Culinary Odd Couple Ups and Downs — Critical Moments
Creating coherent dishes out of unlikely ingredients can be one of the biggest tests of any chef’s skill. Asking them to do so with the marriage-made-in-hell offerings paired by Alton Brown was the perfect challenge to determine which of the five remaining competitors really did have what it takes to become the Next Iron Chef.
Chef Freitag’s ability to combine calamari and marshmallows so splendidly was as brilliant as it was unlikely and meant she unanimously earned her second win of the competition. Chef Vigneron’s creation of blue cheese ice cream with peanut butter brittle was a close second and proved beyond a doubt that he had become a very serious challenger for the title.
Chef Guarnaschelli’s insistence on playing it safe could have seen her relegated to her first Secret Ingredient Showdown. She was saved by Chef Appleman’s undercooked pasta in an oil-slick sauce, however, and Chef Mehta’s preparation of bone marrow did little to hide his contempt for the candy element of his pairing.
Although I am certain both chefs were delighted to see such a beautiful array of shrimp for the Showdown, neither produced a dish that will linger in my memory. I did not experience the issues with spicing that Iron Chef Zakarian found on Chef Mehta’s plate, but I did think that it was a very disjointed dish.
The fact that Chef Appleman’s pancake was dense and chewy would have made our final decision a much closer call, but he was saved by a last-minute inclusion of a grilled shrimp head that delivered a final burst of flavor. He will have to do better if he wants to progress to Kitchen Stadium, but it was enough to keep him safe for now, and that meant that Chef Mehta was the latest chef to hear the words, “I’m sorry, but you will not be The Next Iron Chef.”
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Relive the episode and take a look at an extended preview of next week’s episode below (click the play button):