Category Archives: Iron Chef Gauntlet

Iron Chefs Reveal Their Secrets to Winning in Kitchen Stadium

When seven chefs enter Kitchen Stadium to earn the chance to cook against three Iron Chefs in the new series, Iron Chef Gauntlet, they will need focus, good time management and solid flavours in their dishes.  So say the chefs the competitors will have to topple in order to earn the Iron Chef title.

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A new generation of Iron Chef hopefuls enters Kitchen Stadium in the new series. Find out who they are here.

Iron Chef Gauntlet – airing Sundays at 9 E/P – features seven superstar chefs competing first against each other in Kitchen Stadium, until one is left to face off in separate battles against Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto and Michael Symon for a chance to earn the right to be called an Iron Chef.

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Iron Chefs Flay, Morimoto and Symon getting ready to battle in the Gauntlet.

The competition will be fierce; the trio of Iron Chefs have a combined 103 wins in Kitchen Stadium. Through all those battles on both Iron Chef America and, for Morimoto, on the original Japanese show, the three have learned a thing or two about how to come out on top.

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Michael Symon competing in an octopus battle in Iron Chef America Season 10. 

“The last five minutes goes really quick,” says Michael Symon, who holds the highest rate of wins compared to his fellow Iron Chefs, with 34 first-place finishes out of 42. “Don’t underestimate how quickly it goes, and start getting your food on the plate as quickly as you can.”

Symon understands what it’s like to be on the other side of Kitchen Stadium; on his first appearance on the show, back in 2005, he lost to Morimoto who created a series of stunning dishes featuring asparagus, including his signature ‘stained glass’ sushi.

He advises competitors to rely on their cooking strengths.

“Cook the food that got you here,” he adds. “Not the food that you think someone else wants you to cook.”

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One of Flay’s losses was to challenger Chuck Hughes in a battle using lobster.

Flay, who was been triumphant 43 times out of 60, echoes Symon’s advice about not venturing too far out of the culinary box.

“Do something that is simple,” is his advice. “Something really well-executed is important, [because] these judges know what they’re tasting. So, taste, taste, taste.”

Morimoto may have the longest history with the Iron Chef show, but he keeps his advice succinct. “Focus,” says the chef who has won 26 times in his 44 appearances. “Don’t have too much focus and forget about normal potential.”

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In Iron Chef America season 10, Morimoto battles with the secret ingredient paiche fish.

No matter how well they manage their time is or how focused a chef is on presentation and creativity, ultimately it all comes down to the flavours of the dishes.

“Make sure you have a contrast of textures and then some surprises as they’re eating it,” says Flay.

Symon points out that because it’s a competition, the judges are faced with eating a number of dishes and competitors will be smart to keep that in mind.

“Keep your flavours very simple and clean, but remember that the judges are only going to take probably one or two bites of your dish, so … you can’t cook subtly,” says Symon. “I think you have to have nice, poppy flavours that are going to excite the judges with one bite.”

Host Alton Brown takes you behind-the-scenes of Iron Chef Gauntlet:

 

How Iron Chefs Flay, Morimoto and Symon Dominate Kitchen Stadium

In the fight for culinary supremacy, there is no greater arena than Iron Chef’s Kitchen Stadium. Here, chefs have sweated and swore as they sliced and diced their way to victory (or defeat!) by conjuring up a series of dishes all using a mystery ingredient. Each dish is presented to a panel of exacting judges and the chef with the highest total score in taste, presentation and creativity wins.

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Iron Chefs L-R: Masaharu Morimoto, Bobby Flay, and Michael Symon

In its next iteration, Iron Chef Gauntlet, premiering  Sunday, April 23 at 9 E/P,  the original cooking competition show takes a new turn as seven chef superstars face off first against each other in kitchen stadium. The last one standing then challenges three Iron Chefs – Masaharu Morimoto, Bobby Flay, and Michael Symon.  Should they be successful against the acclaimed trio, the challenger earns the title of Iron Chef.  That will be no small feat.

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These three were guest judges on The Next Iron Chef: Redemption’s Final Battle “Heritage.”

Morimoto, Symon and Flay are all accomplished chefs that have earned their way into Kitchen Stadium, building up restaurant empires that dot the United States and beyond.  Their varied backgrounds show there’s no one way to become an Iron Chef.

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Masaharu Morimoto as Iron Chef Japanese in the original Iron Chef series.

A chef trained in the art of sushi, Masaharu Morimoto has combined his instruction and heritage with his years of cooking in the U.S. to create his own fusion approach. His first restaurant opened in 1980 in his home city of Hiroshima. After running it for five years, he left Japan for the U.S. where he was ultimately tapped to be the head chef of famed restaurant Nobu.

Morimoto joined the original Japanese version of Iron Chef in 1998, while still leading the Nobu kitchen.  After the series came to an end, Morimoto eventually left Nobu and opened his own restaurant in New York City  – the first of many, including ones in Napa Valley, Mumbai, New Delhi and Tokyo, for which his restaurant earned a coveted Michelin Star in 2008. When Iron Chef America was created and filming was moved to New York, Morimoto returned to kitchen stadium to battle once again. He also served as a guest judge on The Next Iron Chef.

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Masaharu Morimoto working with the secret ingredient salmon  in season 10 of Iron Chef America.

He would ultimately take 42 wins out of 68 head-to-head battles in both the original series and Iron Chef America, showcasing his out-of-the-box thinking and fusion approach with his dishes. While he won more than he lost, his battle against Homaro Cantu was an upset when he was bested by the chef known for his technological and molecular gastronomy approach to cooking the humble beet.
But perhaps the most noteworthy battle pitted him against now-colleague Flay in the first of four episodes across different iterations of the show. That first time, Morimoto was horrified at Flay’s behavior after he jumped on the counter at the end of the cooking time. He stated that Flay was “not a chef” because of how he behaved. (Flay lost that battle, but won the next against Morimoto in a rematch in Japan. They’d each win one more round against the other.)

Watch Worst Mishaps on Iron Chef America, including one from Bobby Flay.

 

Flay is known for his brashness – after all, one of his most popular shows, Beat Bobby Flay, has him challenging chefs in culinary competitions. However, with several Food Network shows under his belt, not to mention numerous restaurants across the U.S. and in the Bahamas, Flay has earned the Iron Chef title.

Bobby Flay came into prominence as the Executive Chef at Mesa Grill and not long after opening the spot, he  became a partner in the southwestern-focused restaurant. Other Mesa Grills, along with Bolo Bar and Restaurant, would follow, including one in Las Vegas which earned a Michelin Star in 2008.

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Bobby Flay and Michael Symon team up in a Thanksgiving themed episode of Iron Chef America.

While he continued to build his restaurant empire, Flay joined Iron Chef America in its first season in 2005, racking up 43 wins out of 61 battles. Among them, a battle that saw his competition, Hiroyuki Sakai (who had the most wins under his belt in Japan) make ice cream from trout – and serve it with a trout skin crisp. (Being a judge on Iron Chef America would never be dull.)

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ron Chefs Symon and Flay team up against Alex Guarnaschelli and Geoffrey Zakarian in Iron Chef America’s Thanksgiving battle.

Compared to those two chefs, Michael Symon is a relative neophyte, only joining Iron Chef America in Season 5.  He opened his first restaurant, Lola, in Cleveland in 1997, followed by Lolita and his B-Spot burger joints in the same city.  Roast, in Detroit, began dishing up meat-centric meals starting in 2008. His latest restaurant, Mabel’s BBQ opened last year. Symon was named best new chef by Food & Wine Magazine in 1998 and Bon Appetit named his burger joint as one of the country’s ten best. His food has a Mediterranean focus – something he comes by honestly, having grown up in a family of Greeks and Sicilians.

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Michael Symon and Masaharu Moritmoto meet again in Kitchen Stadium in an Iron Chef America Holiday Battle.

His first foray into Kitchen Stadium was as a competitor on Iron Chef America, trying to best Morimoto in a battle featuring asparagus. The Japanese chef showcased a stunning dish of “stained glass” sushi, wowing the judges with all his plates and taking the win. Symon may have lost, but clearly did not lose his fire for competition.
Three years later, he competed on The Next Iron Chef, coming out on top and earning a spot on Iron Chef America alongside Morimoto and Flay. Although the newest of the three to join the show, Symon has the highest rating of the trio with an impressive 34 wins out of 42 battles.

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Michael Symon (third from left) with the cast of The Next Iron Chef.

Go behind-the-scenes of Iron Chef Gauntlet:
Watch Iron Chef Gauntlet Set Tour
Watch Tools for Iron Chef Gauntlet

Going for the Gauntlet: Iron Chef Returns with All-New Series

It’s been four years since chefs stepped into Iron Chef’s Kitchen Stadium to determine ‘whose cuisine will reign supreme,’ but the epic wait is finally over. Chefs will battle it out for culinary supremacy in the premiere of Iron Chef Gauntlet on Sunday, April 23 at 9 E/P. 

In Iron Chef America, a competitor and an Iron Chef go head-to-head, cooking a series of dishes using the dramatically unveiled Secret Ingredient. Each dish is judged by a panel of esteemed judges on all things taste, presentation and creativity. Whoever has the highest combined total score is the winner of the challenge.Iron-Chef-Gauntlet-Bobby-Flay-Michael-Symon-Masaharu-Morimoto
Iron Chefs L-R: Masaharu Morimoto, Bobby Flay, Michael Symon

But it’s a new era in Kitchen Stadium and the battle to win the Iron Chef title is tougher than ever.  Over the course of five episodes, seven culinary superstars will first face off against each other in Chairman’s Challenges and Secret Ingredient Showdowns until they are whittled down to just one. In the finale of this six-part series, the last chef standing enters the gauntlet where he or she must face off against three Iron Chefs — Bobby Flay, Michael Symon and Masaharu Morimoto — and cook with three Secret Ingredients. No good work goes unpunished in Kitchen Stadium! If the chef succeeds against the Iron Chef trinity in taste, presentation and creativity, he or she will earn the title of Iron Chef…and will have our unwavering awe and admiration until the end of time.

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We miss the Iron Chef drama! Alton Brown unveils the secret ingredient.

Alton Brown returns as the host of Iron Chef, but this time he has a new task on his plate: he will be judging the Chairman’s Challenge; the first test that decides which chef will go onto the next round. Alton told Foodnetwork.com that in this elite culinary competition, he will not stand for sloppy technique.
“One of the first things that falls off when the clock is running is knife work, is consistent knife cuts and I won’t put up with that.” You’ve been warned, chefs!

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Click here for Iron Chef Gauntlet competitor full bios.

Meet the chefs who have the stomach to take on this grueling challenge:

  • Stephanie Izard (Chicago):  Top Chef season 4 winner and James Beard award winning chef and restaurateur.
  • Nyesha Arrington (Los Angeles): Named Chef of the Year by Eater L.A. in 2016. Combines French technique with Southern California cuisine.
  • Michael Gulotta (New Orleans): Named 2016 Best New Chef by Food & Wine magazine.  Executes Southeast Asian cuisine using the Louisiana pantry.
  • Shota Nakajima (Seattle): Won the Seattle round of the World Washoku Challenge in 2014. Creates Japanese comfort food with Pacific Northwest ingredients.
  • Jason Dady (San Antonio): 2012 James Beard award semifinalist for Outstanding Restaurateur. Runs a Texas-sized empire of Italian, Spanish, BBQ and seafood restaurants.
  • Jonathan Sawyer (Cleveland): 2015 James Beard award winner Best Chef: Great Lakes. Worked for Michael Symon before opening his own French, Italian and Asian restaurants.
  • Sarah Grueneberg (Chicago): Chef/Partner of Monteverde Restaurant, named a Best Restaurant by Food & Wine, Bon Appetit and GQ. Travelled the world and has global approach to cuisine.

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Sarah Grueneberg setting Kitchen Stadium ablaze.

And there’s more Iron Chef!  The one-hour special,  Legend of Iron Chef, airing Sunday, April 23 at 8 E/P right before the Iron Chef Gauntlet premiere, relives the most memorable Iron Chef moments and gives you the inside scoop of this culinary phenomenon.  Iron Chef Eats premieres Monday, April 24 at 9 E/P with back-to-back episodes each week, and will recount where the stars from the world of Iron Chef eat when they’re not in the kitchen.