I didn't know it aired on Sunday till someone mentioned it, but a very good and evenly matched Iron Chef contest, Michael Symon v. April Bloomfield, airs again tonight at 11 pm on the food network and again on Saturday at 5 and 11 pm.  Most fun, for me, was the reunion with Andrew and Donatella.  Of course, since I'm judging, we already know who wins, but if you don't know Bloomfield, she's well worth paying attention to.

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28 Wonderful responses to “FYI, Flock of Haircuts Returns”

  • Vincent

    luis – you ate dolphin? dude, that’s illegal…

    dolphin fish? mahi mahi? the schoolies are in the keys – maybe that’s it.

  • Jen B.

    Love ICA. Love Symon. Love Ruhlman and his crazy hair. Love Donatella. Love Alton. HATE Knowlton.

  • Anthony A

    Bob,

    I know I am late on this posting, but what do you feel Chef Bloomfield lifted from Tetsuya’s?

    From the looks of itg she made an incredible meal and it looks like she and Chef Symon take similiar approaches in their cooking.

    Thanks.

  • Bob

    better than most episode of course… the sniping betwixt the judges was great. Almost wish they had tossed Steingarten in with you three just to see if it could have escalated to a slap fight.

    Anyhoo… I disagree on the outcome, tho… But maybe none of you judges have been to Tetsuya’s. Some of what she did was obviously lifted from him. Booo!

  • luis

    brad, I agree with you that is one of ICA’s biggest problems. The clowns they get to judge some of the contests ruin the events.

    Also ICA is more like scripted wrestling than it is like a true contest. Nothing wrong with that except folks are led to believe these guys have no advance warning or script to follow. I for one don’t believe there is such a thing as a “secret” ingredient or that anyone can just go to cooking without giving a second of thought to what they will make. It’s phoney.

    Also I don’t believe for a second these folks Iron chefs will fly in to stand around to see if anyone picks them or not. The whole show is disingenuous.

    Yes, I am back folks from my fishing vacation.. folks. Tons of fun. Fantastic.
    Got together in several town houses in the keys docks on the back for the boats.

    Nice kitchen. Cooked lots of pizzas and lots of fish…. tons of fun. Made Pop overs too… But the thing that blew most folks away was the sauces and gastriques I whipped up to elevate the succulent fish meals. (folks generally don’t take it that extra step).
    Nothing more fresh than cooking fish caught right out of the ocean in the am that very same night.
    Another trick that blew my brothers and folks away as they were breading and frying dolphin I sat around with a temperature probe and the spatula flipping the fish and taking them to the platter In what I realized was record time for them. (can you say overcooking crowd?)
    The fish wether roasted or fried was all tender and delicious. The pizza’s … well they want to take them public. I don’t know I have the energy for it.
    There was a doctor’s convention going on and of course we attended the openning night dinner. I couldn’t help but notice and pass by the assorted vegetable bin… Nobody out there cooks vegetables right. This is some big deal hotel there…
    I can not buy in a restaurant or major event a plate of vegetables done right. It all looks and is, totally nuked and overcooked. They keep them warm and of course the veggies never ever stop cooking and they always look and taste like overdone assorted veggie mush. This is why I am learning to cook my own vegetables period. And there are few treatments of vegetables I have ever come across out there. Most chefs the question is posed to.. beg off on it.
    Anyway I missed reading the blogs and now I am catching up on what everyone is been doing…happy happy. Rippert kicked ass with that zuchinni he blogged about. That’s what I am talking about.

  • Kristina

    I enjoyed your insights as a judge on the Next Iron Chef and as a judge on Iron Chef itself. However, you seemed to be overly defensive of Chef Symon. Whenever anyone had criticism of Chef Symon, you would always question them. Perhaps this was just editing, but I thought I would just point it out since there have already been allegations of bias given that you wrote about Symon in one of your books.

    I do think you’re a fair judge, and Chef Bloomfield did win. You just may want to ensure you don’t look biased. Looking forward to seeing you on future episodes, good hair and all.

  • Wilmita

    Michael Ruhlman,

    Do you really and truly use a bar of Dial soap on your hair, as rumored, and does your hairstylist know about this?

    Wilmita

  • nondiregol

    I really enjoyed this episode with Donatella rolling her eyes and Ruhlman making smart ass cracks everytime Lady Clairol Boy said something stupid. But the cooking seemed wonderful and both chefs did, I thought, a terrific job with olives.

    A friend of mine will be a judge on an upcoming show. I can’t say who without permission. But I’ve encouraged my friend to stick a fork in Knowlton’s knee if he acts up should they be on the same judging panel.

  • Debbie

    Andrew was in an extremely pissy mood. He must have been upset that your hair looked better than his.

  • EY

    I’m right there with BAB. Is Andrew Knowlton really the snippy, pissy jackass we see on TV or does he have any redeeming qualities? I didn’t like Donatella the first few times I saw her, but she has a good point of view and her criticism is generally constructive. Most of Knowlton’s is more “you didn’t make something I like”. It was childish for him to bag Symon for his “filthy” martini and then like Bloomfield’s. It seemed that he did it more out of spite than any actual problem with the drink.

  • bonnibella

    N.B. to Ruhlman: You’re hair actually did look much better on the Symon/Bloomfield episode than it did on the NIC challenge series. You must be using better products. :-)

  • Cameron S

    Robert Irvine may have lied about his background but usually this reveals some mental issues that deserve support rather than being sent up the river. The guy could cook and was entertaining. I was disappointed when he was discarded – he should have been punished of course, but I felt sorry for him.

  • BAB

    Is Andrew really the obnoxious, arrogant brat he appears to be or is that all editing? Someone needs to teach him some manners!

  • bonnibella

    Adrienne wrote: “and I have got to get myself to Symon’s restaurant.”

    Oh, Adrienne…yes. Yes, you do. I personally love Lola. Fantastic food, wonderful staff…it all comes together there in an amazing way, IMO.

  • brad

    I love ICA. However, it would be a vastly better show…imo, if there were no judges. If I wanted watch a bunch of vapid attention whores I’d tune into “Big Brother”.

    Honest criticism is fine, but it’s all too obvious that some of the antics forced upon the viewer via the “judges table” are all about Self important ego and a bunch narcissistic camera monkeys.

    Of course, there are respectful judges, Ruhlman included. Anyone who watches this show with any regularity knows who I’m referring to. I Tivo ahead to see who the judges are, if it’s one of the Monkey’s, I delete the show immediately.

  • OneEyedCarmen

    Claudia, I’d heard the same thing about Dinner: Impossible. The funny thing is, I found myself so utterly bored the other night that I actually turned on Next Food Network Loser, and saw IRVINE judging…WTF?

  • craig

    For once, I had to agree with Andrew. His opinion on the “dirty martini” concept was accurate. One does not mess with the altar wine for communion, nor should one add liquid, other than water from melted ice, to a good gin. I have major issues with vermouth being in the same room, let alone in the SAME glass as a good gin. When Symon explained that he made a FILTHY martini, I thought “easy virtue and a smidgen of guilt” and he had me with the word filthy. I would gladly drive to Cleveland to imbibe. Maybe I will just wait for the Detroit place to open.
    I had to agree with Symon – “I missed you guys!” Judging panels on all the competition shows are lame in comparison to the Bitch School that is Michael, Andrew and Donatella. It is great to see passion!

  • craig

    For once, I had to agree with Andrew. His opinion on the “dirty martini” concept was accurate. One does not mess with the altar wine for communion, nor should one add liquid, other than water from melted ice, to a good gin. I have major issues with vermouth being in the same room, let alone in the SAME glass as a good gin. When Symon explained that he made a FILTHY martini, I thought “easy virtue and a smidgen of guilt” and he had me with the word filthy. I would gladly drive to Cleveland to imbibe. Maybe I will just wait for the Detroit place to open.
    I had to agree with Symon – “I missed you guys!” Judging panels on all the competition shows are lame in comparison to the Bitch School that is Michael, Andrew and Donatella. It is great to see passion!

  • cheryl k

    Thanks for posting this. I would’ve missed it otherwise.

  • Darth_Ritis

    Im watching it right now(8pm for me…gotta love DirectTv)

  • Shelley

    Loved it when Symon says, “I missed you guys!” at judging. Sure would be nice if Food Network posted some additional judging/chef footage online like Bravo does for Top Chef.

    Speaking of April Bloomfield and Top Chef — she was feature there, too, recently. Is it a coincidence when chefs show up on multiple networks at roughly the same time, or is it because he/she hired an extremely talented PR person to put them in the spotlight?

  • chadzilla

    I saw the episode on Sunday.
    It was definitely Andrew at his most annoying. Some of the criticisms were just ridiculous.
    You did seem pretty casual and lenient with your judging. Almost too laid back.
    Are you guys working on a good cop/bad cop thing… trying to be as antagonisitic as Steingarten?
    Both chefs did really good showings, and it really peaked my interest in Chef Bloomfield’s cuisine and approach. I wish I could have eaten that fried olive.

  • Adrienne

    I kept waiting for Donatella to stab someone in the hand with her fork. Great fun to watch, tho, and I have got to get myself to Symon’s restaurant.

  • JoP in Omaha

    I saw the episode on Sunday, and what fun it was to see Symon again and hear that distinctive laugh. It makes me smile every time I hear it, it does.

    One of the scores surprised the heck out of me, but I don’t want to post a spoiler so I won’t ask my question.

    It was fun to see you judges back together again….the dynamics among you—some things never change!

  • Sara

    When do we get to see you and Jeffrey on a panel together, Ruhlman? Please, make my dremas come true!!!

    P.S. — When I saw olives I was like, “Oh, poop.” And then by the end of the episode I was, unsurprisingly, STARVING.

  • Claudia (the Original)

    Your hair, while fabulous to begin with, was even better this time, Michael – and Breckboy’s was worse. He really needs to get a look (!) (Sorry, fell asleep before the judgment. Have to see it again tomorrow before I can get snarkier about Knowlton.)

    Glad we have a new Symon battle – missed his crazy laugh! Isn’t he supposed to be anchoring Dinner:Impossible, too, now that Irvine was disgraced?