Cosentino Telling isn’t it, that the iron chef candidates, all of them talented chefs and leaders of their restaurants, have no clue about so called “molecular gastronomy” technique (even that term has been disavowed by those who fathered the movement).  This is because the techniques of the avant garde are far more prevalent in the media than they are in the actual kitchens of the best restaurants.  As Symon put it, “I spent my whole career trying to get chemicals out of my food.  Now I gotta put them back in!”
    Alas, Chef Davie will not be the next Iron Chef.  The bone marrow play was fun but that was it.  The flavors didn’t come together in either of her dishes, the zest in her salad was bitter and the artichoke would have given my kitchen disposal a workout.  But sad I was to see her go—what a camera friendly smile, and what a buoyant presence generally.  I much prefer her to the head sweater, the meat man, or the bald guy with the Neanderthal brow!  But for those who lament the presence of a boys club–I can’t believe you’d say it diminishes the competition.  Would you rather the judges gave the ladies special treatment because of their gender?  I don’t think either Traci or Jill would have wanted that kind of insult.
    Cosentino’s shallot error killed that dish but his razor and shaving cream dish, especially clever given the rigid time constraints, won because it TASTED so good.  That is what it has always come down to.
    It’s the nature of these shows that they are unable to go deeply into anything.  I’d have liked to have seen more about the food, and of course more discussion of it.  Donatella, Andrew, Alton and I discussed the dishes at length, meaning that more than an hour of discussion is reduced to about 30 seconds of sound bites and the occasional shot of Donatella’s cleavage.  But again, Steve and Eytan, two of the producers from Triage, always instructed us to judge it as we saw it.  I was not surprised by this, but Andrew, cynical jaded New York journalist that he is, professed to be surprised by the amount of freedom we were given to make our choices.
    Next week, not one, but two will bite the dust.  This is indeed harsh, but such is the nature of the world of the Iron Chef.

    [Read fellow judge Andrew Knowlton’s comments here.]

    [Adam Roberts, the Amateur Gourmet is the official food network blogger for Next Iron Chef.]


109 Wonderful responses to “Next Iron Chef: One Bite/”Molec Gastronomy””

  • WalkTheLine

    I was a little bummed when Davies left last week because I would have liked to see the womenfolk have a chance to produce more for the show. It however certainly does not proove that they are incompetant but maybe something else…but it was just to soon to tell. Im sure they kick some proverbial ass in thier own kitchens!

  • Frances

    I was watching Fetch With Ruff Ruffman with my 3-yr-old today. It’s a PBS show that features 6 kids (11-ish?) competing for a prize by going out on excursions and getting points for overcoming obstacles and figuring things out. There is also a daily prize for the person who earns the most points for the day.

    I was thinking how it would be cool to have something along those lines for chefs. Get six of the best and have them win points throughout, rather than be eliminated. The one with the most points in the end wins.

    Ruff Ruffman (Jim Conroy) is a tough act to follow though.

  • Claudia


    It’s just you, dude. It’s Knowlton who’s the Soho-dwelling trendoidal little sour puss, who doesn’t realize the Miami Vice meets Oscar Wilde look is so five years ago. Hello – GQ, Andrew! GQ!

  • Mark

    Mr Ruhlman, your personal notes are really adding to my appreciation for the show. Thank you.

    My wife and I are pretty good amateur chefs – we are learning, from this show, how far we’d have to travel to play with the bigger kids. This is entertainment, but there is also a tremendous amount of education for us. Humbling, quality exposure.

    I hope you’ll suggest to Food Network that they create saleable DVDs of this show, with about 2 hours of extended cooking and judge’s commentary in each episode. If they did, I’d buy it sight unseen, without waiting for a review. The time constraints are such that we are not getting educated by the knowledge of the judges.

    Unlike most cooking shows as they exist today, unlike the pop-nonsense of Top Chef or Next Food Network Star, this is a show I really enjoy enough to keep and preserve the recordings. I’ll watch these again, with glee.

  • Politburo

    “What was the gadget with the spiral whirlpool of water (or what looked like water) in it? I couldn’t see if/when it was used.”

    I didn’t see anyone else answer this.. that appeared to just be a magnetic stirrer. They probably did not use it since the chefs don’t need it. It was likely there just to look cool.

  • Claudia

    The magnetic stirrer was there to look cool. And to worry Besh – “I have a bad, BAD feeling!” I hope someone mixed some margaritas in it.

  • WalkTheLine

    People who make bio-diesal from used cooking oil use those magnetic mixers. I cant remember exactly why or what for but never the less…

  • chefrick

    Yeah immersion bath mag stirrers are pretty neat. I used them when studying physics. Sous vide is pretty new to me but thanks Chef Chad Minton I am embracing the concept and experimenting with it. It made decent piece of salmon an awesome piece of salmon.
    All in all I love the show as much or better than ICA.

  • kate

    The wave of the future?

    Oy, the powders and grains! looked more like a 19th century apothecary’s shop than a kitchen.

    The reverse griddle and hot water bath with the cyclone happening looked like fun to play with though.