This Sunday, the battle for “The Next Iron Chef” begins. Ten “super chefs” will compete on this eight-episode series to join Bobby Flay, Michael Symon, Masaharu Morimoto and Marc Forgione on the Iron Chef America team.
The show, in its fourth season, will be hosted by Alton Brown. The ten chefs competing are names you’ll recognize. They include Alex Guarnaschelli, Anne Burrell, Michael Chiarello, Elizabeth Faulkner, Chuck Hughes, Robert Irvine, Beau MacMillan, Spike Mendelsohn, Marcus Samuelsson and Geoffrey Zakarian
I spoke with Alex Guarnaschelli, judge on “Chopped” and executive chef at Butter Restaurant in New York City, about her participation on the show.
What made you decide to compete on “The Next Iron Chef?”
I’ve been a judge on “Chopped” and I’ve loved “Iron Chef” all through my career. It seemed like a logical thing.
Did you do anything to prepare for the show?
I cooked a lot. I’m always cooking in my restaurant, but I cooked a lot of my favorite ingredients to keep me grounded in who I am as a chef.
Were you nervous about competing on the show?
Of course. I was sweating bullets the whole time.
You’ve been on the judging side of the table on both “Iron Chef America” and on “Chopped.” How did it feel to switch sides?
Fun. All fun. It’s a game. Being a judge informs you as a competitor and vice versa. You have to put your money where your mouth is.
What was the spirit of the competition? Was it highly competitive?
We all know each other. We’ve been through a lot together. We had a tacit understanding that we wouldn’t give each other a hard time.
What are your culinary strengths and weaknesses?
I second guess myself. I get very nervous. That would be my weakness. My strength: I’ve been cooking a long time. I’ve spent my career researching and developing ingredients.
What would it mean to you to win “The Next Iron Chef?”
It’s the culinary Olympics. It would be nice to get a gold medal.
Have you ever considered other shows like “Top Chef Masters?”
Offers come your way. I’m not ruling anything out.
“The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs” premieres this Sunday at 9 p.m. EST on Food Network.
–by Jenny Turknett, Food and More blog