The exclusive foodtv.ca interview with Chef Rob Feenie about his
experience as the first Canadian in Kitchen Stadium on Iron
What do you think it takes to be an Iron
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
Mark-Andrï¿½ Chocquette, my sous chef at both restaurants, and
Wayne Harris, my sous chef at Lumiï¿½re.
How did you prepare for the battle before going to New
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
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
Lumiï¿½re, 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!