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Previous Episodes
October 30

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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Take Me Out to the Ball Game
November 7

Last week, the search for the next American Tetsujin began with 10 super chefs. Two of them - Marcus Samuelsson and Spike Mendelsohn - were forced to do battle against one another for the right to stay in the contest, but in the end, Spike's dish didn't measure up. Now nine remain in the kitchen.

CHAIRMAN'S CHALLENGE #2: Transformation

Today's challenge takes us to San Diego, at Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres. The challenge today... transforming ballpark grub.

You will have 15 minutes to search the stadium for whatever you can find - there's even a Food Network cart - then return to the Park at the Park to start cooking. You'll have an hour to create a next-level ballpark food maneuver, two dishes. The two worst dishes will face off against each other at home turf in the Secret Ingredient Showdown.

Officiating today, Cy Young Award-winning Padres legend Randy Jones, who lends his name and talents to a barbecue establishment on the premises.

Geoffrey and Beau, as winners of the last Chairman's Challenge, will have an advantage in this one. They will have an additional five minutes. They're going to need every bit of those minutes, because if you remember last week, Beau is nursing an injured ankle, and Geoffrey just moves like an old woman.

A lot of running in this challenge.

Put it down and walk away. This challenge is over.

- ALEX: Sausage & Peppers, Lemon Sherbet. The sandwich hit it out of the ballpark, while the second is a bit of a palate cleanser.
- GEOFFREY: Sunday Brunch at the Ballpark - Avocado One-Eyed Susan with Cajun Shrimp Toast, Gazpacho with Mustard Crema. It's good food, but it's not really ballpark grub.
- BEAU: Deconstructed Corn Dog with Grilled Shrimp; Deconstructed Cheesesteak. The first dish is a little rich, while the second is undercooked.
- ANNE: Brisket Lettuce Wrap; Chicken & Kielbasa Sloppy Joes. The dishes are good but not great.
- ELIZABETH: Remodeled Cheesesteak; Remodeled Corn Dog. The first dish is playful. The second is a little clunky, and there's more Iron Chef-worthy ways of treating the ingredients.
- MICHAEL: Tilapia Polpette & Shrimp Cioppino; Sausage & Peppers. The fish cake feels like San Francisco Giant. The sandwich with the raw egg feels more like Cleveland Indian.
- MARCUS: Shrimp Tostadas & Fish Taquitos; Pork Sandwich with Fries. The dishes tell the right story, but Marcus tends to overdo it.
- CHUCK: Shrimp & Pork Meatball Sub; Tilapia Corn Dog. Mike is not feeling the shrimp. The second dish is the game winner for him.
- ROBERT: Hot Burg; Deconstructed Fish Taco. The first is a wonderful combination, but the second is less than the sum of its parts.

And now, to the judgment chamber. Seven chefs will be assured of a spot in the next round.

The winner of this competition... ALEX! Her dishes were PERFECT. Joining her, Chuck and Elizabeth. Right in the middle of the pack... Anne, who was playing it safe; Beau, who was neither here nor there; and Marcus, who overdid his dishes to the point where the judges are now going to ask him to decide which two to taste before judgment should this happen again.

That leaves Robert, Geoffrey, and Michael. There was one component wrong with all of their dishes. Geoffrey was seen as blowing off the theme of the challenge. Robert didn't take the time to taste his dishes. Michael was Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde.

Geoffrey... lives to cook another day. BARELY. Which means that Chef Michael Chiarello and Chef Robert Irvine will face off against each other in...


The secret ingredient today is... PEANUTS. You will have 30 minutes to create one dish featuring the theme ingredient. The best dish survives. The worst dish leaves broken and humiliated.

Judgment (Robert): Peanut-Crusted Halibut with Peanut Hummus

Peanuts are normally used in Asian food, but in these French preparations, they work well. They pair well with aromatics, but the hummus was thick, even though Judy wanted more of it. 

Judgment (Michael): Peanut Pesto Fettuccine with Tomato Salad

Peanuts come up much further than pine nuts in the pesto. The technique comes through. The tomato salad cleanses the palate. But there was half of the plate not representing the secret ingredient.

You can make an ingredient shine without hitting someone over the head with it. One chef showed more technique and more skill, while one chef had the better balanced dish.

It looks like this decision is going to split the panel.

The panel is split, BUT... Chef Robert Irvine... will NOT be the next Iron Chef. Michael Chiarello survives to cook another day. Goes to show you that the smallest detail can affect the overall plate... But we're not done yet, as AB lets everyone know that fact. It may be small, but if you can't beat it now, how are you expected to beat it in KSA?

And then... there were eight.

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