‘Iron Chef Gauntlet’ recap: ‘The Gauntlet’

Iron Chef Gauntlet

IRON CHEF GAUNTLET
Season 1, Episode 6
“The Gauntlet”
AIR DATE: May 21, 2017
GRADE: —

Here we are at the finish line for the first season (and, hopefully, the LAST for a long while) of “Iron Chef Gauntlet”. All the other chefs are gone and there’s one remaining who will run tonight’s “Iron Chef Gauntlet” against Chefs Bobby Flay, Michael Symon and Masaharu Morimoto.

Let’s see what happens…

In case you’re not caught up, your winning chef is…

THE IZARD QUEEN!

Iron Chef Gauntlet

Smug AF right there.

Let’s dive right in.

Izard says her journey is a rollercoaster and she watched this show growing up. She wants to be the next Iron Chef.

Alton outlines the rules of the Iron Chef Gauntlet:

  • There will be three separate battles against each of the three Iron Chefs.
  • Each battle will feature a separate Secret Ingredient.
  • The panel will award points for each round. If Izard’s total points for all three rounds exceed the points of all three Iron Chefs, she will be the newest Iron Chef.

Izard says she didn’t come this far to lose.

Alton introduces the Iron Chefs:

IRON CHEF BOBBY FLAY!

Iron Chef Gauntlet

IRON CHEF MASAHARU MORIMOTO!

Iron Chef Gauntlet

IRON CHEF MICHAEL SYMON!

Iron Chef Gauntlet

Izard runs down the IC history for us:

  • MORIMOTO: One of the original Iron Chefs from the show in Japan. He’s incredible and he’s who scares her the most.
  • SYMON: Izard once took on Symon in Battle Bread. She lost and, since then, she’s been wanting revenge.
  • FLAY: She says he “wins all the time”. That’s about it. She’s not wrong.

Alton reveals the first Secret Ingredient:

PEPPERS!!!

Hmmm…wonder who’ll be her opponent. I don’t know…it might rhyme with “Hobby Clay” — but, WAIT!!! Alton says that the order of which opponents she faces is up to HER!!! So, HA! She wouldn’t pick somebody who knows what to do with peppers and who might produce great pepper dishes that will–.

SHE CHOOSES BOBBY FLAY.

Yup.

The camera zooms in on stock footage of Bobby Flay wearing a black Iron Chef jacket rather than the white one he’s wearing because Food Network is apparently poor and can’t afford to shoot new footage.

Flay steps off his podium and says “I love peppers.”

Iron Chef Gauntlet

Michael Symon says that Izard’s decision is gutsy because Flay is the pepper master — but she went right for him.

Morimoto simply laughs and says, “Good luck!”

Alton sets the timer at 45 minutes and gives us the requisite “Allez Cuisine!” and we’re off with the chefs grabbing peppers while Alton pretends to know who has what advantage by the peppers chosen.

Izard says the it’s all about the use of the ingredient and she will use as many peppers as she can. She’s going toward a “taco” of sorts but something “Japanese”. Flay, meanwhile, is roasting peppers and will do a Chile Relleno of some sort because he’s not even trying and this network is hellbent on installing Izard as an Iron Chef. Flay says that anyone can make a pepper dish but nobody seems to know that each pepper has actual flavor. He’s going to use other vegetables to match the flavor and heat of each pepper.

Iron Chef Gauntlet

Flay makes a Jalapeno pesto and Izard starts making her pancake taco thing.

Iron Chef Gauntlet

Flay says that Izard seems fearless and that’s something he admires because he had to beat Morimoto to become an Iron Chef.

Alton visits Izard and asks if she can take Flay. “Hell, yeah!” she says. “I can take him.” Alton likes that.

Flay mixes his pesto with cheese while Izard coats Kobe beef with a pepper marinade. Flay stuffs his peppers and dredges it in rice flour.

Alton counts down from one minute which was, literally, 15 minutes one minute ago but we have two more of these battles, so it’s time to hurry up.

Both chefs plate and we’re going to judgment:

Alton gives us our judges: Executive chef and restaurateur, Ludo Lefebvre and CEO of Belcampo, Anya Fernald.

First up…

CHEF IZARD

  • Asian Style Kalbi Beef Taco with Seven Peppers – Ludo likes the texture and the spice but thinks there’s too much going on with the dish. Anya says the Kalbi beef is nice but that the spice isn’t working.

IRON CHEF BOBBY FLAY

  • Veracruz Chile Relleno with a Chile & Pepper Sauce – Anya loves the sauce and the crust. Anya says the Pesto didn’t really work in a dish like this. The sweet pepper, however, does work. Ludo loves the technique and eggplant.

Izard says that she probably lost to Flay while Flay says he’s happy to sit this one out and watch her take on the other two guys.

Izard comes back in for her second challenge.

Alton reveals the ingredient is…

CHEESE!!!

Gee…wonder if she’ll choose Symon…nah. She’ll want to go a different route and choose Morimoto who has a seafood-based cooking method and that would be sma–.

SHE CHOOSES IRON CHEF MICHAEL SYMON.

Iron Chef Gauntlet

Then she beats herself up for her choice, for chrissakes.

Symon commends her for, essentially, being gutsy (or “stupid”, as Alton refers to it) and Morimoto just sits there and prays for fish for the final round.

With 45 minutes on the clock, the battle begins.

Izard is going for Blue Cheese Ice Cream which, look, sounds great for foodies but, come fucking ON, that’s far too simple. Even Alton says she should have chilled her mixture.

Iron Chef Gauntlet

Izard tries to trash talk…or meekly asks “You OK over there, Chef Symon?” It’s so hard to tell with her.

Symon likes the filling for his dish while Izard is chopping chocolate and beets for “garnish”. M-kay. Alton tries to ask her what she’s thinking here, then goes to Symon who says he’s making dishes that are “full of surprises”. The two slam their counters because they’re MEN!!!

Izard checks her ice cream and it runs out of the machine like water…and it’s too salty. So she adds more sugar. She tries to get the ice cream mixture into the machine but can’t get it off the fucking spoon. Then she freaks out and says she has no idea what to do. FOR FUCK SAKES, GET ANOTHER SPOON TO SCRAPE IT OFF THE MAIN SPOON! You don’t even have to be a chef to know that!

Michael Symon is making a ravioli pasta dish. What, did you think after Grueneberg was eliminated that you got away?! Nope.

He starts making the ravs — then throws every single on of them away…what the…? Symon explains that it wasn’t good enough so he’s making more pasta. Symon: “I’m sweatin’ like Jose Garces over here!” Nice.

Iron Chef Gauntlet

Izard’s ice cream seems okay this time and she puts it in the freezer so that it will take shape. Moments later, it’s ready to come out and she plates everything.

Symon does likewise and it’s time to judge…

CHEF IZARD

  • Blue Cheese Ice Cream with a Parmesan Chocolate Sauce – Ludo nods and nods…and nods…and squints. Izard has NO idea what any of that means. Ludo says his least favorite cheese is Blue Cheese but because Izard infused ice cream with another food (a common, daily practice at your local Cheesecake Factory), he thinks the texture of the ice cream is “amazing” and the ice cream “genius”.  Anya likes how delicious the dish is. OMG, IT’S ICE CREAM, YOU GUYS. You infuse it with BROCCOLI and season it right, you’re gonna like what you taste.

IRON CHEF MICHAEL SYMON

  • Cheese Tortellone in a Brown Butter Sauce with Walnuts, Grapes & Burrata – Beautifully plated and thought-out. It isn’t scoops of ice cream stacked on top of chopped chocolate. Ludo loves everything about the dish from presentation to flavor — except the pasta is overcooked. But Symon takes it in stride and says his grandmother just rolled over in her grave. Ludo says his grandmother also overcooked the pasta. Anya says she loves the flavor but that it seemed safe. Ludo agrees.

Izard has no idea where she stands right now. She’s ready for the final round.

Iron Chef Morimoto is ready to cook and comes down to greet Izard.

The last Secret Ingredient is…

TILEFISH!!!

Gee, that was totally coincidental. Peppers against Flay? Cheese against Symon? Fish against Morimoto? TOTALLY NOT FIXED.

Iron Chef Gauntlet

Izard cooks up aromatics in a pot with soy while the fish goes in a food processor. She adds some flour. She’s making noodles.

Iron Chef Gauntlet

Morimoto is using nearly every single part of the fish to make his dish, steaming it and making soup.

Iron Chef Gauntlet

Alton goes down to talk to Izard, getting in her head. Then he visits Morimoto who just tunes him out and chops stuff.

Not to rush this, but they’re already at two minutes. The two begin plating.

Morimoto has made FIVE FREAKIN’ DISHES??? What the…? He explains: “I made five dishes! If I had fifteen more minutes, I’d make EIGHT!”

Here’s the list:

  • Steamed Tilefish Cheeks
  • Steamed Tilefish with XO Sauce
  • Tilefish Crudo
  • Grilled Tilefish Soup
  • Rice with Tilefish Bones & Soy Sauce

Izard is stunned and says that she’s running against the best, but that her dish is HER and represents her.

We’re at the final judgement round. Here we go…

CHEF IZARD

  • Tilefish Laksa, Noodles & Dumpling with Tilefish Ceviche – Ludo says the dish’s presentation isn’t great but that it tastes good. Anya agrees saying that her noodles to look good to the eye. She calls Izard’s Ceviche “basic” but says it tastes delicious.

CHEF MORIMOTO

  • Steamed Tilefish with XO Sauce and Sea Urchin – Anya likes the fish to be more tender. Ludo thinks it had great flavor and balance.
  • Steamed Tilefish Cheeks with Black Bean Sauce – Ludo loves how tender the fish is but says that black beans take the flavor out of things. Anya says that the presentation is beautiful and she likes the dish.
  • Tilefish Crudo with Bell Pepper and Mozzarella – Anya says it’s unique but can’t taste the fish. Ludo says about the same.
  • Tilefish Rice and Soup with Kombu and Bonito Flakes – Anya and Ludo adore this dish, saying that it’s unique and “Japanese”.

I guess the last two dishes were one dish. And I’m not really sure why Morimoto was allowed to make that many dishes but the show pretends like that’s cool.

The final judgement is here.

Izard enters the kitchen and she says she’s proud of everything she made.

Alton commends her bold approach to each and every battle. He reads the scores.

IZARD VS. FLAY

  • 31-27, Flay (Iron Chefs ahead by 4 points.)

IZARD VS. SYMON

  • 32-26, Symon (Izard ahead by 2 points)

IZARD VS. MORIMOTO

  • Morimoto had 30 points, putting the Iron Chefs at 87 points, which means that Izard had to get at least 29 points to win. She would lose to Morimoto but still become the Iron Chef…

Izard got…

31 POINTS.

Of course she did. Of course she beat Michael Symon and Masaharu fucking Morimoto while just barely losing to Bobby Flay. So, she’s an Iron Chef. Ho-hum. Did you have any doubts?

Iron Chef Gauntlet

THOUGHTS: Safe, boring, who cares? It would really be to Food Network’s advantage if they went back to the “Next Iron Chef” format instead of continuing with this. Realistically, a format like this is going to give you the rookie win every single time because the TV audience has invested too much for that contestant to lose and a rookie loss would render the entire show meaningless.

And, yes, Izard is as boring as her cooking. She’s the most dull Iron Chef since Jose Garces. Blue Cheese Ice Cream? The Cheesecake Factory can do that and make it just as good. And I detest that restaurant. I will never understand why Food Network viewers fall for the scam that is this network. It’s insulting.

Anyway, love it or hate it, Izard is an Iron Chef. Yay?

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