When Third Best Is Not Good Enough — Critical Moments

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EPISODE2_INNOVATION

EPISODE2_INNOVATION

Rival Chef Amanda Freitag hugs fellow safe Rival Chef Elizabeth Falkner after the for the "White Bread" as seen on Food Network's Season 5.

Photo by: Eddy Chen/Creel Films ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Eddy Chen/Creel Films, 2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

This episode of The Next Iron Chef was particularly heartbreaking for me as I saw one of my favorite chefs in the whole country be eliminated. What made it worse was that Chef Greenspan found himself in the Secret Ingredient Showdown, not because he had cooked badly, but because his opponent in the “Simplicity” challenge, Chef Appleman, cooked just a hair’s breadth better.

After a visit to Farmers Market in Los Angeles, the Chairman’s demand was for each chef to sum up the personality of their opponent in a single bite based on an image taken by famed photographer Todd Selby.

Some were more successful than others. We all agreed, however, that Chef Freitag’s use of anchovies to represent “misunderstood” Chef Falkner made her our clear winner. Chef Mehta’s soggy attempt to represent Chef Mendelsohn was universally considered a flop and consigned him to the bottom of the pile. There he was joined by Chef Vigneron, who lost out by a whisper in his head-to-head with Chef Guarnaschelli.

The fact that Chef Greenspan cooked the judge’s third-best dish of the day would normally have been enough to see him survive to cook another day. Unfortunately for him, Chef Appleman’s luxurious bite was our second best of the day and Chef Greenspan found himself standing next to Chefs Falkner, Mehta and Vigneron as they pondered how to impress the judges with cereal.

Chef Falkner’s skill in creating memorable desserts helped her win, which was hardly a surprise, and Chef’s Mehta and Vigneron produced dishes that, while flawed, were still good enough to keep them in the competition. In the end, it was Chef Greenspan’s poor decision to use tuna as his protein that caused him to hear these words from our host: “I am sorry, but you will not be the Next Iron Chef.”

What did you think of the episode? Tell me in the comments below.

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