The Next Iron Chef season 3 continued Sunday night with week 2 of competitive cooking. The night’s action centered on innovation, and featured a 30-minute breakfast challenge, an Innovation battle centered on classic American diner foods, and the eventual elimination of Chef Pagan. Here’s how it all went down.
The episode opened with the nine remaining Iron Chef hopefuls meeting up with host Alton Brown at the John O’Groats shop in Los Angeles. Right out of the gates, they were posed with week 2’s first 30-minute secret ingredient challenge: Create two innovatie dishes using the classic American breakfast foods coffee and donuts. The pace was frenetic as the wanna-bes took on the challenge, creating everything from grilled cheese sandwiches to donut granola.
Following the gamebook of week one, the contestants were charged with choosing the winners and losers. Here’s a look at what each chef prepared:
Chef Pagan: Donut Tapa and Fried Banana Donut
Chef Tio: Bacon and Egg Donut and Friend Chicken Livers
Chef Dumont: Caramelized Bananas and Donut Banana Fritters
Chef Chauhan: Grilled Cheese Donut and Coffee and Donut Frittata
Chef Tsai: Iced Espresso and Donut Breakfast Sandwich
Chef Estes: Coffee and Egg Eggs Coffee Yogurt with Donut Granola
Chef Forgione: Donut French Toast and Sabayon
Chef Caswell: Donut Pain Pardue and French Toast
Chef Canora: Cinnamon Donut French Toast and Sandwich
Chef Chauhan was ultimately chosen as the winner of an advantage in the next challenge, while Chef Dumont’s dishes were deemed the least favorite of the bunch. As the loser of the challenge, Chef Dumont was told that she’d be dealt a disadvantage going into the next round. Ouch. (Because slicing her finger open during the breakfast challenge wasn’t punishment enough!)
The Next Iron Chef week 2 continued with the Chairman’s Challenge. A (cheesy) taped message featuring Mark Dacascos giving a lead-in to the big reveal came next, and was followed by Alton showing the contestants cards naming classic American diner-style meals. Alton instructed challenge winner Chef Chauhan to not only choose her own innovative diner dish (she went with burgers and fries), but to assign her challengers their dishes as well. Ooh, substantial advantage, were it a few weeks later into the competition when the contestants had a better grip on their cohorts’ strengths and weaknesses. Everyone got to work on the 60-minute challenge except Chef Dumont, whose punishment for losing the breakfast challenge was a one-minute start delay.
Here’s a look at who made what.
Chef Estes: Fried Quail, Lavendar Biscuit
Chef Tsai: Red Roast Surf and Turf
Chef Chauhan: Vegetarian Burger and Okra Fries
Chef Dumont: Braised Short Ribs and Potato Confit
Chef Forgione: Pie Pot Chicken
Chef Caswell: Slow Roast Turkey, Giblet Dressing and Cherry Mustard
Chef Pagan: Pork Belly Meatloaf
Chef Tio: Slow Baked Salmon
Chef Canora: Liver and Onions take
The judges were especially hard on Chefs Pagan and Dumont, and noted that Chefs Estes and Tsai had overcomplicated their offerings. All three agreed that Chef Forgione had done an excellent job of interpreting a standard chicken pot pie with his inside out version of the classic.
Inevitably, Chefs Caswell and Forgione were declared the creme de la creme of the challenge, and Chef Forgione was declared the official Innovation challenge winner. Donatella cautioned Chef Estes about her plating before Alton deemed her safe to cook again, and Michael told Chef Tio be more “a little more aggressive” in the future before she too was proclaimed safe. Chef Canora and Chef Chauhan were also saved, leaving Chef Dumont, Chef Tsai and Chef Pagan standing as the weakest of The Next Iron Chef week 2. Chef Dumont was dismissed to the kitchen, leaving just Chef Tsai and Chef Pagan up for elimination. “By virtue of brisket” (per Alton), Chef Tsai was saved to cook again, leading to the elimination of Chef Pagan.
With two weeks down and two contestants gone, just eight hopefuls remain in the quest for Iron Chef greatness. Who will surge into the lead next Sunday? Tune in to the Food Network and find out!
The Next Iron Chef Season 3 week 2, Food Network, October 10, 2010