Next Iron Chef Episode 2- Interpretation

next_iron_chef_silverFresh off of last week’s premiere, The Next Iron Chef acted as the perfect pre-show for last night’s Phillies win. Jose Garces came out of the gate strong last week and was looking to build on his impressive start in this week’s tests, simplicity and interpretation.

Test One-Simplicity

  • The chefs were given 45 minutes to create a family style, one-pot dish using a global cooking vessel.
  • Nate Appleman was given first choice ( Moroccan Tagine) due to last week’s win and the rest of the chefs had a free for all for their desired vessels. They ranged from Hot Pots (Roberto Trevino and Holly Smith) to a Couscoussiere (Jehangir Mehta).
  • Jose Garces chose a Paella Pan and served a simple Squid Ink, Clam, and Chorizo Paella.
  • The judges for this test were the other contestants and this time they chose both their favorite and least favorite dishes.
  • The favorite was the extremely simple and richly spicy Lobster Curry and Rice from Chef Mehta.
  • The least successful dish was Seamus Mullen’s Crispy Rice with Prawns cooked on a comal. The other chefs criticized the rice for being undercooked and the prawns for their grittiness.

Test Two- Interpretation

  • The next test was to create an interpretation of a classic Italian, Greek, or French dish.
  • Chef Mehta was given choice of his culture and went with Greek. He was given Spanakopita. Joining him cooking Greek dishes were Dominique Crenn (Moussaka), and Chef Trevino (Dolmas). The Italian dishes were covered by Brad Farmerie (Vitello Tonnato) , Chef Mullen (Pasta Puttanesca), and Jose Garces (Minestrone). The French were Holly Smith (Bouillabaisse), Amanda Freitag (Coq au Vin), and Chef Appleman (Ratatouille).
  • They only had one hour to create their dishes so it was very frantic in the kitchen trying to speed up the flavors that are essential in longer-cooking dishes like Coq au Vin and Mousakka. Chef Mehta was strategizing and took all the grape leaves, leaving Chef Trevino high and dry when it came to his Dolmas. He managed to get some in the end, but not before sweating it out, literally and figuratively.
  • Chef Garces’ interpretation of Minestrone consisted of a deconstruction of the Italian soup. He separated all of the ingredients, using various cooking methods such as confit and raw applications, and tied them all together with a broth that was poured at the table. Jeffrey Steingarten was impressed, claiming he would actually pay for the dish.
  • The winner of the challenge was Seamus Mullen. Chef Mullen took the flavors of Pasta Puttanesca and presented them in complete salad form, demonstrating the precise vision for this test.
  • Ultimately, Holly Smith was the chef sent packing this week. Her take on a Bouillabaisse lacked the savory, aromatic quality that defines the dish.


The Dominique Crenn subtitles snuck back into the middle of her sentences this week.

It was edited so that it appeared the chefs were given their second test immediately after their first. The editing was smooth, save for the fact that Nate Appleman appeared sans facial hair in the second scene.

Quote of the night-“Clearly, Garces is Spanish for ‘cool.’” – Alton Brown

Wonder how the chefs felt about being talked to like first graders by Donatella Arpaia?