Season 5 Rival Chefs

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

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Barbecue King

Texas chef and restaurateur Tim Love brought his A-game to the Next Iron Chef competition, but it was simply not enough. After serving the judges a disappointing kale salad, Chef Love battled Chef Spike Mendelsohn in the Secret Ingredient Showdown for the chance to cook another day, but he was ultimately eliminated after just one round.

Photo By: Kevin Lynch ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Redemption Kale

In a test of Resourcefulness, Chef Love let his redemption ingredient, kale, speak for itself, serving a largely no-cook kale salad with Manchego cheese and fresh apples. "I wanted to cook more, but there was no purpose," he reflected.

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

Lesson in Simplicity

At the judges' table, Chef Love's salad was met with less-than-enthusiastic comments. Although the rival had "wanted the focus to be on the kale," his approach didn't impress the panel. Iron Chef Zakarian warned, "Simplicity is one of the most difficult things to achieve."

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

Not Good News

For Chef Love, the news that he was one of the bottom-four chefs of the challenge didn't sit well with him. "I've got some anger happening," he said. "I was very surprised to be standing there with those three other chefs."

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

To the Showdown

After pardoning Chefs Vigneron and Estes, Alton revealed that it was Chef Love and Chef Mendelsohn who would battle it out in the first Secret Ingredient Showdown of the season. Their Secret Ingredient? Pineapple, "the Death Fruit," Alton told them.

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

Cook-Off Rookie

While Chef Mendelsohn competed in last season's premiere Showdown, Chef Love was new to this late-game cook-off. "Chef Spike is young and he's talented, and he's also been in this position before," Chef Love said. "I felt like he had a little bit of an advantage."

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

Master of Meat

Well known for his propensity to cook with any and all animals, Chef Love immediately picked up two quails and broke them down for a quick pan sear.

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

Juice Machine Madness

To pair with the quail, Chef Love opted for pickled pineapple and a corn milk, made by juicing freshly shucked corn kernels. In a last-ditch effort to redeem kale, Chef Love also fried the leafy green and served it with sliced chiles.

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

Praises for Pickling

The judges were pleasantly surprised by Chef Love's preparation of the pineapple. In a Kitchen Stadium first, he pickled the fruit and gave the panel something they had never before tasted.

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

The Moment of Truth

"You just don't know where you're going to fall," Chef Love said, and after his head-to-head battle with Chef Mendelsohn, he ended up falling short. Ultimately Chef Mendelsohn outcooked Chef Love with a sweet-and-sour branzino, and Chef Love was told that he would not be The Next Iron Chef.

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

Chef Love's Early Exit

"I absolutely thought I had won," Chef Love reflected after the competition. Although his time on The Next Iron Chef was short-lived, his fellow chefs had only the utmost respect for him, calling him "a formidable talent" and "a master."

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