Next Iron Chef: Redemption (2012) – Episode 5, Risk

Hello I am Zin and today is all about Risk!

This episode starts off with great drama! An aircraft hangar! Chairs! A huge flag! Paddles! Domes! Eighteen wheeler trucks drive in! What can it be? Falkner thinks it is the Hunger Games and live animals are going to come out of the trucks and eat them! Marcel is thinking live cows! None of it is necessary by the way: they could have done the challenge in the same studio, but it would not have been as dramatic!

The Challenge:

It is the Auction from last season! The whole episode Alex and Falkner are talking about last time when Anne Burrell won the week before so had the advantage and put Zakarian in the bottom, but then ended up in the bottom herself and then lost to him in the Showdown. So it is all about whether this year will follow the same pattern!

If you do not remember, the chefs have to bid time on each ingredient (“I can cook that cow head in 75 minutes… I can cook it in 70 minutes), but they do not know what all the ingredients are so the longer they wait, the more they risk getting stuck with something they do not want. And the last person gets the last ingredient and automatically gets five minutes less than the least cooking time, so the last person is completely screwed!

After they cook, Falkner will pick someone to be in the Showdown, though we will not know who until the end, and the judges will pick someone as usual! I am not sure what would happen if they picked the same person! But that is silly, of course that would not happen, this has all been carefully choreographed in advance, I am sure.

The Dishes:

Item One is a rib of bison, starting at 75 minutes. Nate thinks the butchering is too time-intensive and the ingredient is not risky enough so he ignores it. Alex wins it at 45 minutes. She makes a sauce by pressure cooking the bison and adds some cow tongue and fat she steals from Marcel! “I think if you really want to win sometimes you have to steal a little,” she says! Wait, that is a terrible thing to say! I mean it is fine on NIC, it is all a joke, but she should be ashamed of herself for advocating stealing to win! Of course Marcel was ok with her taking the stuff anyway, so it probably was not stealing, they probably just added that in at the end to ramp up the excitement! She makes spice-rubbed bison steak with pommes Anna which sounds very fancy but is a very simple potato cake made only with potatoes, butter, and salt! But she cooks it with some of the fat from Marcel. Falkner thinks the steak is a little rare. Simon and Zakarian think the use of the tongue and fat worked, and it was cooked perfectly. Donatella tells her the risk is supposed to be what you do with the ingredient, not in stealing something! I wonder if Alex is beginning to feel a little confident, she is the sous chef for Zakarian when he does ICA after all! But she is safe all around!

Item Two is cow heads! Falkner and Marcel bid, Marcel has never broken down a whole head before but he will try, he gets it at 50 minutes. He braises the tongue in one pressure cooker, the cheeks in another, and the leeks in a third! His usual process for tongue takes seven days but he is speeding it up! He makes “tongue and cheek” – hey, Blaise made that for the Top Chef All-Stars finale! He won, too! And when Edward Lee was on ICA, that was his theme ingredient! Or ingredients. He makes them with white corn polenta. Falkner thinks it is pretty tough and needs fat. But Zakarian calls it his most modern dish, and elevated! Donatella agrees, it is well-balanced and delicious! Simon notes that the pressure cooker sometimes brings doom but it is a terrific dish and he is now a serious contender! Aha! Redemption! I wonder why it was tough when Falkner tasted it, I wonder if they have to cook the stuff for the judges after Falkner tasted, like they do on ICA after they make the single plate, so it had more time to cook. Except Alton kept telling them to make sure they made a plate for Falkner. I do not understand the logistics, but I do not think the stuff sits around as long as it appears.

Item Three is paiche, a fresh-water fish from the swampy waters of the Amazon basin. That is true, but I suspect the fish they have there is farmed in Peru, because it is a protected species due to over fishing (!) and there is now a limit on wild caught fish which does not allow for export, maybe, it depends on which website you look at, and only recently has farming been possible. Just what we need, Iron Chefs cooking endangered species! Falkner and Amanda go for it, and Falkner gets it at 50 minutes. She calls it “alligator meat” and “some kind of giant goldfish” but I do not think that is right, it is compared to sea bass or black bass, though it is a fresh water fish. It has these huge scales so she is frying them to make chips, which could work, I have seen that before (Edward Lee again, but on Top Chef Texas). She makes pan roasted filet with the loin smoked and grilled in a ceviche (I do not understand, it is cooked, is that still ceviche?) with a Peruvian corn salad and the chips seasoned with smoked paprika. Unfortunately everyone hates the fish scales, but Donatella likes the corn and Zakarian likes the fish.

Item Four is a huge wheel of Parmesan cheese! Mehta thinks it is the least risky ingredient so he does not bid. Amanda gets it at 40 minutes. The biggest problem she has is getting the wheel open, she pounds and chops and it takes her a while to get it to split. She makes parmesan ice cream and parmesan almond shortbread with basil soufflé, a prosciutto crisp, grilled fig, and pomegranate molasses. I do not understand, ice cream and a soufflé? Is that a meal or just random stuff thrown together? She calls it a cheese course! Falkner thinks the soufflé is slightly underseasoned but applauds the ice cream. Donatella thinks something is too salty (maybe she adjusted after Falkner said it was underseasoned?) but risky, and Zakarian thinks the soufflé is too eggy, more like a frittata.

Marcel wonders: “Mehta, Nate, do their paddles work?” They have not bid on anything!

Item Five is Ostrich Eggs, and now the guys bid like crazy! Mehta takes it at 25 minutes. He has never used ostrich eggs before, but he says the albumin is more watery.He knows Zakarian is a soufflé connoisseur, so he makes yogurt soufflé and ice cream with French toast. Falkner tells him the soufflé is not as successful as he wants it to be! Zakarian thinks the soufflé is bland, Simon agrees but loves the ice cream. Donatella loves the salt and sugar.

Item Six goes to Nate and he will have 20 minutes to make something with a gigantic Mortadella sausage! Mortadella, that is cold cuts! At least it does not require cooking! Nate cuts off “just the tip” (giggle) and goes for mortadella foam! He calls it mousse and says he is putting it in the whipper but it is a foamer! He wants it light and airy. He makes mortadella and polenta fritter with mortadella mousse and a fennel, pistachio and raisin compote. Falkner calls the mousse “not your best effort” which sounds ominous! Zakarian thinks it is tasty and well constructed but an odd dish. Donatella does not like the mousse, and Simon says, “A blessing from the Pope would not save the mousse.” Uh oh! See, everyone makes fun of Marcel and his foams, but he at least knows how to make them!


The judges name Marcel the winner! That is quite a comeback! Amanda is second in spite of her seasoning missteps. Neither of them were named by Falkner so they are safe! Alex made the tastiest dish but she was also the least risky so she only comes in third and she is also safe! Mehta had a bad soufflé but he is safe!

That leaves Nate and Falkner, and she named him as her choice for the Showdown and he is the pick by the Judges as the least favorite, so they are up against each other! And everyone ooohs and aaaahs that this is the same way it happened last time to Anne Burrell!

The Secret Ingredient Showdown:

The ingredient was voted on by viewers at the FN website: Anchovies! That is a good ingredient! I hate them, but chefs like them. They have all the varieties, fresh, white, oil and salt packed.

Nate is ready for blood: “She put me in the bottom, she no longer exists to me now.” Wow, that is heavy! He is most worried about controlling the salt of the anchovies. He makes an anchovy Spanish tortilla (like a frittata or pan omelet) with anchovy romesco sauce and an anchovy aioli and blanched kale. Simon loves Spain and he captured it; the aioli is the best thing he has made in the competition. Zakarian loves it too! Donatella thinks the tortilla is slightly underseasoned and did not get much anchovy in two of the components! I wonder if she is tasting the same thing as the other judges!

Falkner does a classic Caesar dressing with mustard, anchovies, olive oil, garlic, and lemon in the blender, but then puts it in alginate for spherification! Marcel, he is an expert at this, he worries she will not have enough time, because it needs to rest to set the membrane, but it works fine and it looks great on the plate. She calls it Caesar bursts with pasta alla sarde (pasta with sardines) with raisins and pine nuts. Simon thinks the saffron is too strong. Donatella agrees but it is taking her to Sicily. Zakarian thinks the saffron is too much, but she took more risk.

The Final Cut:

Donatella says, “Nate cooked food we want to eat, but Falkner took risks.” So since the theme of the day, Falkner is out! What? That does not make sense! Still they all agreed she had too much saffron while only Donatella thought Nate had a problem, so I guess it does make sense. So the Curse of the Auction remains! And it is all nonsense anyway, I do not believe anything the judges say, it is all a matter of who gets the most screen time. I am surprised they let Marcel stay this long! But I hoped Falkner would be the Next Iron Chef. Oh well, Maybe next year!

Next Week:

A Vegas wedding! Peppermint and Chicken Livers! This sounds like Chopped!

2 responses to “Next Iron Chef: Redemption (2012) – Episode 5, Risk

  1. Food Network needs to addrhe ability to act mature, manage ones self in a professional level with consideration for others at a mature level, no ones expecting anyone to hand a win to another chef! But staying within your own allotted space within which you were assigned to prep/cook/complete the orders for services for the expiditer ! Also to only use the assigned equipment/utensils/supplies/spices/foods supplied for your station. Currently if an unprofessional chef does any of the above, nothing negative occurs to him/her. The chef being mistreated is expected to take their precious time and fight for burner space, blenders, pots/pans, foods, space and ytensils etc ! Or if their foods not complete or taste poor and they try to explain ex. Marcel took most all my burners, my blenders so I couldn’t blend this as well as I’d have liked, or I only had limited pans etc! The judges say you’re the chef and should have been able to take charge getting it back! Well, heck yes if you aren’t limited to duke it out , and cook a gourmet meal in 45 minutes! While Marcel is cooking never missing a minute! Yet now 15 minutes are gone and you are still arguing with Marcel ! He’s thrilled because he’s totally cut you off at the knees ! Yet 1. You’re having to be stressed by an immature child ! The judges should have stepped in after the first 2 minutes stating every minute you continue up to x minutes will equal x # of points against you before we ever taste your food. Once you receive 10. You are the automatic discharge of the competition for the week! Because professional demeanor in the kitchen and respect for fellow chefs/ staff are as important as the ability to cook. Because if a chef can not run a firm but fair kitchen where fellow chefs/employees want to work , then you 1. Will fold 2. Will be disrespected in the industry and become a joke in the sense people talk about the chefs arrogance !! And he thinks his arrogance a good snooty positive addition ????
    I say the judges know his behavior is less than professional ! Yet tonight one had the brain damage to lean over and say he’s your next Iron Chef ! I hope/pray ! NOT!! I won’t watch again! It’s bad enough listening to Mucheal’s weird laugh ! He’s personality is different . But Michael can cook food his style. He does make it fun. It’s just his laugh. I’m sure others love the laugh lol.
    But please do something with Marcel. Ask him to show respect to the other chefs by remaining within his assigned space, using his assigned equipment and utensil ! Please put in a way to penalize so the contestants ate using the precious time begging the jerks to be fair!! Make the jerks pay for cheating by closing the loop that “doesn’t say they can’t cheat and hurt the other chefs in that manner” ! Thanks for listening ! I’m sick of marcel’s cheating this same way on both networks ! Both sets of judges ignore the other conntestants frustrations feeling that chef should be strong enough to handle it or they’re the weak link !!! Again that’s fine in a full shift ! This is 45 minutes generally ! So from now on choose chefs that at least generally respect one another 85-95% of the time please ! I do realize you want some bad “boys” for TV controversy ratings ! But please stop choosing the worst like Marcel !!! He has talent! But they all do/could especially pulling many of his tricks! I feel it paints chefs in a terrible light. There are too many others that you could have brought in for colorful excitement lol! Again thanks for listening !

    • Hello Vicki I am Zin! I like Marcel! I think the whole Next Iron Chef is more like theatre or spoof than cooking in a restaurant! I can not explain why I like some people and not others though, Nate and Mehta are fun villains but there are villains I do not like! But I do not think it really matters what we think since somebody already made the decision and this show is not really a job interview it is a TV show and the purpose is ratings not to determine talent! If there is any element of audition to it, I think it has more to do with camera presence and the ability to make those “controversial” statements you said about, not about cooking!

      I am happy you said what was on your mind! Thank you! I will listen any time!

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