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Compare & Contrast: Iron Chef America vs. Iron Chef Original Recipe

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Iron Chef Japan, no question. Better chefs (ICA's Morimoto is arguably superior to his ICJ incarnation due to his additional years of experience, but Sakai, Chen, and Michiba kick the ass of anyone on ICA except Morimoto or Batali), better commentators (Alton Brown's not bad, but Hattori runs his own cooking school), better set, and a MUCH better Chairman (the less said about Mark Decascos, the better).

Edited by Sir RaiderDuck OMS
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(the less said about Mark Decascos, the better).


I'm not sure I agree about that. As much as I loved it before it turned into themed keystone kops tagteam matches between people with well-placed parents + Morimoto and/or Symon, I never thought the american version was a particularly credible cooking competition. Steingarten was going to screw with everybody, but unless the challenger was a superstar in New York all his serious compliments went to the home team. Donatella and Karine Bakhoum were going to pretend the challenger's food was sending them to the hospital at least once, particularly if it was a woman. Little Lord Knowlton was always going to have something waspish to say about the crudity of the challenger's palette, Simon Majumdar just flat made flowery conceptual shit up, and of course the less said about Judy Joo the better. 


Out of all of them, the current chairman never made any bones about the fact that he was having trouble keeping a straight face. I've always kind of appreciated that about him. It was always big fun watching him and Mike Symon trying not to giggle.


I think original recipe was a way better show. It was actual food porn, and the chefs were doing the actual cooking, not waving a knife over a bunch of herbs before chucking them into a blender full of oil.

Edited by Julia
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Can someone just bring back the oriiginal Iron Chef?  For a while it was on Cooking Channel but I don't think it's shown anywhere now.  I especially liked it when they subtitled Kaga's part out of respect for his great voice.

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I've never really liked the idea of finding the Next Iron Chef reduced to being a reality competition show. I liked how Iron Chef Japan found chefs that specialized in different cuisines and had a considerable reputation within their field from decades of work, not thrown into stupid and unlikely situations and decided upon how good they were that day. Iron Chef America and the resulting Next Iron Chef took away the honor of the title of Iron Chef.

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I miss Iron Chef Original Recipe.  Far superior to Iron Chef America.  I always loved how on the original, they always had three Iron Chefs with distinct cuisines (and on special occasion, rising from the cellar accompanied by a cello, Iron Chef Italian).  My favourite was always Iron Chef French, Hiroyuki Sakai.  With Iron Chef America, except for Morimoto, all of the chefs cooking styles seemed to be either some form of vague "Modern American" or with Cat Cora and Michael Symon, vaguely "Mediterranean".

I also loved how original IC always seemed to break out the premium ingredients.  I learned what foie gras was from watching this show.  And I always got a kick out of the judges.  It was always seemingly some combination of politician, singer, ditzy excited actress, and the fortune teller lady.  The ditzy actress type always seemed to be the one to go "ooooooh.... fois gras!"

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Ackkkk..... pardon me for the spelling error.  Foie gras, of course.

Some other favourite comments, some variation of these were always said over and over:

"Mmmmmm..... it's so good."

"This dish reminds me of when I was a little girl."

"At first, when I saw it, I was afraid and didn't want to try it.  But now that I've tried it, I have to say, I really like it heeheehehehehe!"

"The flavor is quite complex, but not too powerful.  I think he did a good job, and that's what I have to say about that."

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I liked the specialties, too.  I also think that having so many iron chefs hurt ICA.  3-4 worked great for the original.  But at some point we had 7+.  Here's the full list, the last 2 are no longer iron chefs, but they overlapped with the first list at some point.  That's just too many, imo.

  1. Bobby Flay
  2. Marc Forgione
  3. Jose Garces
  4. Alex Guarnaschelli
  5. Masaharu Morimoto
  6. Michael Symon
  7. Geoffrey Zakarian
  • Mario Batalli
  • Cat Cora
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Aquarian, agreed that too many Iron Chefs spoil the brand.  Also, Wolfgang Puck was briefly an Iron Chef though I had to google it to make sure of that.  In that googling I saw the names of the challengers from the early seasons and that's part of the problem too -- there were some really amazing chefs competing against the Iron Chefs in the first few years.  It's impossible to maintain that level of competition forever.

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Was that what it was?  I turned it on mid show, and it was a IC Japanese who I had never seen.

I used to watch the subtitled ones in the 90's with my kids.  They started at 9:23pm on a very obscure Japanese language channel.  Frequently the station would end the show before it was over.  Good times!  It was Sakai, Chin, and Nakamura Koumei with occasional appearances by Kobe, the Italian chef.

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