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Searching for Another Iron Chef

October 3, 2010

The third season is off and running.  Hopefully it will end better than the last season.  No offense to Jose Garces, he seems like a nice guy, but I just didn’t buy him as a winner and new Iron Chef.

I was surprised and overjoyed to see Ming Tsai (TV and Blue Ginger, MA) as one of the contestants.  He is very low-key, but I’ve always loved his shows (East Meets West, in particular, Simply Ming and as a judge on Cooking Under Fire on PBS, which I dug).  He entertains me (can they work on getting Martin Yan for the next go ’round?  That would be a trip).

Now, you knew all the wide eyes and jaw drops from the others were a result of realizing that they would be facing Ming in this competition (who actually beat Bobby Flay in “Battle Duck” on Iron Chef America).  Here’s a pro tip for those fools – stop worrying about Ming.  Stop thinking about him as the Man To Beat.  Just concentrate and doing what you do and doing it well.  If he’s already in your head and the game isn’t even on yet, you’re screwed.

I’m a sucker for a Chicago connection, so I’ll be rooting for Maneet Chauhan as well (Vermillion, Chicago/NYC).  Book me for Celina Tio (Julian, KC) as well.  She seems like the kind of young underdog that people won’t take seriously.  I love to see those types of competitors make some noise.

As for the rest, I haven’t decided yet.  I need to see some personalities emerge.  I did notice Mario Pagan (Chayote, Puerto Rico) giving a classic “it’s not my fault” line regarding sand flying into his dish as they waited on the beach for the judges to taste.  Trust me, Mario, it is your fault and elements are no excuse for sandy food.  Sac up and compete.  I don’t see a chef with that kind of attitude making it far, but maybe he’ll surprise me.

The two worst of the night seemed to deserve the dressing down they got.  The “support local food” girl, Duskie Estes (straight from her farm, CA) actually managed to produced a smidgen of edible pork out of an entire pig.  A truly sad waste of a tasty animal.  I was kind of looking to her to add some zing and overall weirdness to the show.  Luckily, she’ll get another shot to prove herself.  Andrew Kirshner (Wilshire, LA) was just a tool from start to finish and really earned his ouster.  When you get to pick your main ingredient (duck in Kirshner’s case), you really have to get it right.  Especially duck.  Bad duck is a disaster.

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