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Rob Feenie Dishes on Iron Chef America

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Rob Feenie Dishes on Iron Chef America

The exclusive foodtv.ca interview with Chef Rob Feenie about his experience as the first Canadian in Kitchen Stadium on Iron Chef America.

What do you think it takes to be an Iron Chef?

I've never been a competitive chef, so I don't think it takes anyone that has that type of competitive background. Anyone that can produce that many dishes in an hour is an Iron Chef because it's not easy to do! Having to have five dishes completed in an hour, from scratch, is pretty tough. We just wanted to duplicate what we try to do in the restaurant. If Morimoto wanted a challenge again, I'd do it again!

Who did you bring to the competition with you?

Mark-Andr� Chocquette, my sous chef at both restaurants, and Wayne Harris, my sous chef at Lumi�re.

How did you prepare for the battle before going to New York?

At home we practiced by sending a couple of the younger cooks out to buy what was like a secret ingredient. This is the funniest thing - in my small kitchen they had these napkins over it, and the pantry stuff out there, and then they said, okay, "Allez Cuisine!" and lifted it up! Then we started practicing, and we did that a couple of times to get the timing down because that's the real key part. For me, the cameras weren't really the thing; it was more getting it done within the hour and knowing it was on camera.

Did the reveal of your opponent and secret ingredient change your strategy?

We changed a few things before we started. What changes during competition is that things don't always work the way you want them to in an hour. There are five dishes, and there's no way that all five are going to be perfect! If it's not ready, it can't get plated and you can't get points for it. For the panna cotta we did, the fridge didn't allow it to set.

Describe the energy on the Iron Chef America set during the taping.

Forget about the taping, let's go back to the day before! We weren't allowed to be on set to watch the two shows filmed the day before. We weren't allowed to see the test kitchen. So talk about tension! It's pretty much exactly how you see it on television. It's real. The points are real, the judging is real.

Explain the significance of being the first Canadian on the show.

I hope that what people get out of it, especially people in the U.S., is that it's a pretty good thing for us. I know they talk a lot about Vancouver. It wasn't so much about me, it wasn't about Lumi�re, it was more about what being Canadian is all about. From a food standpoint, it was a good promotional tool for Canadian cuisine. I hope that someone else from here will get to go down and do it. And they'll see it's not easy!

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