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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
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Food Is Funny
November 20

The superchefs headed to the lobby to get some snacks, but they weren't going to a movie. They were going to be thrust into the action. Elizabeth's malt-ball concoctions earned her an advantage in the next round, while less palatable offerings from Chuck Hughes and Beau MacMillan earned them a spot in the Secret Ingredient Showdown, where Chuck assured us that the next Iron Chef will not be Canadian. Now seven remain.

CHAIRMAN'S CHALLENGE #4: Improvisation

Today's challenge takes us to the Hollywood Improv, where we see the chefs take in a night of comedy... or so they think.

The last laugh is going to be on our combatants, as Kevin Nealon asks for ingredients improv-style, because if you think about it, what's "Iron Chef" than improvisational cookery?


IMPROV!

From the crowd we get a protein, a carb, a fruit, and a random item. That gives us... octopus, tortillas, kumquats, and marshmallows. Now take all of these items and cook ONE dish. You have until Clive Anderson beats his buzzer, which should take about, oh, 45 minutes.

Oh wait! Elizabeth gets an advantage doesn't she? Let's give her.. an extra five minutes.

GEOFFREY: Tortilla and Octopus Polenta. The technique is fantastic, but it's all one-note. There's a muddiness to the octopus, and it's the mushrooms that give it.

MICHAEL: Tortilla Squared with Paprika Octopus. The flavors are balanced. The octopus is tender, and the marshmallow air is brilliant. The aioli is brilliant. It's a very well-constructed dish.

ELIZABETH: Red Wine Braised Octopus with Romesco. The romesco was splendid, and the octopus was cooked very nice. Simon likes the technique, but not the plating. Judy, however, liked it.

ANNE: Braised Octopus and Tortilla Kumquat Raviolo. It hit a little bit of bite. It's a very smart and surprising dish. It takes a lot of technique to make a dish like this.

BEAU: Charred Octopus with Corn Tortilla Fritter. Mike has some problem with the octopus, as it has texture issues. Judy thought that the dish wasn't as successful. Simon thought the miso was a nice touch, but questioned the dish as a whole.

MARCUS: Kumquat Pickled Octopus. The octopus was tender, but as a dish, it's "interesting" at best. Simon doesn't have much of an issue with presentation.

ALEX: Octopus with Cabbage & Marshmallow. Simon licks his plate clean. That says a LOT.

Five chefs will be assured of a spot in the next round right now.

At the top of the pack today... Alex, Michael, Elizabeth, and Anne. The winner of this challenge... MICHAEL CHIARELLO.

That leaves Geoffrey, Marcus, and Beau. All three are no stranger to the bottom. Well, Geoffrey is. Marcus and Beau have already taken up squatter's. All three dishes have been conflicting.

Marcus had a hot mess on his plate, so he's back in the kitchen next week. Which means that Chef Beau MacMillan (again) and Chef Geoffrey Zakarian will face off against each other in...

SECRET INGREDIENT SHOWDOWN #4

The secret ingredient today is... COCONUTS. You will have 30 minutes to create one dish featuring the theme ingredient. The winner will survive to cook another day. The loser... out that door's the world, be careful.

Judgment (Geoffrey): Coconut Halibut Two Ways: Coconut Halibut Crudo and Coconut Crusted Halibut.

Geoffrey also added braised Jerusalem artichokes in coconut water. A lot of notes came together, and the concept succeeded, but Simon's piece was overcooked. The other two pieces were perfectly cooked.

Judgment (Beau): Coconut Curry Stew.

The broth has a depth of flavor, but it didn't need the pineapple. This was one of the best dishes that Simon has ever eaten in this competition.

Beau's dish was one note, but Geoffrey's dish failed on one element. All in all, it worked, though.

The judges did not agree on a whole lot, and the panel was split, but one bite did unite them. That bite belonged to... the crudo of Geoffrey Zakarian. Unfortunately, that makes Beau a two time loser. Chef Beau MacMillan did have a great day in the kitchen, but he was beaten by a better, and as such, he will NOT be the next Iron Chef. The rest of the chefs salute their fallen comrade and a genuinely nice guy.


IMPROV!

And then... there were six... as the chefs prepare to go on a great voyage... to NEW YORK CITY.

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