Finally got around to watching the first installment of Iron Chef America: The Series. Impressions in bite size chunks below:
The Food Network has wisely tried to mimic every aspect of the Japanese show minus the wild costumes of the chairman and the chefs. The reports from the floor, the “booth” commentary from Alton Brown, as well as a few blurbs from the judges are all classic Iron Chef. There are some aspects they did not do, like cool mini video segments that explain the origins of the main ingredient, or fanfare filled bio of the challenger. Not having these doesn’t kill it, but it would add more drama to the battle ahead if they had. Nice presentation overall though.
The Iron Chefs
Bringing back Morimoto is a great move. As much as I detest Bobby Flay, his first match against Rick Bayless was entertaining and he kept his childish tantrums in check. Mario Batali is another good choice, but definitely lacks the prestige as say Wolfgang Puck. In the future, I’d love to see some other food Network heavyweights like Emeril get into the action. They have to keep the talent top notch though. Although I’m a fan of hers, I would take a pass on Iron Chef Rachel Ray.
Looks like they have a good mix of famous chefs with restaurants and/or TV shows. No real blockbuster challengers though. With only ten shows in this initial run, it’s unlikely the Iron Chefs will run out of tricks and be really tested. It won’t be till Bobby Flay collects his 20th or so victory that other big name chefs will want to go on the show and put it on the line, much like the prestige one would win on the Japanese show.
The mix is about right for this first show: One hard ass grumpy expert, one moderate critical expert, and one “I’m used to eating fine food” celebrity. I can’t say how future shows balance this out, but this is a good start. One bad note is the scores. MINOR SPOILER AHEAD ………… The winner of the match won by one point, which came down to the presentation of the food. I love a close match, but come on!? Pick which guy’s food you thought was better dammit! You people are the judges! ………………………………. SPOILER END.