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Ten superchefs will rise through the ranks, but only one will achieve greatness. Who will be the next Iron Chef?

Recaps by Chico Alexander & Joe Mello, GSNN

Hosts Mark Dacascos ("The Chairman") & Alton Brown
Judges Judy Joo
Simon Majumdar
Michael Symon
Creator Keiichi Tanaka (based upon "Ryori no Tetsujin/Iron Chef")
EP Eytan Keller
Stephen Kroopnick
Stu Schreiberg
Packager Triage Entertainment & Fuji TV for Food Network
Origins American Culinary Institute, Los Angeles
Web foodnetwork.com/nextironchef
Airs 9p Sun, Food
@The Next Iron Chef

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Primal: Heat & Meat
October 30

For the past 20 years, chefs from the world over have risen through the ranks to achieve greatness and be called men and women of iron. Michiba... Sakai... Morimoto... Flay... Symon... and now one out of an army of ten celebrity chefs will be asked to join their esteemed academy and be called... an Iron Chef.

This season's lineup...

- Anne Burrell (New York City, 20 years experience) - she has cooked in KSA before... as one of former Iron Chef Batali's trusted sous-chefs. She's won "Worst Cooks in America"... TWICE.
- Michael Chiarello (Napa Valley, CA; 25 years experience) - the only chef to have NEVER fought in any capacity in KSA.
- Elizabeth Falkner (San Francisco, 20 years experience) - Battled former Iron Chef Cora in Battle Honey in 2006.
- Alex Guarnaschelli (New York City, 20 years experience) - Lost to Iron Chef Cora in Battle Farmer's Market in 2007.
- Chuck Hughes (Montreal, 15 years experience) - Beat Iron Chef Flay in Battle Canadian Lobster earlier this year.
- Robert Irvine (Hilton Head, SC; 30 years experience) - only chef in the contest to have lost in Kitchen Stadium... TWICE.
- Beau Macmillan (Scottsdale, AZ; 26 years experience) - beat Iron Chef Flay in Battle American Kobe Beef in 2006.
- Spike Mendelsohn (Washington, DC; 17 years experience) - the only contestant to NOT have his own FN/CC series. Was last seen as a "Top Chef" All-Star. Lost to Iron Chef Symon in Battle Prosciutto in 2010
- Marcus Samuelsson (New York City; 3 James Beard awards) - he won "Top Chef Masters", but lost to Iron Chef Flay in Battle Corn (2008)
- Geoffrey Zakarian (New York City; 30 years experience) - the most seasoned chef in the competition. He's a regular on "Chopped" and has lost to Iron Chef Morimoto in 2010's Battle Sardines.

Should be noted that if Chuck were to win, he would be Canada's very FIRST Iron Chef. If Marcus were to win, he'd be Sweden's FIRST Iron Chef.

Each round will comprise two matchups... A Chairman's Challenge and a Secret Ingredient Showdown, where the bottom two will do battle in a test to see whose cuisine truly reigns supreme. Judging will be Iron Chef Michael Symon, food critic Simon Majumdar, and food writer Judy Joo, who represents American cuisine on "Iron Chef UK". She expects no less than 12 foodgasms in this competition. Her words.

CHAIRMAN'S CHALLENGE #1: Resourcefulness

Chef Spike was chosen by random draw to choose the teams in this first challenge.

- Spike & Marcus
- Robert & Anne (C-Note: HAH!)
- Alex & Elizabeth
- Michael & Chuck
- Beau & Geoffrey

The Chairman wants to see how resourceful you can be when you are reduced to only heat and meat. To that end, we go from the civilized training kitchen to ... "the middle of nowhere". You have the essentials to create heat. From that, you'll have to cook one whole pig. You will be given some more additional ingredients, but you will have 90 minutes to create fire... then create two different dishes. Whoever fails will face each other in a Secret Ingredient Showdown.

Not 20 minutes into season four, and we have our first injury as Beau rolls his right ankle. Ouch. Thirty minutes in, and Alex has a panic attack and a mental collapse (C-Note: one of many) as she puts a whole leg onto a grill and burns it.

And then Anne says "Oh crap" on a burned porchetta (well, ALMOST). They saved that in time.

A very popular ingredient around here... Ear.

And what is Michael doing? He's rushing into the middle of nowhere to get more ingredients for his salad. That's iron baby. Smart.

Now that the dishes are done, it's time for them to face the toughest room in America, the Next Iron Chef judges.

- Braised Pork Belly & Pork Cheek. Cooked perfectly.
- Porchetta with Raw Artichoke Salad. Accompaniments are superb, but the pork isn't great. The skin needed to be a little crispier.

- Pork Stew. Every bit of the animal is used
- Pork Spare Ribs with Honey Glaze. The ribs are dry, because they're anorexic.

- Pork Shoulder with Barigoule. Lots of finesse, and lots of balance.
- Spit-Roasted Pork over Scallop Salsify. The pork is nicely, but the skin is rubbery.

- Salad of Crispy Pig Ear. Texturally perfect.
- Chili Maple Glazed Pork Chop with Pig Brain Duxelles. Nice flavor

- Pig Four Ways - Mushroom with Pig Ears, Sunchokes & Egg with Tongue, Jowl with Rhubarb, Kidney & Tarragon with Leeks. This is Mike's favorite of the day.
- Glazed Pork Belly with Roasted Leg. "This dish would've beneffited more with less pork belly."

And now, the judgment aspect. Eight chefs will be assured of a spot in the next round.

Chefs Zakarian & Macmillan .... are tied with Chefs Hughes & Chiarello. At least initially. The winners of this challenge... Chefs Zakarian & Macmillan win this test and get an advantage in the next. Chuck and Michael join them in safety.

Anne & Robert.... and Alex & Elizabeth are also safe. Which means that Chef Marcus Samuelsson and Chef Spike Mendelsohn will face off against each other in...


The Chairman is fanatical about Halloween, so he has arranged both a trick and a treat, one you really want to cook with, another... not so much. They choose the red tarp. Under the black... the trick, canned tuna.

The treat... is today's secret ingredient.... DIVER SEA SCALLOPS.

Both chefs will have 30 minutes to cook one dish. On the back of that dish, someone will be eliminated.

Judgment (Spike): Scalloped Sofrito with shaved scallop roe and lemon verbena salad.

The sofrito is very complex, and it has two ingredients that don't usually go together. But in the end, it did. And the scallop was the star.

Judgment (Marcus): Duo of Scallop: Scallop Corn Miso Soup and Seared Scallop with Porcini.

There is always a danger with two preparations. One can be great, one can suck. Both must be judged as one. Fortunately, both worked well. Simon wasn't satisfied with the presentation of his dish.

But is this Iron Chef-worthy food? This is going to be a difficult decision.

But the decision is unanimous.

Chef Marcus Samuelsson.... Survives to cook another day. Spike Mendelsohn lost by a hair, but a loss is a loss in this parts, and he will NOT be the next Iron Chef.

And then... there were nine.

To view this episode in its entirety, go to www.foodnetwork.com/nextironchef.