Meet the Season 5 Rival Chefs

Get to know the 10 chefs competing for the ultimate culinary title.

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Chef Elizabeth Falkner

Chef and owner of Krescendo restaurant in Brooklyn, N.Y., Elizabeth Falkner was the fifth rival eliminated from The Next Iron Chef: Redemption after an over-seasoned anchovies dish did her in.

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

Reflections on Redemption

Each rival was given a journal to use during the competition, and Chef Falkner filled hers with pump-up song lyrics, detailed to-do lists and quick drawings of her ideal plates.

Back to Black Garlic

In the first Chairman's Challenge, Chef Falkner had the opportunity to redeem herself with black garlic, the ingredient that sent her home from Super Chefs last season. She featured the pungent garlic in a barbecue sauce atop duck and a butter with cornbread, both dishes that the judges loved.

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

Plans Foiled

Before the Chairman's Challenge of Innovation, Chef Falkner made a step-by-step list of how she would prepare her banh mi-inspired ravioli and the time she needed to complete each process. What she didn't account for, however, was a finicky pressure cooker that wouldn't open, so she was forced to change her pasta plan from ravioli to thick-cut noodles and use the would-be filling as a sauce.

Sizing Up the Showdown

Although Chef Falkner was sent to the Showdown on account of the banh mi pasta that judge Simon called "a bit of a mess," she maintained that "it was a beautiful, innovative pasta dish." Looking ahead at the three-way battle she'd face against Chefs Estes and Freitag, she noted, "This is not remotely where I want to be or where I want either of the other two chefs to be!!"

Falkner Joins the Fight

Despite the stress of their head-to-head-to-head Showdown, Chefs Falkner, Estes and Freitag indulged in a well-meaning food fight, the first to be held on The Next Iron Chef, before presenting their white bread-inspired dishes to the judges.

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

Picturing Pizza

While at the Los Angeles Farmers Market, Chef Falkner was photographed by Todd Selby in her food element: a pizzeria. Her brand-new New York restaurant, Krescendo, specializes in freshly made pizza pies.

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

Personal Pep Talk

Chef Falkner penned feel-good notes to herself and inspirational song lyrics to keep up her focus and motivation during the competition.

Dessert Queen

A renowned pastry chef, Chef Falkner wowed the judges in Battle Breakfast Cereal with this over-the-top dessert made with Kellogg's Rice Krispies and Raisin Bran. Alton told her that it was "one of the best dishes any of us have ever consumed."

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

Better Roast Beef

A can of preserved roast beef couldn't stop Chef Falkner from bringing her A-game. She turned this less-than-desirable product into a top-notch dish that Simon said "would have been acceptable in any starred Parisian kitchen."

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

Winning Strategy

For Chef Falkner, transformation can be achieved "in four steps." The process she'd take to complete this Chairman's Challenge with canned roast beef was successful — the judges named her dish the best of the day.

Not Sold on Scales

In an effort to make the best use of her auction ingredient, paiche, Chef Falkner deep-fried the fish's large scales and dusted them with paprika. This supposedly clever idea, however, turned out to be her undoing, as Iron Chef Zakarian called them "a mistake."

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

Friendly Reminders

Before competing in what would be her final battle, Chef Falkner jotted simple phrases and one-word reminders like "laser focus," "open mind" and "breathe" to help her stay concentrated on the Showdown.

Imagining Anchovies

A quick sketch of her ideal Showdown plate helped Chef Falkner visualize what she wanted her finished dish to look like.

Death by Saffron

The judges complimented Chef Falkner's stellar display of anchovies, but they couldn't look past her over-use of saffron in the fregola. After an impressive five-week run in the competition, Chef Falkner fell to Chef Appleman in the most-emotional elimination so far. Reflecting on the road to redemption, Chef Falkner said, "I know you can't win every game, but I really thought I could."

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