When seven chefs enter Kitchen Stadium to earn the chance to cook against three Iron Chefs in the new series, Iron Chef Gauntlet, they will need focus, good time management and solid flavours in their dishes. So say the chefs the competitors will have to topple in order to earn the Iron Chef title.
A new generation of Iron Chef hopefuls enters Kitchen Stadium in the new series. Find out who they are here.
Iron Chef Gauntlet – airing Sundays at 9 E/P – features seven superstar chefs competing first against each other in Kitchen Stadium, until one is left to face off in separate battles against Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto and Michael Symon for a chance to earn the right to be called an Iron Chef.
Iron Chefs Flay, Morimoto and Symon getting ready to battle in the Gauntlet.
The competition will be fierce; the trio of Iron Chefs have a combined 103 wins in Kitchen Stadium. Through all those battles on both Iron Chef America and, for Morimoto, on the original Japanese show, the three have learned a thing or two about how to come out on top.
“The last five minutes goes really quick,” says Michael Symon, who holds the highest rate of wins compared to his fellow Iron Chefs, with 34 first-place finishes out of 42. “Don’t underestimate how quickly it goes, and start getting your food on the plate as quickly as you can.”
Symon understands what it’s like to be on the other side of Kitchen Stadium; on his first appearance on the show, back in 2005, he lost to Morimoto who created a series of stunning dishes featuring asparagus, including his signature ‘stained glass’ sushi.
He advises competitors to rely on their cooking strengths.
“Cook the food that got you here,” he adds. “Not the food that you think someone else wants you to cook.”
Flay, who was been triumphant 43 times out of 60, echoes Symon’s advice about not venturing too far out of the culinary box.
“Do something that is simple,” is his advice. “Something really well-executed is important, [because] these judges know what they’re tasting. So, taste, taste, taste.”
Morimoto may have the longest history with the Iron Chef show, but he keeps his advice succinct. “Focus,” says the chef who has won 26 times in his 44 appearances. “Don’t have too much focus and forget about normal potential.”
No matter how well they manage their time is or how focused a chef is on presentation and creativity, ultimately it all comes down to the flavours of the dishes.
“Make sure you have a contrast of textures and then some surprises as they’re eating it,” says Flay.
Symon points out that because it’s a competition, the judges are faced with eating a number of dishes and competitors will be smart to keep that in mind.
“Keep your flavours very simple and clean, but remember that the judges are only going to take probably one or two bites of your dish, so … you can’t cook subtly,” says Symon. “I think you have to have nice, poppy flavours that are going to excite the judges with one bite.”
Host Alton Brown takes you behind-the-scenes of Iron Chef Gauntlet: