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Alex Guarnaschelli on competing to be the next Iron Chef

Alex Guarnaschelli, courtesy of Food Network

Alex Guarnaschelli, courtesy of Food Network

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

17 comments Add your comment

carla roqs

October 28th, 2011
1:15 pm

i do not like the constantly nick-picking rulings that she makes when she judges. i thought she’d learned her lesson when she competed on iron chef as a guest and realized it was above her skills. i love the next ic show and will watch it. there are some amazing cooks that have shown grace under fire as both judges and as competitors on various food network and bravo shows.

Edward

October 28th, 2011
1:41 pm

Looking forward to seeing Anne Burrell, Elizabeth Faulkner, and Robert Irvine. The rest are “eh”.

jimmy

October 28th, 2011
1:46 pm

William

October 28th, 2011
2:01 pm

What happened to Cat Cora?

Billie

October 28th, 2011
3:42 pm

Alex is one of my favorite Chopped judges, along with Aaron Sanchez and Jeffrey Zakarian. Good luck, Alex!

Billie

October 28th, 2011
3:43 pm

And good luck, Geoffrey! (Sorry I misspelled your name!)

Jack Jackson

October 28th, 2011
7:33 pm

@Edward Anne Burrell is a no talent hack………………..

teachAManToFish

October 29th, 2011
8:44 am

Cat Cora couldn’t beat anyone on Iron Chef.

Alex

October 30th, 2011
12:24 pm

Being a fan of Iron Chef and Chopped, I have to say that Chopped is a much more difficult show for the competitors. I respect Alex and her abilities, but I wish she would just smile a bit more and have more personality. Just look at her one sentence responses Jenny’s questions and tells you all you have to know about how cold she comes off.

1164mgc

October 30th, 2011
12:26 pm

It’ll be nice to see her on the other end of the judging table. Maybe she’ll tone down her criticisms in the future. That being said, I like her and hope she does well on the show. If Cat Cora IS gone for good now, I’m sure they’ll be looking for another female.

carla roqs

October 31st, 2011
8:19 am

cat cora generally always beat her competitors. the opening is not for another female top chef (or maybe it is–) but it is for the best of the best. i like the upcoming competition because there are some major hitters in it.

Edward

October 31st, 2011
10:31 am

I would love to see the tables turned on Chopped… have Alex, Geoffrey, Aaron, and Marcus Samuelsson compete in that competition.

ABC

October 31st, 2011
11:48 am

Aaron, Marcus, and I think also Geoffrey HAVE competed in the Chopped All Stars competition. Aaron made it all the way to the end of the end (dessert round of the last round of previous winners), but lost.

1164mgc

October 31st, 2011
1:01 pm

Aaron was on Next Iron Chef as a competitor already, wasn’t he?

Edward

October 31st, 2011
2:23 pm

Thanks ABC, I will have to look for that episode, I missed it!

carla roqs

November 1st, 2011
8:27 am

and i want to say that marcus won a top chefs masters comp. a’ron and geoffrey have been on chopped all stars or something. and i think aaron lost to a guy whose son had cancer–ar’on (not sure of the spelling) can cook his butt off. and so can marcus.

Edward

November 1st, 2011
11:16 am

I never questioned their abilities, I simply expressed a desire to see them in action.