This level of competence and confidence makes for compelling television, even among chefs that have been longtime friends or have worked together. They still want to beat the butter out of each other! For the fifth installment of The Next Iron Chef series, they have subtitled it "Redemption," as the competitors are all either previous competitors who fell short of reaching Kitchen Stadium in the past or chefs who have lost out in other competitive cooking shows.
The cheftestants are: returning from The Next Iron Chef: Season Two Nate Appleman (Chipotle Mexican Grill, ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen), Amanda Freitag (Chopped), Eric Greenspan (The Foundry on Melrose, The Roof on Wilshire, Los Angeles) and Jehangir Mehta (Graffiti, Mehtaphor, New York); from The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs Elizabeth Falkner (Krescendo, New York), Alex Guarnaschelli (Butter, The Darby, New York, Chopped) and Spike Mendelsohn (Good Stuff Eatery, We The Pizza, Washington, D.C.); and first-time Next Iron Chef competitors with their own redemption stories, Tim Love (The Lonesome Dove, Western Bistro, The Love Shack, Woodshed Smokehouse, White Elephant Saloon, Fort Worth) and Marcel Vigneron (The Coop, Los Angeles).
The series runs Sunday nights on the Food Network and culminates with the naming of the newest Iron Chef on Sunday, Dec. 23, at 8 p.m. CT. Last night's episode aired after press time, but apparently started off deviously. From the episode guide:
The Next Iron Chef: Redemption kicks off on "Redemption Beach," where the chefs' resourcefulness is tested in a grueling Chairman's Challenge with a devious twist: each must cook with the ingredient that sent them packing last time. Given another chance with this ingredient and only bare essentials, hot coals and one hour on the clock, some rise to the occasion while others go down in flames. The two least successful chefs go to the Secret Ingredient Showdown, a sudden-death cook-off that leads to the first elimination. Upcoming episodes continue to push the limits, including a canned food to Kitchen Stadium-worthy cuisine challenge, a Las Vegas buffet battle with an appearance by legendary magician David Copperfield and a "last supper" showdown. Returning judges Donatella Arpaia and Simon Majumdar are joined by last season's winner and newest Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian on the judging panel, along with appearances from Iron Chefs Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto and Michael Symon. The winner will join the ranks of chefs including Bobby Flay, Marc Forgione, Jose Garces, Masaharu Morimoto, Michael Symon and Geoffrey Zakarian as a member of the Chairman's team on Iron Chef America. The newly crowned Iron Chef's first battle in Kitchen Stadium will premiere on Sunday, December 30th at 9pm ET/PT.
Don't worry if you missed last night's premiere. It will run again this Saturday, Nov. 10, at 4:30 p.m., so set your DVR.