Behind the Scenes of the Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs, Episode 3

Get a closer look at the challenges faced by a lineup of Super Chefs on this season of The Next Iron Chef on Food Network
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Photo By: Arturo Lorenzo/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Arturo Lorenzo/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©¬ 2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Arturo Lorenzo/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

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Photo By: Edward Chen / Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Chef Hughes Takes a Bow

Chef Chuck Hughes presented a tasty bite of tofu in the Secret Ingredient Showdown, but it wasn't enough to carry him through episode 3. "The judges have said since the very beginning of the competition that your food made them happy," Alton said, "but today, joy turned to confusion."

Movie Snacks

The Super Chefs met Alton at L.A.'s iconic Orpheum Theater and knew they were in for it when he pulled away the red curtain to reveal movie theater concessions. "The Chairman is getting very evil," said Chef Zakarian.

Collect Your Candy

The chefs were challenged to take a concession snack — from gummy candy to popcorn to malted milk balls — and make it the star of two dishes, one sweet, one savory. Here, they rush to collect their assignments.

Great Expectations

"Everyone looks at me and thinks, you're a pastry chef, you know what to do," said Chef Falkner. "But I don't use candy in my cooking!" Still, she had some ingenious ideas for what to do with her malted milk balls.

Sweet and Savory Success

Chef Falkner presented Malted Milk Fish & Chips and a Malted Crunch Cake. Both were unanimous hits: "I don't like malt balls and I'm not a huge fan of dessert, and I could have eaten a whole tub of this," said Chef Symon. "This is how you cook if you want to win Next Iron Chef."

First Foodgasm

Chef Falkner took the win, and her highest praise came from judge Judy Joo: "You graced me with my very first foodgasm of the competition. I hope you're thrilled, because I am."

Seeking Ingenuity

"This is the perfect test for an Iron Chef," said Chef Hughes, who cooked with popcorn. "How can you do something that's going to take this to the next level? I'm trying to use the ingredient in as many ways as possible."

Popcorn Problems

The judges picked apart Chef Hughes' "Popcorn" Shrimp and Vanilla Popcorn Pudding: "It was a bit of a train wreck," said Simon Majumdar. "You tried to do too much," said Michael Symon. Chef Hughes landed in the bottom two.

"Culinary Nightmare"

The judges admitted that Chef MacMillan's assignment of sour sugar candy was "a culinary nightmare." Still, avoiding the candy entirely in his dishes landed Chef MacMillan in the Secret Ingredient Showdown with Chef Hughes.

Hidden Ingredient

Chef MacMillan was chastised for not using his sour candies at all in this Sweet and Sour Snapper Ceviche. You only used the candy in garnish. The garnish is never the showpiece of the dish," said Judy Joo.

Hughes vs. MacMillan

"I rise to the challenge," said Chef MacMillan. "Put me in a room with the secret ingredient and someone else, and it's go time. Everything you have is on the line."

Battle Tofu

Alton revealed the secret ingredient: multiple kinds of tofu, which caused Chef Hughes further anxiety. "It's something I never work with. It's something I go out of my way not to eat!"

Mano a Mano

Despite his fear of tofu, Chef Hughes dove right into preparing it: "This battle is win or lose, mano a mano. I just need to be better than Chef MacMillan. I'm fighting for my life right now."

Chef Hughes' Dish

"I'm going to go with what the judges have been telling me from day one and go simple. I call it a one-bite wonder," said Chef Hughes. He served Crispy Silken Tofu with white radish, fresh wasabi and soy-ginger dipping sauce.

Tofu Experience

Chef MacMillan was much more comfortable with the secret ingredient at hand: "I've worked with it; there are many different ways to use it. It adapts well to an abundance of flavors."

Risk Worth Taking

Chef MacMillan took a risk with his Trilogy of Tofu — as all the chefs know, presenting more than one dish makes you more vulnerable. But his risk paid off: "This tasted like someone who had been to Asia and really understood Asia," said Simon Majumdar.

Still Smiling

In the end, it was Chef Hughes who heard those parting words from Alton: "You will not be the Next Iron Chef." As always, he greeted his competitors with a smile and a laugh. "What we want to see is your food at Garde Manger in Montreal," said Chef Chiarello. Chef Hughes' response: "If you guys can get a reservation, no problem!"

Super Chef Highlights: Advantage, Guarnaschelli

As the winner of the last Chairman's Challenge, Chef Guarnaschelli got to pick her concession first, then assign the rest to her competitors. She picked chocolate-covered raisins, but thanks to an overturned ice cream, they ended up landing her in the bottom three.

Chef Burrell Shines

Chef Guarnaschelli handed Chef Burrell one of the least offensive concession foods: root beer. "Root beer is one of my mom's favorite things to drink, so this one's for you, Mom. Hopefully she'll bring me luck," Chef Burrell said.

Root Beer Dishes

Chef Burrell hoped her Quail and Chicken Livers in Root Beer Agrodolce and Root Beer Chocolate Cake would get her "out of Averageville." They sure did: "Look out. Chef Burrell is starting to get comfortable here," said Michael Symon.

Cinnamon Composer

Chef Zakarian impressed the judges with his ability to make something delicious out of spicy cinnamon candies: "It's like asking Mozart to play a kazoo in a marching band. Boy can you play a kazoo, because it's fantastic," raved Simon Majumdar.

Cinnamon Candy Dishes

Chef Zakarian served Cinnamon Candy Orange Oeuf a la Neige and Cinnamon Candy Chicken with a ginger, rosemary and sherry wine glaze.

Reigning It In

Chef Samuelsson followed the judges' advice from last week's evaluation and only made the required two dishes this time.

Chocolate-Covered Caramel Dishes

The judges had some mixed reviews for Chef Samuelsson's Chocolate Caramel Glazed Duck and Chocolate Caramel Cake, but he landed solidly in the middle of the pack.

Tough Break

Chef Chiarello got stuck with another tough ingredient. "Nothing says rustic Italian like gummy candy," joked Michael Symon.

Gummy Candy Dishes

Chef Chiarello served up a hit and a miss. The judges loved his Grilled Gummy and Rosemary Marinated Lamb Chops, but not so much his Gummy Candy Panna Cotta. Simon Majumdar didn't mince words about this dessert: "It was like a funeral in my mouth."

Mugging for the Camera

Despite the high anxiety level before their Secret Ingredient Showdown, Chef MacMillan and Chef Hughes had some fun with the camera.

Seven Remain

The remaining seven chefs celebrate, but they know it only gets tougher from here. Who's your favorite Super Chef so far? Vote up to 10 times per day in the Next Iron Chef Fan Vote.

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