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The Next Iron Chef: Umami (Deliciousness) - open thread

by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 9th 2009 1:35PM
The Next Iron ChefThe only things I know about umami comes from those Kikkoman commecials, the ones that talk about umami being the fifth taste (after sweet, salty, sour, and bitter). Last night's Next Iron Chef was all about that, and they even had Iron Chef Morimoto as a judge.

What did you think? The show is down to its final three contestants. Can you picture one of them standing next to other Iron Chefs like Morimoto, Flay, Cora, Batali, and Symon in Kitchen Stadium?

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I think everyone is thinking too much into how Mehta supposedly arrogant, douchebag, etc so the next time you watch it, you look for these qualities in them, and overlook the bitchy things all the other chefs do and the bitchy comments the other chefs make.

Also, I agree with a lot of people when they say the editors try to make the outcome a "surprise" by not showing us all the information during the comment session. It also seems that things are taken out of context...that sometimes the chefs' response to one question is edited to seem like the answer of another question. So I think you should take this into account when you judge the chefs because we aren't exactly there the entire time, and we obviously aren't shown the major shortcoming for the chefs until they are eliminated.

Personally I want Mehta to win because it seems like he wants it the most....or maybe that's what they edit it to seem.

November 18 2009 at 3:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No, Chef Mehta really is a dick. Does anyone not remember the second episode when a few of the chefs were cooking Greek, and I believe Trevino needed grape leaves specifically for his dish, the dolmas, yet Mehta took them all for his stupid presentation on the cutting boards? And he said he did it in the spirit of competition basically. Then in episode five, Mehta and Mullen were playing tug of war over a goat's leg, and Mullen yanked it away from him and made off with it. Mehta was very quick to say "That wasn't very nice."

If he is such a great chef, then why does it appear that he would rather set a colleague up to fail instead of being judged solely on the merit of his cooking? And then he has the gall to complain about someone not being nice to him later on in the competition. He does not have the honor to be an iron chef, and he does not have my respect, no matter how well he may cook.

November 16 2009 at 8:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm not surprised by eveyone's comments about Chef Mehta. He certainly is depicted as a cut-throat competitor. Sometimes I even find myself saying "Well it just must be the way they edit the episode," because it doesn't seem like the warm, hospitable Chef that served me in a cramped 20-seat restaurant I happend to wander into one night. It could be the competition, or the editing or a string of other things. I can only say it's truely unfortunate the audience isn't able to taste the food served on the show. Chef Metha's cuisine is perhaps the best I've ever had the pleasure of eating.

I agree with several comments posted earlier. Above all else, this is a production. I'm not sure if it's fixed, but I'm never surprised when the judging is depicted one way and then, low and behold, Chef Metha has survived another day. If the judges tasted even a hint of what Metha serves in his restaurant, it probably surprises and delights. I wish Iron Chef took an approach similar to the way Top Chef is filmed. It seems to be more true to the way the winners and loosers are depicted, perhaps because of the way they divide the contests into two groups before elimination (winners and loosers). I feel the audience gets a better feel of what the strengths were of the winners becuase they are highlighting this at the judeges table and then they focus on what was unsuccessful about the dishes in the bottom when they show the chefs who are up for elimination.

Having said that, Chef Mullen was my second pick because I eat at his restaurant several times as well (I've never met him though) and his food is also really good. I think he was eliminated because he looks like Bobby Flay . . . that and perhaps Chefs Garces and Metha really will prove to be a great throwdown.

November 16 2009 at 6:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was looking for a conversation on this subject after last night's episode...so I could vent. OK...I really do have a life...but this still annoys the heck out of me. I can NOT believe that Mehta is still there. He is not only obnoxious and arrogant, but annoying to even look at. I watch Iron Chef America often...but I will not be able to stomach it with this guy. I know the best cuisine should reign supreme...but don't they at least care if the guy is likeable?

November 16 2009 at 4:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Erin Williamson

I am disappointed with last night's outcome. I was heartbroken to see Chef Mullen go, because I liked his story the best of the three. Chef Garces was rambling about nothing, and Chef Mehta just ignorned the whole point of the challenge. It also seemed that the judges had more positive comments on Mullen's food (I really wish I could taste that ice cream!). I'm not very interested in the final battle, because I, too, think they have already choosen Mehta. Well, I do hope to see Mullen and/or Frietag in an actual battle this season so they can kick whichever one of those two cochy bastards wins!

November 16 2009 at 8:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The only reason all of you smell a fix is because Chef Mehta had won the last round, giving him an advantage in the second round. So even with horrible scores in the second round he was still able to advance, as Freitag was easily outcooked in the first round. Mehta is not a duche-bag, but brings a new culinary perspective to the table. I think he rightfully deserves to win. Personally, I've gone for a few cooking competitions myself, and know when I see a winner. Also, I don't think that those who can't cook squat and behave like brats should not comment on such topics.

November 15 2009 at 10:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Anonymous's comment
Michael Britton

From the comments I read, nobody said Chef Mehta was a douchebag... he is simply an arrogant SOB. On the episode on 11/15 he stated bluntly "I don't care what other people think of me". Is that the quality of an Iron Chef. Not really... let's face it, the whole premise of Iron Chef (whether it's America or Japan) is theater... right down to "The Chairman", who is actor Mark Dacascos. In that light, The Next Iron Chef is not much more than a culinary version of WWE Wrestlling... lots of theater, predetermined outcome (I believe that, like they chiose Michael Symon over John Besh 2 years ago, they "chose" the winner even before the first episode was filmed). The problem is that Food Network casts this as a "reality show", a true competition between world-class chefs. If that was truly the case, they would be less heavy-handed with the editing and show us really what' going on. Instead, you see things like Dr. Hattori's comment that Chef Frietag did wonderful things like combining flavors that even some Japanese chefs have difficulties doing, and then they dump on her rice balls and chewy Kobe beef at the end. They diss Chef Mehta's products as lacking Umami, yet he goes on to the next round. Tonight, they complained that his presentation was too over the top, not fitting with the whole theme of the challenge, yet they excuse it beause "that's just how he is". Give me a break... to excuse someone because that's "how he is" is lame... Seamus Mullen was more a winner today, especially for working through his rheumatoid arthritis pain, because "that's just how he is", but he went home. Given Mehta's arrogance, I won't watch his episodes if he becomes the Next Iron Chef... besides, I'm already sick of his use of the ice cream machine in, literally, EVERYTHING he does. He'll be like Chef Sakai with his trout ice cream.

November 16 2009 at 6:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Walter D.

As a retired broadcaster, TV & Radio, I can professionally say that Chef Amanda Freitag was the only Chef left that looked like, preformed and cooked like an Iron Chef. The rest of them are good Chefs, but they look and act like the Three Stooges or the Marx Brothers.
To me the greatest Iron Chef was Mario Batali. He is a great Chef with a great personality. You had to have loved his shorts, shoes and his performances not to mention the food. He was the King of the Iron Chefs.
So with Chef Freitag gone the Next Iron Chef will either be Larry, Moe or Curley. The image scares me!

November 15 2009 at 12:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brett Alan

I, too, got the feeling that they were editing it in a way to be surprising. Make it seem as though they didn't like Chef Mehta's dish, so you'll be surprised he's not gone. Also, remember that he's won a few challenges lately, so that may have carried him through.

As for the comment that they want Chef Mehta to win to diversify the IC pool, if they were so concerned with diversity, why not have more minorities on this show? I was surprised that there wasn't an African-American chef in the field, given that there is no such chef on the show. One Indian, two Latinos, and seven whites. How do you watch a show with a lineup like that and conclude that the fix is in to make sure they make the show less white?

November 11 2009 at 11:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I noticed during the comments on Chef Freitag's dishes that they did not include any mention of the rice balls. This seemed odd at the time, but when Alton mentioned them as the reason she was eliminated, it became clear. They were apparently so bad that including any of the comments about them would have tipped us to who the loser was.

This leads me to a side comment about American food critics and Japanese food. Jeffrey is always very harsh with Morimoto when he judges Iron Chef America. Morimoto dishes similar to those that the Japanese judges on Iron Chef Classic love, he always hates. When I saw Chef Freitag making classic Japanese rice balls rolled in seaweed, beefsteak leaves, and other Japanese ingredients that westerners are not accustomed to, I thought she might be making a mistake. I wish I knew what the judges actually said. Was it a matter of not liking the ingredients or was the dish just not balanced properly?

November 10 2009 at 2:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"I smell a fix. Chef Mehta had easily the worst performance last night. The Japanese Chef talked bad about everything he did."

Agreed. But it makes me wonder if there's a "fix" in, or if the show is just edited in such a way as to indicate one outcome when another outcome is the actual result. That is, the judges make three negative comments about a chef and ten positive comments, and the show is edited to show only the negative comments. The viewer thinks, "Wow, that chef did terribly" when is fact the chef did OK. Then in the end that chef wins the challenge and the viewer is left scratching their head thinking, "WTF???"

November 10 2009 at 8:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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