said that it's entirely possible if not probable that there won't be an actual "winner" of Gauntlet beyond a last contestant standing, as the winner would have to beat Flay, Morimoto AND Symon to be named an Iron Chef.

*He pretty much said flat out that if the ratings for Gauntlet are good enough, the "suits" will bring back Iron Chef America and if not, they won't. He didn't give the impression that Gauntlet itself is under consideration for pickup as a regular series. 

Can someone remind me what Sarah did on Top Chef that was awful? I knew I knew her from somewhere but it wasn't obvious as with Stephanie. Maybe I've repressed her. And speaking of familiar faces, should I know Jonathan from somewhere?

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I haven't watched Top Chef so I don't know these contestants but Stephanie seemed super bitchy to me (although I have nothing against the way she selected the chef to compete for elimination).

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I figured for sure that Donatella was choking on lobster shell when she started coughing. Otherwise, Sarah Grueneberg needs to get off my TV.

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I need a refresher on Sara, too. I don't remember what she did.

Stephanie is a favorite of mine, so I was happy to see her and that is where my pleasure ended. 

So they are seeing how this show goes to see if they will resurrect Iron Chef??  What?  This isn't even similar.  And there 'probably' won't be a winner?  What?  This makes no sense.  

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Simply put this just doesn't feel like Iron Chef to me. The closest it came was when they actually gave categorized, numerical scores at the end. But that's less about Iron Chef and more about how vague the standard is for judging on other shows.

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Sarah was one of 'the mean girls' on TC Texas I believe. There were 3 girls that made life harder for another cheftestant and came across real witchy.  Not sure if it was the combination of personalities of the mean girls, decided storyline by producers or what.  One woman (the least offensive IMO) had some fallout after the season aired. Can't remember her name.  

Nyesha was actually on that same season.  I would have preferred Nyesha to win the battle between the two but only because I liked Nyesha on TC. 

It was interesting that all 3 women in this episode were former TC cheftestants.  Steph won her season, Sarah I think was in 2nd on her season and not sure what place Nyesha was in or what tripped her up. 

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I was surprised that Food Network actually allowed the words "Top Chef winner" to be uttered in reference to Stephanie.

Yes Sarah was kind of mean to Beverly; but Beverly annoyed people too with being a bit of a "me first" player (not that that is in itself unexpected, but there were rumblings that she brought her team down in some challenges because of it). I personally thought the hate for Sarah was overblown.

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1 hour ago, Amarsir said:

Simply put this just doesn't feel like Iron Chef to me. The closest it came was when they actually gave categorized, numerical scores at the end. But that's less about Iron Chef and more about how vague the standard is for judging on other shows.

I agree.  It doesn't even vaguely resemble iron chef.  Individuals competing rather than teams, one judge, who is also the host, in first round and 2 for the second where the loser competes?!    AND it is not complete in one show. It is just another food competition.  I am not opposed, I like them, but don't compare this to iron chef who the winner will not become.   Crazy. 

Edited by wings707.
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My husband and I were excited to watch this and came away underwhelmed. If they're relying on ratings to decide to make more ICA, I think they're going to be sorely disappointed. We plan to just tune into the finale to watch the Iron Chefs we care about cook.

The frustrating thing is that this would be have been easy to fix. I would have preferred that instead of 2 competitors compete against each other to decide who is going home, that the bottom person would compete against one of the "lesser" Iron Chefs- Garces, Zakarian, Forgione, Alex, etc. It would have made the elimination round more engaging and odds are that someone would still be going home. If they happen to beat one of those chefs, then it would add another episode but since they film in advance I don't see why that couldn't be planned for. They could have had Alton and a former ICA judge still judge the elimination round, or get 2 former ICA judges (goodness knows there were enough of them). 

If they weren't willing to do that, then they should have made this a 2 hour Easter special where they go straight to competing against the Iron Chefs for their place. 

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One other interesting thing that came out of the FB chat is when someone asked if this was like Iron Chef America where the chefs have a heads up that the secret ingredient will be one of three things. He said that on Gauntlet they don't know "diddly-squat" about what the secret ingredient may be and that if they bring back Iron Chef America this time they won't know diddly squat about the secret ingredient either. And that if he gets wind that they do, he will swap it out at the last minute. Not sure if it was bluster, but he seemed pretty passionate on that point.  I tend to believe him, but my love for Alton Brown may be biasing me on that point.

Edited by Gbb.
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This should have been named The Alton Brown Show.  The fact that I don't particular care for AB may sway my opinion.  He tries to be funny with every other statement, but funny he is not!  I was not impressed at all.  It looked like it was filmed in a church basement.  Did not care for it.

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Church basement, love this and yes!  The lighting and set were terrible!    I like Alton in particular roles but we saw too much of him here.   He is too edgy to anchor an entire show.  

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I am gratified to come here and see how many people had similar feelings to my wife's and mine about this show. We came to watch Iron Chef -- with all the bombast and pageantry that signifies -- and instead we got Just Another Cooking Show. The only things remotely Iron Chef-esque about this show were (as mentioned above) the numeric scores and Alton's occasional info-dumps about various ingredients and techniques.

Iron Chef was fun. This show was not.

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4 hours ago, wings707 said:

So they are seeing how this show goes to see if they will resurrect Iron Chef??  What?  This isn't even similar.  And there 'probably' won't be a winner?  What?  This makes no sense.  

To be a "winner," you not only have to get through all the contestants but you have to beat three Iron Chefs--Flay, Morimoto and Symon.  Flay has a 70% win percentage, Morimoto is at 60% and Symon is tops with 80%.  To take down one of these guys?  Maybe.  To take down all three?  That'd be tough and hard to believe.  Plus, Bobby has a lot of experience doing the one dish quick challenge on Beat Bobby Flay and Michael Symon does a similar trick on The Chew. 

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10 hours ago, Gbb said:

Alton Brown did a live FB chat tonight after the episode aired and he strongly implied* that Iron Chef: Gauntlet is a test to see if there's enough interest/ratings to justify bringing back Iron Chef America. He also said that it's entirely possible if not probable that there won't be an actual "winner" of Gauntlet beyond a last contestant standing, as the winner would have to beat Flay, Morimoto AND Symon to be named an Iron Chef.

 

21 minutes ago, Irlandesa said:

To be a "winner," you not only have to get through all the contestants but you have to beat three Iron Chefs--Flay, Morimoto and Symon.  Flay has a 70% win percentage, Morimoto is at 60% and Symon is tops with 80%.  To take down one of these guys?  Maybe.  To take down all three?  That'd be tough and hard to believe.  Plus, Bobby has a lot of experience doing the one dish quick challenge on Beat Bobby Flay and Michael Symon does a similar trick on The Chew. 

I misread the post from GBB (above) and thought Alton was saying they wouldn't even hold a comp with the iron chefs and only televise the winner of the contest.   I get it now.

Alton already knows how this ended so he basically said, no one beats the iron chefs.  

I think Izzard has the mad skills to do it BUT judging is subjective and no way will they allow that to happen on this "test the market" show.  Izzard has been on IC as part of someone's team (forgotten who).  She floored the judges right out of the gate on TC.  She won the first challenge and went on to sweep many more.   She is my all time favorite winner of TC.  Her calm manner is fun to watch.  

8 hours ago, Psychobunny said:

I haven't watched Top Chef so I don't know these contestants but Stephanie seemed super bitchy to me (although I have nothing against the way she selected the chef to compete for elimination).

She is the polar opposite of bitchy.  The editing showed very little of their personalities and her calm manner might have projected something she isn't.  She is kind, respectful and well liked by all on her season. 

Edited by wings707.
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I thought the special ingredient challenge had flavors of the original IC. I liked the idea of multiple dishes highlighting the SI, and them being prepared simultaneously. I enjoyed the show.

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5 hours ago, dewelar said:

I am gratified to come here and see how many people had similar feelings to my wife's and mine about this show. We came to watch Iron Chef -- with all the bombast and pageantry that signifies -- and instead we got Just Another Cooking Show.

One thing I was reminded of yesterday in watching some of the Iron Chef America reruns over the afternoon was how much they ran ICA like a sporting event. You had the play by play announcer (Alton) "in the booth" the guy down on the sidelines (Kevin) and even the commentary itself reminded me of the kind of play by play you get for a golfing or tennis event. "Here the challenger is using an extruder for his pasta / choosing a 9-iron for this leg..." It gave everything a sense of urgency as the commentary was happening live even if the event itself wasn't. I'd love to get that back.

Edited by Gbb. Reason: Keith ≠ Kevin
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I am watching the first half again now that I am not distracted by how this was going to play out.   I love to watch this high caliber of cooking.   It makes me so happy!  I wish Top Chef would air twice a year.  

Certainly FN could construct a good competition with a better format than this one.  Just have a straight forward comp with Top Chef alums and good chefs who have not competed on another comp.  To fill the hour, they make two dishes.  Winner of first comp gets an advantage, loser of second is eliminated.  Why not follow the pattern of Top Chef, it has proven to be a winner.  

@Psychobunny, I see where you got the bitchy vibe on re watch.  You will see more of her as this goes on and probably change your take.

10 minutes ago, Gbb said:

One thing I was reminded of yesterday in watching some of the Iron Chef America reruns over the afternoon was how much they ran ICA like a sporting event. You had the play by play announcer (Alton) "in the booth" the guy down on the sidelines (Keith) and even the commentary itself reminded me of the kind of play by play you get for a golfing or tennis event. "Here the challenger is using an extruder for his pasta / choosing a 9-iron for this leg..." It gave everything a sense of urgency as the commentary was happening live even if the event itself wasn't. I'd love to get that back.

Yes, and I loved that!  I guess the ratings must not have been very good.  I find that hard to believe but they did cancel it.  Sigh.  I want it back,  ***stomps feet*** 

ETA. There will be a fun aspect in the winner of the first challenge choosing who goes up against the loser.  These are all accomplished chefs so the loser is just one who clutched and that can happen to the best.   So you pit your biggest competition against the loser in hopes they don't make it.  This may be better than I at first thought. 

Edited by wings707.
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2 minutes ago, wings707 said:

Yes, and I loved that!  I guess the ratings must not have been very good.  I find that hard to believe but they did cancel it.  Sigh.  I want it back,  ***stomps feet*** 

Sorry to keep referencing AB's FB chat but there were some good nuggets of info in there. Someone asked why ICA was canceled in the first place and he said something like he didn't think it was actually canceled but that it had just been put away for a bit and implied it was more a question of scheduling among the iron chefs (if I'm remembering correctly). It's a little fuzzy now, but I'm pretty sure he indicated it hadn't been an issue of ratings.  If anyone wants to watch, it's about 3 posts down at  https://www.facebook.com/altonbrown  under "Who wants to talk about Iron Chef Gauntlet?"

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1 minute ago, Gbb said:

Sorry to keep referencing AB's FB chat but there were some good nuggets of info in there. Someone asked why ICA was canceled in the first place and he said something like he didn't think it was actually canceled but that it had just been put away for a bit and implied it was more a question of scheduling among the iron chefs (if I'm remembering correctly). It's a little fuzzy now, but I'm pretty sure he indicated it hadn't been an issue of ratings.  If anyone wants to watch, it's about 3 posts down at  https://www.facebook.com/altonbrown  under "Who wants to talk about Iron Chef Gauntlet?"

Thank you.  Reference this all you want!  I appreciated what you shared and will watch on the link.  :^)

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12 minutes ago, wings707 said:

ETA. There will be a fun aspect in the winner of the first challenge choosing who goes up against the loser.  These are all accomplished chefs so the loser is just one who clutched and that can happen to the best.   So you pit your biggest competition against the loser in hopes they don't make it.  This may be better than I at first thought. 

I think that in the upcoming weeks contestants may take a different strategy than Stephanie did last night. When she first chose Nyesha, I agreed with her and thought I'd have made the same choice (since they were the bottom 2). Once they both started cooking, however, I realized that bottom 2 or no they were both really talented chefs and either one of them could win. With that reminder in mind going forward, I'll be surprised if the chefs don't start putting their biggest competition up for elimination each time instead.

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4 minutes ago, Gbb said:

 Someone asked why ICA was canceled in the first place and he said something like he didn't think it was actually canceled but that it had just been put away for a bit and implied it was more a question of scheduling among the iron chefs (if I'm remembering correctly). It's a little fuzzy now, but I'm pretty sure he indicated it hadn't been an issue of ratings.  

Thank you for sharing that info.  Whenever symon or Batali reference it on the chew, they usually say something about it not filming right now but not as if it were over.

I read spec that cost could play a part...as in, compared to their other shows, ICA is more expensive to film.  

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They will bring IC back.  I think scheduling paired with making the public cry for it is another aspect.  Take it away and hear the screams.  Smart PR. 

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Thanks @Gbb, the FB talk with Elton was excellent.   I enjoyed seeing him talk as himself, very relaxed and personable.

I liked him explaining that there would not necessarily be a winner but I did not walk away thinking it wouldn't happen either.  It is about the scoring and they would have to have higher than all 3 to win.  I guess the winner competes with all 3 at once and then scores are compared.  So possibly they could beat one but not the other two.  

This is going to get better.  I like it.  

My guess is that they are going to bring back IC no matter what the ratings are with this one.  They are taking a break and chefs are probably looking at their schedules in the year ahead to make that happen.  It is just PR to say if the ratings are not high with this one then they won't.  pfffffffffft.  It was too popular.  I didn't buy Elton's reason that people were more into reality TV when they took it off either.   Iron Chef is reality TV.  

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Not even sure why I watched this but the promo's looked like it might be interesting. And boy was I wrong. For me one show was enough to not wasting the time to watch another show.

I was OK until the final judging and when the fat chick beat the black chick it seemed like this is nothing more than poor reality programing and the results are pre-determined.

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I love the IC format for concentrating the drama in the hour. I prefer it to Chopped, which never pulls me in if I happen across it. And the intensity of the cooking is a good palate cleanser from the out-of-kitchen drama in the top-chef series-length competition. I do not need to watch shopping at Whole Foods, is my point. Plus, I love AB and his dorktasticness.

Having said that, I think the non-cheftestant staff could be sized up some. AB needs foils, like Kevin on the floor, or a guy doing flips in front of the food podium, and more than two judges. The first half, with just Alton, feels a little 'put the lotion in the basket' claustrophobic.  The grey-heavy set adds to the dungeon feeling. Maybe that aspect will grow on me. Or maybe Frau Blucher will show up.

I'm not used to contact-lens Zakarian. He freaks me out with his plain, undecorated face.

Rooting for Stephanie at present. But Shota is awfully easy on the eyes...

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The format was practically identical to Next Iron Chef (and that's what I expected this to be) so I wasn't disappointed by that. The resumes of some of the contestants aren't up to the level of the current Iron Chefs or the contestants on the first season of Next Iron Chef but I thought they compared favorably to some of the people on later seasons of Next Iron Chef (when I vaguely recall Alex Guarneschelli competing in season after season until she finally won).  I agree with everyone, however, that the set is too claustrophobic and dull if they are going to stay there for every episode.

As for Stephanie's choice on who to send in to elimination, I think she picked the only way possible for her.  If she sent in a "threat", she would have been practically begging the other chefs to send her in as soon as she didn't win a challenge because the winner of the first challenge is the most obvious threat out there.

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On 4/16/2017 at 11:53 PM, Tyrone Biggums said:

Boring.

From the dim lighting to the black-and-gray set, and a secret ingredient challenge...SPONSORED BY WAL-MART? Get all the way the f out of here with that nonsense.

Also, the non-competing chefs standing there offers less than zero, except for showing them that this could someday happen to them.

Garbage.  I'm out until they go up against Flay/Morimoto/Symon and FN finds some way to push the next overexposed chef (I'm calling Sawyer) in a "miraculous" win over their cash cows.

Did you never watch The Next Iron Chef? The contestants always stood watching the bottom two have the showdown.

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On 4/17/2017 at 7:21 AM, Amarsir said:

Simply put this just doesn't feel like Iron Chef to me. The closest it came was when they actually gave categorized, numerical scores at the end. But that's less about Iron Chef and more about how vague the standard is for judging on other shows.

It's The Next Iron Chef under a new name with Food Network using it as a test to see if Iron Chef still has fans.

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13 minutes ago, Skyfall said:

It's The Next Iron Chef under a new name with Food Network using it as a test to see if Iron Chef still has fans.

It still did before. I'm not sure it still will after.  If I saw the Iron Chef name on something and then tuned in to watch Sarah Grueneberg eating a hamburger in Texas, I wouldn't be setting my DVR to record more of it.  FN threw the name all over ("Iron Chef Eats"???) without doing any of the stuff that built the brand in the first place.  I understand that firing up Kitchen Stadium must be vastly more expensive than other shows, but as a "test" this feels a bit like setting my car on fire to see if there's gas in the tank. 

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2 hours ago, Amarsir said:

It still did before. I'm not sure it still will after.  If I saw the Iron Chef name on something and then tuned in to watch Sarah Grueneberg eating a hamburger in Texas, I wouldn't be setting my DVR to record more of it.  FN threw the name all over ("Iron Chef Eats"???) without doing any of the stuff that built the brand in the first place.  I understand that firing up Kitchen Stadium must be vastly more expensive than other shows, but as a "test" this feels a bit like setting my car on fire to see if there's gas in the tank. 

Yeah, I made the mistake of catching that IRon Chef Eats show. At first it was a rehash of "Best Thing I Ever Ate" with Iron Chefs, which I can tolerate as background noise, then it turned into more than one segment with Sarah-about-whom-I-case-less-than-none-at-all. Stop it, show.

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I completely remember all of TC: Texas and I have no issue with Sarah, perhaps because I thought Beverly was a self-involved oblivious asshole and just as bad as they were in different ways and while they both might be larger white women the person who was more "mean" to Beverly was Heather. Both Beverly and Sarah or doing great not as great as Stephanie but great for Chicago to have many strong "younger" female chefs.

I found the format dull. It's like they took the worst part of all these cooking shows and decided to make one show out ofi it.

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5 hours ago, biakbiak said:

I completely remember all of TC: Texas and I have no issue with Sarah, perhaps because I thought Beverly was a self-involved oblivious asshole and just as bad as they were in different ways and while they both might be larger white women the person who was more "mean" to Beverly was Heather.

totally agree

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Who was the one who tapped out during TC:Texas' stupid barbecue challenge and then reappeared just in time to present "her" dish to the judges?

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2 minutes ago, dleighg said:

Sarah's the one who got over-heated.

And she really did look like she was having problems. 

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With this 'mean girl' stuff ... it really sounded like it was just the combination of personalities for the most part.  Sarah took a lot of guff because it was easy to identify Heather/Sarah as the same person.  I know. Lol, I did it. Once Heather left... it didn't matter. Sarah 'became the ringleader'. 

The other thing and probably most important is that Bravo makes the contestant look, act, seem the way they want for story. 

And with the contestants following their direction (most times too aggressively)  the storyline happens.  And people get labeled or remembered for something they may not be. Don't know Sarah but she might be one of them. There was a third girl and I think she had some real problems after this aired and she came across as least offensive if I remember correctly. 

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6 hours ago, Ellee said:

There was a third girl and I think she had some real problems after this aired

Lindsay was the third person though several others also had issues with Beverly. Don't know of any issues with Lindsay after this aired but this is her Restaurant.

I seriously saw none of these people's personalities and wished they had just kept the Next Iron Chef format.

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This show didn't bother me.  It reminded me of "Next Iron Chef", which I liked a lot and have missed.  I don't care if the format isn't that much like IC proper as it doesn't have to be, IMO.  It's still not "just another cooking competition" to me.  I also have missed Alton in this kind of role.  I wasn't a big fan of "Cutthroat Kitchen" and feel that IC is more suited for him.  I thought he was looking better than I had seen him look recently, too, which was nice.  He was looking gaunt and tired for a while.

I think that this competition is Stephanie's to beat.  Not that I know anything about most of the other chefs (except Sarah, who I remember, but I don't  remember not liking her on Top Chef, although I may have).  I just get the feeling they really want Stephanie to win so they paired her with people who were clearly her inferior.  Which would be fine with me as I have always been a fan of hers since day one.

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