Chatting With the Latest Next Iron Chef: Redemption Exile

By: Sarah De Heer
Chef Duskie Estes and Chef Elizabeth Falkner


Rival Chef Amanda Freitag hugs fellow safe Rival Chef Elizabeth Falkner after the for the "White Bread" as seen on Food Network's Season 5.

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

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

The fifth season of The Next Iron Chef: Redemption is in full swing with 10 familiar chefs battling it out again, proving they’ve got the skills to win the ultimate prize: the title of Iron Chef.

Each chef will try to pull out all their tricks to stay in the competition but, ultimately, one chef must go home each week. Every Sunday, FN Dish brings you exclusive exit interviews with the latest chef to go home.

Web series winner Duskie Estes was the second chef to say goodbye, but she fought to the very end with a successful dish in Battle: White Bread. She was only slightly edged out by Chefs Freitag and Falkner.

What tips did you take with you from winning your initial challenges on the Web series to the The Next Iron Chef: Redemption?

DE: Surprises can happen. Just cook with perfect execution and taste.

Which Web challenge did you find more difficult: Your battle against Chef Trevino or Chef Wong? Why?

DE: Both were tough. I did not know how to open the coconut, other than smashing it on the floor, and thought Food Network would not like that so much. For the potatoes, a half hour to cook potatoes perfectly is tight. It takes strategy in your dish conception.

What was your experience like joining the cast after you won the Web series?

DE: I had the most fun I've had in a long time in my food fight with Chefs Freitag and Falkner and our Charlie's Angels shenanigans during judgment. I hope Chef Freitag, Chef Falkner and I can figure out a way to play again.

If you were given the choice, what international comfort food would you have picked: banh mi, taco or falafel? Why?

DE: I was actually really happy I was Team Taco because I grew up in California, so I was comfortable with it.

You recently told Food Network that your signature party dish to make at home for friends is a BLT with your bacon and some Tabasco sauce. We saw you make Bacon, Eggs and Toast during the Showdown, too. You clearly have a love for pork, so tell us about it. When did your passion for pork begin?

DE: I was a vegetarian for more than half my life. Pork was responsible for the leap. My husband makes incredible bacon and salumi. When we came together, we agreed all our pigs would be raised on pasture (a great life and only one bad day). We now raise pigs and even have one that lives in our house. I love pigs and pork is the most luscious and versatile of meats. We like rabbit, too.

Two weeks into the competition, which chef do you consider the chef to beat in this competition?

DE: It could be anyone. It just depends on who has a worse day. All of the chefs amaze. If I weren’t voting for myself, I want one of the women to win for sure. It’s time.