Super Chef Journals: Elizabeth Falkner

Get an inside look at the top-secret journal of the Next Iron Chef runner-up, Elizabeth Falkner.

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.

The Runner-Up

Elizabeth Falkner, chef-owner of Citizen Cake and Orson in San Francisco, made it all the way to the Kitchen Stadium finale and lost a close one to Chef Zakarian.

Next Iron Chef Journals

Each Super Chef was given a red journal at the start of the competition to use for challenge-planning and reflection. Chef Falkner filled dozens of pages with notes, thoughts and a handful of sketches that show off her artistic side.

Pantry Prowl

On day one, Chef Falkner checked out the Next Iron Chef kitchen's pantry to see what she was working with. She made a short list of ingredients she couldn't live without, including chocolate, butter, olive oil and eggs.

Will to Win

Although less of a "celebrity" than many of her rival chefs, Chef Falkner was determined the whole way through and let her cooking speak for itself.

Day One: Heat and Meat

The very first challenge took the chefs out of the kitchen and into the wilderness, where Chef Falkner was paired with Chef Guarnaschelli to build a fire and cook suckling pig.

All About Pork

Chef Falkner sketched their two pork dishes in her journal. They ended up serving up one hit and one miss.

Safe

Chefs Falkner and Guarnaschelli tried to use as many parts of the pig as possible in this Spare Parts in the Wilderness dish. They used kidney, ear, tongue and jowl. The judges loved it and it ended up sparing them from the Secret Ingredient Showdown.

Watching in the Wings

Watching Chef Samuelsson and Chef Spike face off in the first Secret Ingredient Showdown, Chef Falkner scribbled down what she would have made with scallops.

At the Ballgame

The next challenge brought the chefs to San Diego's Petco Park, where they were asked to transform classic ballpark fare. Chef Falkner used her pastry skills to make blue cheese ice cream for a cheesesteak.

Ballpark Plans

Chef Falkner also made a modernized corn dog and plated up the two dishes side-by-side. The judges were impressed with her transformed dishes and she lived to cook another day.

Finished Plate

The corn dog and cheesesteak plate looked a lot like Chef Falkner's journal sketch.

Pep Talk

Midseason, Chef Falkner wrote down a few words of inspiration to keep going strong.

Malt Balls at the Movies

The movie snack challenge was a chance for Chef Falkner to rise to the occasion. "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 always wrote notes for her dish presentations in her journal. This time, 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."

Advantage: Falkner

Chef Falkner continued cooking strong and won another Chairman's Challenge along the way. She arrived in the Hamptons as the reigning winner, so had an advantage of 15 extra minutes and an extra $50 in the seafood challenge.

Seafood Strategy

The chefs were asked to prepare a three-course seafood tasting, and Chef Falkner was full of ideas inspired by the beautiful Long Island coast. She wrote out a detailed prep list in her journal to stay organized, since she had to prepare 20 plates.

Ready for Service

Chef Falkner served Clam Chowder Vichyssoise, Smoked Scallop on Corn Puree and East Coast Cioppino. Simon Majumdar licked his soup bowl clean: "No comment. That tells you everything you need to know about that," he said.

Passion on the Plate

Once again, Chef Falkner scrawled some notes for her presentation to the judges. She highlighted the passions that she channeled into this dish. First and foremost, "I am passionate about cooking."

Final Two

Chef Falkner ended up in the middle with Chef Chiarello and beat him out in a Secret Ingredient Showdown to secure her spot alongside Chef Zakarian in the Kitchen Stadium finale.

Ready to Win

"I think everyone thought Chef Falkner was an outsider. I believe I'm going to win this and that I am the Next Iron Chef. Whatever the Chairman wants to throw at us, I am ready for it," said Chef Falkner as she readied herself for her biggest test yet.

Holiday Battle

The final battle offered Chef Zakarian and Chef Falkner not just one secret ingredient, but a buffet of holiday favorites to cook with. Chef Falkner cooked her heart out: "Her food is extremely exciting and surprising. She wins in originality," said Judy Joo.

So Close

When Chef Falkner saw Chef Zakarian's image revealed as the winner, she was disappointed but gracious. "I'm happy for him, but I wanted it so badly. I learned a lot about myself and I made a lot of great friends. I wouldn't change anything — except that it would be Iron Chef Falkner."

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