So, was I right?  Questions and comments?  I’ll try to elaborate on the food tomorrow answer burning questions.

Monday Morning Update: This was a really difficult decision–Cosentino or Sanchez.  Symon was the clear winner from all of us, for the incredibly juicy salmon (he made a risky decision to finish it in the airplane rather than reheat), but his other dishes were on the money too.  Besh’s asparagus salad was a little lacking, just wasn’t all there.  And he told me why afterward.  In the rush to get all his food into the box he forgot one of his vinaigrettes!  This challenge was indeed really hard–the time, the number of dishes, the unfamiliar kitchen and the cameramen getting in your goddam way.  I personally thought Chris was being kind! And showing uncommon grace under pressure by not ripping the camera out of their hands and mauling them bloody–you have no idea what a drag they are when you’re trying to cook. They are of course required for a show, however.

Nicep4aaron5 Chris’s crunchy cauliflower and Aaron’s nasty fish skin hurt them.  Neither prepared dishes with the muscle Besh and Symon did.  We had an hour between when we actually delivered a verdict and Knowlton argued vociferously, actually taking me by the lapels and slamming me against a concrete wall way in the back of the hangar. He was persuasive. They were so close in fact that I had to take their overall performance into account. In the end, we all wrote down our choices and handed them to Alton, and it was unanimous.  Chef Schmitt did not judge but his comments and opinions were very important to our evaluation.

And yes the editing. It was kind to Knowlton this week. He’s just as much of an ass as ever.  Donatella just as elegant.  (Kidding about Knowlton!)  If anything, I was the snooty one this week, nothing but curled lip and disdain.  The consomme issue is important.  Besh used it to make the dish sound prettier.  But by doing so he’s diminishing the value of the word.  Soon it won’t mean anything. He trailed me in the Charles de Gaulle airport the next day saying, "Consomme was in quotes!"  He even dropped his bags to make quote marks in the air.

For the record, to respond to a grumbler, I do not and never have called myself a chef, because I am not a chef.  A chef is a leader of a kitchen.  I am a trained cook, and spent a very brief and not inglorious time as a line cook at a Cleveland restaurant owned by Marriott (which gave health bennies, thank god).  I make my living as a writer–perhaps the grumbler should check out my new book. Also, I don’t know who said it, but no winner was pre-selected.  We were told repeatedly by the producers to vote from our gut.  And if they had told me anything else, I would have said, f.u.

Now, after a falling out with these producers, I have decided to reveal the big secret from next week’s show:

Besh is in fact an undercover agent for the international police and arrests both Symon (frigging peacemonger, Besh was heard saying, as he put the cuffs on) and Cosentino for illegal foie gras activity, citing an obscure Chicago ordinance as his justification.

Read fellow judge Andrew Knowlton’s comments and picks for top three bottom three dishes, which i agree with.

And the inimitable Amateur Gourmet here.

UPDATE: I put this in the comments, but a reader suggested putting it here and I agree.  I got an email from Cosentino this morning saying this:

thanks for defending me with the camera guys. these guys were german and not understanding of space every time i moved my elbows touched someone. i thought i was going to hurt my self. also i found out later that eytan with this ear piece was telling the camera guys to get closer to me . In kitchen stadium they understand the dangers of being to close and they want you to succeed, in this episode all they wanted was the shot. that is why i got hostile i told them from the beginning to give me space since the kitchen configuration was really bad we had a very small pass way to get to equipment (like bowls, pans )and they were always blocking it and wouldn’t move when we asked them . thats when the hostility came. now that 1/2 the country thinks i am an asshole as some one put it in another blog. life goes on.


262 Wonderful responses to “Next Iron Chef: Hardest Challenge According to Chefs”

  • Claudia

    No, Logical Mind – YOU think these guys are actually fighting for something. And it doesn’t matter that “random” people know Mario from “Molto Mario”. Mario had his empire going BEFORE Molto Mario, so it would not have mattered whether he ever did MM or IC. You think Thomas Keller needs Iron Chef? People seem to know who HE is, and he doesn’t have an FN gig.

    Chefs of Keller’s caliber (and Flay, and Batali) do not need to have EVERY single last person in the U.S. know who they are. They had thriving careers and reputations, locally AND nationally, before TV came a-knocking. Symon has a burgeoning career, too – he opened Lolita well before he got the TNIC competition gig. If anything, Ruhlman as a writer (and Bourdain) have given him more exposure.

    These chefs are not out of Top Chef – young cooks and chefs still trying to make their mark – they are seasoned pros. They are competitive and are taking the competition seriously (and, no doubt, would LIKE the added exposure), but if Besh goes home tomorrow he will not be cloudy-ing up his not-so-clear, not-so-consomme by shedding salt tears (or sweat) into it. The man has five freakin’ restaurants – ka ching! The chefs all probably got together after the taping, laughed their asses off and had a few brewskies, and razzed each other. (“How ’bout when Knowlton nearly made you cry like a baby, Papi? You know all of New York was watchin’!”)

    And Ruhlman does not delete any posts, however negative. He will delete vile obscenities and death threats, but being a staunch First Amendment kind of guy, he has never removed, shall we say, “dissenting opinion.” I believe he has deleted exactly ONE post to date. And he has “defended” himself – repeatedly – over several weeks, over several boards, no matter how repetitive the posts. It seems that whatever GENUINE questions anyone might have had about any TNIC issue have been asked – and answered – ad infinitum so it’s not about defending Ruhlman. It’s about some people not just beating a dead horse, but refusing to get off it, stop trying to ride it – and WALKING ON. Taking a contrarian position just for the sake of amusement (your own)is . . . not. Amusing.

    Yes, we all realize the FN is a business (as is the food industry – what a shocker), and no, none of us “dense fanboys” thought for a moment that Ruhlman was judging it for free, however many human head-sized steins of beer were involved.

    PS: Sara, no, I didn’t think you were a b____ (and I can’t believe I was still laughing so hard to myself about steins the size of human heads that I actually typed “Munich in Austria”, not Germany – to quote Heather on Rock of Love, “Oh, my HELL!”)

  • Penelope

    Well, I have 10 copies of all of Ruhlman’s books, and have pre-ordered 1000 copies of the new one, and I’m the next Iron Chef, and I was all the other ones too, and I can win with a tuna sandwich on whole wheat when the secret ingredient is tuna, or mayonnaise. Or whole wheat bread, I won many times with just the crust.

    And my hair has an agent, and we announced we’re not re-signing with Breck during Next Iron Chef AND The World Series.

  • sailorgrrl07

    Every time Emeril says “I wish you could smell this” I think of Chef Tell.

  • Kansas City rube

    I don’t think logicalmind is asking questions to amuse himself. I know I’m not. Despite this being “just a TV show,” these are good questions worth asking. Though some of you think that this will not make a chef more successful, I respectfully disagree. I think you will see the income of the Next Iron Chef grow at a rate well beyond the runners-up. In addition, I don’t think many people would watch the show if they thought the judges were being influenced by anything, whether it be producers or personal feelings. People don’t like the idea of the outcome of competitions being predetermined. Just ask the 1919 Chicago White Sox.

    Again, I don’t think the judging is partial in the least, but I do think there are interesting issues at play here and they’re worth discussing. We are all adults here and if anyone reading this is genuinely offended or upset over these questions, then you are probably the one taking this too seriously and you need to lighten up. If this conversation is really so awful, I suggest that you stop reading the comments on this entry and wait until Ruhlman posts another before you chime in again.

    And if Ruhlman is such a First Amendment kind of guy, I’m sure he welcomes spirited debate on the issue. A First Amendment fan would never come out like so many of you and say, “I don’t like you asking tough questions, so please shut up.” If anything, this kind of debate can bring in tons of extra traffic to his site and I hope some of these people will click on his amazon links and buy his books. They’re excellent.

  • Christie

    One Question:

    Those of you who are upset about impartial judging (or whatever your beef is), have you written or called The Food Network about it?

  • Len

    “Firstly, there is NO WAY that each of the 4 chefs got done with their meals at EXACTLY the same time and ran EXACTLY the same speed down the hallway and made it into the room with 0 seconds to spare. This was obviously just a drama building point in the show, but I do not buy it for a second.” (AgentZer0)

    Even if it *was* staged, the shot of all 4 chefs coming around the corner almost side-by-side was hilarious, and as good as any similar auto racing photo I’ve ever seen … I think it would even make a terrific screen background 🙂

  • sailorgrrl07

    Len: wholeheartedly agree. 99.5% is so genuine that I would forgive a little staging for that last one…but in my heart of hearts I actually believe it was genuine.

  • Francesca

    Well, I have to hand it to Ruhlman. I have a new found respect for him since he has not deleted any of the comments on his blog.

    Well, I am not going into everything thst has already been discussed.

    I think Cosentino will be next. As far as Besh and Symon go, well, I think Symon will win.

    I am finding that I like this blog.

  • Spatlese

    Gotta hand it to the Food Network for creating a show that stirs up such passionate feelings about what is, essentially, a spectacle of camp. Of course, IC wasn’t their brainchild, but they’ve certainly taken the idea and run with it. As such, like logicalmind, I find it disingenuous of some of you who think the contestants here are simply in it for the sake of the competition. Mario Batali did NOT have an “empire” at the time he got his Molto Mario gig. When TVFN found him and put him on TV, his “empire” consisted entirely of a sliver of a restaurant called Po in Manhattan’s West Village. No Babbo, no Lupa, no Otto, no line of jarred spaghetti sauces, just him in a tiny little spot on Cornelia Street. Do you REALLY think Mario would’ve become the worldwide celebrity he is today if TVFN hadn’t given him a TV vehicle through which he could expand his audience? I’m sure Po would’ve remained successful (I ate there many years ago, shortly before he started appearing on TV, and I loved every bite), but let’s be serious. There’s “talented chef making tasty Italian food in the Village” successful, and then there’s the Mario-as-media-behemoth successful.

    Certainly chefs like Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, or Eric Ripert hardly need the exposure of an IC:A gig to earn a comfortable living or put their names on the lips of serious foodies everywhere. But that hardly refutes the idea that media exposure on the level of Emeril or the current Iron Chefs would boost that earning power and recognizability into the stratosphere.

  • Frances

    So, if Ruhlman was a judge and Symon not a contestant, nobody would have a problem with any fringe benefits he would stand to gain by this gig? And if Symon was a contestant, and Ruhlman not a judge, nobody would have a problem with any fringe benefits he would stand to gain by winning (or even competing)? Take either person out of the picture and you have the same benefit for the remaining person no matter what the outcome.

  • IGIF

    The dead horse has finally been given (or so it seems) to Cosentino to make something wonderful out of all the “offal”ly negative comments on this blog. Love the 1st Amendment, love Ruhlman and Bourdain, love thoughtful comments, especially from those of you who are far more culinary-schooled than I am, and am very happy to see that Mr. Ruhlman is at least being given props for #1, providing this blog no matter what, #2, giving us the background missing from the edited show, and #3, being such an intelligent, witty, talented, knowleageable writer (with great hair). Wouldn’t miss a day of it! Including all of your individual comments, whether I agree or not.

  • IGIF

    Damn! “knowledgeable” of course… (should have previewed before posting)

  • IGIF

    Thank you, Frances! You’ve got my vote…what are you running for again? Oh yeah, one of the best bloggers on this site…enjoy your input. 🙂

  • Stephen

    Yes apparently everyone wants Bourdain’s opinion on this matter.


  • mikenmolly

    OK, Everybody breathe. I’m going to go out on a limb and as an overweight purchasing agent I’m going to tell all of you what to do. But first:

    1. Mr. Ruhlman should admit that there is some validity in the APPEARENCE of partiality in regards to Chef Symon. Though there may be no “darkness in your heart” judging Michael Symon, surely you must admit that the average person could fear some bias in your opinions. This is not some wacko, out of the realm of possibility – it just isn’t.

    2. There is equally just as much of a possibility that Mr. Ruhlman, fearing such a appearance of bias, will be EXTRA HARSH on Chef Symon, holding his food to a HIGHER standard. This is as much of a possibility as he giving a nod to the food. Surely, Mr. Ruhlman has eaten Chef Symon’s food often, and Chef Symon, wanting to go that extra mile for a very good friend, served him BETTER food than the average diner at Lola received. A comparison to this food would only HURT Chef Symon in a rushed, Iron Chef challenge.

    So, what to draw from this? Who knows!! Have fun!! If Ruhlman is holding Symon’s hat and control’s all judges through some kind of Jedi mind trick, than so be it; Symon and that silly laugh will be a GREAT addition to Iron Chef. If he’s extra harsh on Symon and Symon loses, you can be sure there will be Ex-Lax in Ruhlman’s next chocolate gateau at Lola’s – and won’t Bourdain love that! If everything is above board, then that’s what we want, right?

  • Spatlese

    On a side note, Mr. Ruhlman, you must’ve LOVED playing the Ron DeSantis role, if for only a fleeting moment, when Chef Besh dubbed his soup a “consomme”!

  • rmw

    everyone go to bed….not one of you listen to me…why does claudia have the floor….slow down…Tony… Help we think along the same lines..Ruhlman???

  • Skawt


    As I’ve said before about Knowlton – if you don’t want the dimwits at Triage to use the worst possible shots of you, don’t give them ammo. This week it seemed like all they wanted from you was making faces like you just smelled fermented cat piss.


    I don’t know if you’re reading all of this, but I would like to thank you for taking the time to provide some input here. I think what made this particular contest so difficult was the combination of having to create three courses based on certain criteria due to altitude and cabin pressure; added to that was the necessity for fitting them into what is normally considered institutional cooking.

    For those of you not familiar with institutional cooking, it’s typically the method of cooking and packaging for things like Meals on Wheels, and here in the SF Bay area, Project Open Hand – and schools, hospitals and airplane food. When I went to CCA, one of the courses was a stint at Open Hand. Cooking huge amounts of food in huge kettles and tilting bins that can hold a hundred gallons of food. If you’ve never experienced it, it’s very different from normal restaurant cooking.

    As for Cosentino getting pissed at the cameramen – don’t think CC is like that all of the time. I noticed right away that the camera guys were out of line and didn’t move. It would have served them right if a huge pot of boiling water got spilled all over a cameraman. Sending one of them to the hospital with 2nd and 3rd degree burns would have taught them a lesson.

  • cookie

    For those of you that are actually paying attention to the show and not just bitching about the MR/MS thing i have a question. Did anyone else notice that when the chefs voted on each other Symon won. When the corporate chef picked the winner he picked Symon and according to Knowltons blog he had Symon as the winner the past two weeks. MR must truly be a jedi to convince all these people that they must vote for Symon

  • Sara

    So I’m taking a trip in December, to London and Amsterdam, and I have to say — between NICA and Top Chef, I’m going to be paying more attention to airline food than ever (not that I’m flying first class or anything, but stil…)

    I will report back on the ability of United feed passengers without making them sick.

  • Claudia

    Kansas City –

    It was not the asking of tough questions that was at issue. It was the REPEATED asking of the same tough question, again and again, when it had been asked, answered, re-answered and answered again, ad infinitum.

    RMW –

    Like anyone else, I only “have the floor” when I post – and until someone posts after me. Free speech and democracy at its finest, as usual, on the Ruhlman blog.

    And Len – yeah, the sequence of all four chefs racing each other with their food carts, staged or not, whether they actually had a deadline to make or not, was priceless – Symon was also racing just for the satisfaction of beating Besh to the cooler/cold room, which wss the funniest part of it all. Such boys! Competitive to the end! I hope those two go down to the wire. The smack-talkin’ alone would make the entire finale.

  • Kansas City rube

    To answer a question from above, there is no email address or phone number provided for the Food Network or The Next Iron Chef on their Web sites. And unlike the accessible and gracious Ruhlman, I doubt they’d respond even if I did find their contact info.

    Claudia, correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think Ruhlman ever did respond to questions about whether the Food Network talked with him about his relationship with Symon or whether they foresaw that some people might object to the connection. I also wondered what their explanation would be those who did object.

    I think most people like the posters here can watch the show and realize the judging is fair but I don’t think most people who watch the Food Network are like us. If they were, Sandra Lee and Rachel Ray wouldn’t have shows. And that is why I was so surprised that they weren’t more concerned with the appearance of impropriety. As you can see from some of the posts from people who don’t regularly post here, some people did object to Ruhlman judging regardless of what happened on the show. Maybe the Food Network assumed its viewers can’t read or wouldn’t read “Soul of a Chef”?

  • allie

    “I think most people like the posters here can watch the show and realize the judging is fair but I don’t think most people who watch the Food Network are like us. If they were, Sandra Lee and Rachel Ray wouldn’t have shows.”

    but do you really think anyone who watches sandra lee is going to read “soul of a chef”? I’ve watched her on a few occasions, for the same reasons people slow down when they drive by car wrecks, and then I quickly change the channel because I’m paranoid that the food network can somehow tell I’m watching and might think people actually like her. anyway, I’m guessing the average FN viewer views this just another reality show, like “so you think you can dance” with cooking. they’re unlikely to be interested enough to even find out about the symon/ruhlman connection.

    the only people I’d expect to maybe have a problem with it are 1) big fans of john besh and 2) people who take reality tv way too seriously (see above posts).

  • Frances

    Speaking of Sandra Lee, does vodka and orange liquer served over ice IN A TUMBLER really equal a cocktail? I mean we all know that for some people liquor is where babies come from, because you have to get good and drunk before anything will happen, but still… Lollipops for the kidlets and 12 ounces of liquor for the grownups. It’s so…Valley Of The Dolls to me. Disturbing.

  • JG

    Well, Sandra Lee’s “cooking” might be some f-ed up 1950s dream of appetizers for meals and basically a TV dinner lifestyle, but the lady does make some good drinks. And given how much she appears to like them (she giggles and gets most excited about the inevitable accompanying cocktail for her “tablescape” – gag) you’d think she would work hard on making them tasty.

  • Sara

    I remain creeped out by the way Sandra Lee’s set morphs to fit whatever color scheme she’s using on her “tablescape” (the word makes me gag a little bit), and how those colors are kinda, well, politically incorrect sometimes…

  • Frances

    I’m curious now. How can a color scheme be politically incorrect?

    I forgot to mention another thought – with all that liquor going around, do the grownups drop their keys in a basket on arrival?

  • Sara

    Her Asian, Latin and, essential, International meals are themed in the colors most closely related to the racial/ethnic stereotypes that have been perpetuated over the years, and her outfits while she’s cooking are almost like costume parodies of the cultures she’s apeing her shit food from (I’m sorry, those recipes are *terrible*). It’s not like she’s wearing blackface while making soul food, but it’s enough to make you (or, at least, me) slightly uncomfortable.

  • Frances

    I never had watched the show enough to notice whether her cultural themes are offensive or not. I’m more put off by the taco-seasoning-in-a-pouch approach and the message that “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker” atmosphere. I won’t even say “offended” because, really, that show is not worth anything other than a good laugh.

  • Uncle hulka

    Politically incorrect color schemes!?!?!?!?

    Are you kidding me!?!?!?!?

    Ruhlman, will you please do us all a favor and blow up this damn blog?

    This is ridculous.

  • Frances

    If it’s ridiculous to you, just laugh. Unless you’re kidding. But either way, I’m laughing because it’s what I do.

  • Uncle hulka

    No, I’m not kidding. Wish I was.

    Ascribing politcally correct/incorrect motives to color schemes is insane.

    But then again, last night, I could have sworn my garage door opened in an offensive manner when I got home from work. I think I’m going to send it to sensitivity training classes.

  • Suzette

    Call me crazy, but I’m of the opinion that one should act on a blog, even an anonymous one like this one, the way one acts in personal conversation. That is, it is not polite to jump all over every comment made that one doesn’t agree with. If someone says something you find silly, or wrong, you CAN just ‘let it pass.’ N’ext pas?

    I enjoy reading this blog, and I post occasionally, but I think the quickest way to ruin this “Good Thing” Mr. Ruhlman has so kindly set up is to forget our manners. And I’m referring to a few people on this thread. It’s not necessary, or polite, to make snarky comments to other posters just because you disagree with what they have said.

    Just my two cents! I know they weren’t asked for, but you’re getting them anyway! Thanks, Mr. Ruhlman, for letting us all come here and discuss TNIC and all things foodie!

  • Sara

    Thanks, Frances. And when you decorate your kitchen completely in red and black, wear a fake kimono and put your hair up in chopsticks, and do a couple somewhat questionable impressions of Chinese people so you can teach people a quick way to make gluey potstickers, I think you can maybe say the color scheme/costume scheme was politically incorrect. Like I said, it’s not blackface for soul food, but some of her choices are, well, a little weird.

  • Claudia

    I just wonder why no one’s thrown a net over Sandra yet and dragged her away for treatment for her little Valley of the Dolls problem. With a cross-addiction like hers, it’s a wonder the network even trusts her with a can opener. Or maybe she’s really secretly empowering other women leading lives of quiet desperation over dinner. (“Sandra can open a can of fruit pie filling and get it to land in the store-bought pie crust after 8 Sidecars AND a fistful of Paxil?! Well, hell, yessssssssssshhhhh – I can, too!”) Hey, it’s a thought. (OK, and a little sarcasm.

  • Kalyne

    Talking about Sandra Lee seems to have taken the place of discussing ruhlman’s hair.

    After reading numerous “STFU” comments to people trying to bring up intelligent critical points about NIC I think the SLOP talk finally brought the point home–“Keep Your Critical Thinking To Yourself”.

    So…Love and kisses, hearts, flowers, and a big “thank you” to all for everything!

    Over and out.

  • janet

    Against my better judgement, I check in to see if I’m still being trashed. And what do I find? People trashing Sandra Lee! Now that I can get behind.

    Sometimes, in the late afternoon when I’m tired out from chasing a toddler around all day, I sit down with said toddler and watch either Everyday Italian or Barefood Contessa, because that’s what’s on. But if Sandra Lee comes on, I turn off the TV instantly — I wouldn’t expose an innocent child to that kind of filth!

    The toddler likes Alton Brown best, though.

  • Sara

    Hey, guys, I have a question. A genuine question, kinda OT by this point (considering how far from the original post we’ve wandered), but one that just occured to me about ICA/NICA. Ruhlman, if you feel comfortable answering (not that it’s sensitive, just because this comment thread got so heated), I’d love to hear what you have to say, too.

    Who do you guys root for when you’re watching ICA?

    I’m incredibly inconsistant — I’ll root for the challenger if I’ve eaten at their restaurant, or heard particular things about them or whatever. Or if they intrigue me. I definitly don’t consistently root for the Iron Chef. I like Batali more than the rest, I guess, and I have this weird aversion to Cat Cora even though every time she cooks I think about how much I want to eat everything she’s making. I remember when I first discovered IRON CHEF (capital letters = Japanese!) and how much I love Sakai and Morimoto because they seemed like such *characters* on that show, in that weirdly under-over-the-top way Japanese characters can be (I don’t know if that came out right. You know what I mean, right?) I’m not taken with any of our Iron Chefs like that… but I get really into rooting for *someone* by the end. Is it like this for everyone? I feel like I mostly reserve judgement until they’re serving. But I also feel like if Cosentino or Symon got picked to be an Iron Chef (Besh too, I guess, but I’m really quite lukewarm on Besh) I’d suddenly be rooting for them all the time. [Insert corny, but true, “I shared their journey” sentiment here].

    Am I nuts? It’s late, have I let the day go to my head? Or does anyone else experience this, too?

  • sailorgrrl07

    Claudia: I am not worthy. That was awesome. Thanks. :-)))

    Happy Weekend everyone. Hopefully no more shakers here in NoCal.

  • Robert Schoenfeld

    Hey Ruhlman.

    Yes you, Im talking to you asshole.. Pull over the pretentious bus. I assume that your idea of gourmet is Taco Bell.. Maybe you should be a bit more objective and stop picking on the minor minor technical issues. You must be Chef Simon’s biggest fan boy.. Are getting free meals for a year?

  • Claudia

    Hopefully, Sailorgrrrl, the only shakers you’ll have in NoCal this weekend are the kind that have a Cosmo in ’em (!) Must work on my Sandra Lee-inspired dessert now – I call it Valium Vacation. A vanilla ice cream base with a heavy vodka infusion, candied tangerine and cranberries, and a light crushing of Valium on top – Hel-LO, America! Mix THAT into a sundae, Sandra! A dollop, anyone? Sara? Frances? Robert Schoenfeld? (!!)

  • Stjay805

    What’s up with you pursing your lips when you eat? It looks like you dispise everything in your mouth.

  • Claudia

    Yes, Sara, something like that. Valium Vacation? Pistachio/Pastis and Paxil? I need to have a chat with a few more pharmaceutically-friendly acquaintances, but I think I could have my flavor profile developed by the weekend (!)

    OK, back to TNIC:

    I was sad to see Aaron go and I think his explusion really hurt him. As for rooting for a particular chef . . . well . . . I was initially rooting for Besh, because I’ve seen him on FN plenty of times and I immediately liked his raffish sense of humor – I also thought he had the chops to win. I still do. But Symon is really growing on me – not because he’s buds with Ruhlman, but because he has really proven himself, challenge after challenge, he has a terrific presence and a goofy sense of humor – all of which he never loses, no matter what kind of pressure he’s under. Surely he is demonstrating The Right Stuff for an Iron Chef? To be innovative, creative, technically perfect and to multitask all of that, through the loopiest of circumstances? Hey, he’s redefined the future of inflight food! Besh could still win – and I wouldn’t be sorry if he does – but, come on – who DOESN’T love Symon? (!)

    I know the question of which chef you are rooting for was directed at Ruhlman (now that he’s free to cheer the chefs on, remote in hand, from the safety of his own home), and I’d kind of like to know that, too – but what’s the thinking out there, and why? Besh? Cosentino? Has one got more “chops” and “deserves” to win more? And do you think the one who “deserves” to win . . . will?

  • sailorgrrl07

    Claudia: remember when you say “Lee” to elongate the “L”

    “LLLLLLLamb Chops with LLLLLime and LLLLLovage…”

    Soul of a Chef is on its way to my pad. 🙂 Can’t wait.


  • Claudia

    Oh, right, Sailor, to remind me. The next flavor in the new Sandra Lee line of “vice cream” ? “Xanax for the Memories.” OK, I’m done.

  • Frances

    I just got The Reach Of A Chef (the celebrity edition) today and can’t wait to dive in. I got Les Halles Cookbook for my husband’s birthday. After reading the preview blurbs, we’re back to cooking chicken with skin and bone. Cripes, if we were idjits before, at least now we are reformed idjits. Overjoyed ones. The raptures of crispy chicken skin are hard to articulate. Fat shmat.

    Claudia, I’d like extra vallium please.

  • janet

    In answer to “who are you rooting for,” I’m sure this will come as a surprise to some, but at this point my favorite is Symon.

    I started out rooting for Des Jardin, because she’s my local girl, and the only one of the chefs whose food I have tasted. After she got eliminated right away, I didn’t have a favorite for a while — I was impressed with some of the things Cosentino did early on, especially the tripe, but lately he seems to have slipped.

    Symon and Besh seem the obvious finalists — the ones who have most consistently done well. Of the two, Symon’s food looks more interesting and varied to me. As to personality, Besh’s is wearing thin. I wouldn’t exactly say I’m rooting for Symon, but at this point he looks like the best choice to me.

    Of course, all of this is based on what we are being shown by the editors of the show, who have their own narrative to tell.

  • Sara

    No, no, no (I mean, yes, those responses are great, but…), I meant when you watch Iron Chef America on TV (not the show on who gets to be an Iron Chef, but the acutal ICA competitions), who do you root for? Do you root for one chef over others? Do you always root for the Iron Chef? Or, like me, do you kind of reserve that judgement until you see their food?

    Sorry if I was unclear… to be perfectly honest, it was late and I was a little stoned…

  • kiti

    I just watched the Paris episode. Predictable. It was obvious several episodes ago that it would be down to Symon and Besh. This program is a lot of hype. Kudos to the marketing department though.

  • Sakurako

    Thank you for including Cosentino’s side of things. I figured there must be more to it than the editing allowed.

  • Kat

    I am rooting for John Besh. I like his style, and he has GREAT presence. Too bad the judges already seem to have their favorite picked out, it is pretty obvious that MS will win.

  • Thomas Pantano

    Congratulations to Chef Michael Symon for becoming “The Next Iron Chef”. I think Iron Chef Symon will do a great job and I look forward to watching his battles.

  • L.S.

    To the guy who said that David Myers’ Comme Ca was “horrible” or whatever unflattering term he used to describe it- please try a meal there again.

    Chef Myers is an amazing chef- I know as I’ve eaten at Sona and was thrilled at the tasting menu, wine list, and service, and I know how hard Chef Myers works to ensure that his restaurants are THE best they can be.

    He’s a family member of mine-so naturally, I’m quite biased…lol- but I feel that he’s the most passionate person I’ve ever spoken with or listened to when it comes to food, and I’m a major foodie myself, so I’ve spoken with a few knowledgeable chefs in my time.

    I know Comme Ca is still fairly new, and maybe you hit it on an off night, but I’ve been there as well as to Sona and I know the food isn’t as terrible as you make it out to be. I also know how absolutely crushed David would be knowing your thoughts on his food. So much so that had you said something the evening you dined there, I’m betting he would have been extremely accommodating in regards to repairing the situation and more than likely, comping your meal.

    I wish you would have had a better dining experience and I hope you’ll try Comme Ca again in the future, and that it turns out to be one of your BEST experiences. Take care.