Chatting With the Latest Next Iron Chef: Redemption Exile

By: Sarah De Heer
Chef Falkner and Chef Greenspan


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 now only eight familiar chefs battling it out again to prove 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.

He may be one of Simon Majumdar’s favorite chefs, but this week Eric Greenspan couldn’t “out-conceptualize” the other chefs after an under-deviled egg sent him to the Secret Ingredient Showdown.

Your grilled cheese and critter fritters were one of the top three dishes in the premiere episode. In your expert opinion, what’s the best cheese combo in a grilled cheese?

EG: There is no better cheese and bread combo than the Taleggio and raisin bread combo in my restaurant, The Foundry on Melrose. There are, however, some upcoming contenders for best combo coming up at Greenspan's Grilled Cheese.

In this last episode, Simon Majumdar said you were one of his favorite chefs in this competition. How did that make you feel? Do you have a favorite judge?

EG: It’s always great hearing that you’re appreciated. I’ve been a fan of Simon's work for many years and truly respect his opinion, even if I don’t always agree. I have tons of respect for all the judges on the show — I don’t envy what they have to do. Cooking is so subjective that it’s got to be difficult to remain qualitative with one's comments.

Alton said you were out-cooked in the Secret Ingredient Showdown and it seemed to rub you the wrong way. You considered yourself out-conceptualized instead. What did Chefs Vigneron, Falkner and Mehta think of that you didn’t?

EG: It’s not that I missed something versus the other chefs. My point was it was merely subjective. The decision was based on taste and, frankly, I thought my dish was well-balanced and the flavors spoke to what I find delicious based on past experience and my own palette. I know I wasn’t out-cooked, however. I was faster than any of the other competitors and my food was executed perfectly. Most importantly, I put on the plate exactly what I meant to. If they didn’t like the direction I took, so be it. Maybe they like a standard meringue or a soggy crab cake — it’s their call. But to say I got out-cooked was a stretch.

You certainly seemed to bring comedic relief during some intense moments. Were you the comedian of the bunch?

EG: I think I’m the comedic relief wherever I go! I imagine some would say I was the comedian, while others were probably just annoyed. It depends on how seriously you take yourself. It’s cooking, you know?

You initially told Food Network that your Achilles’ heel ingredient was grasshoppers. Now that you’ve conquered that successfully, what’s your new Achilles’ heel ingredient?

EG: I guess it’s safe to say breakfast cereals are my new Achilles’ heel.

Your signature party or potluck dish to make at home for friends is pancake lasagna. Can you tell us more about it and do you have a recipe you can share with our readers? It sounds delicious!

EG: The pancake lasagna is my breakfast triumph. It’s actually going to be featured on The Best Thing I Ever Made later this winter, so tune in to that for more, including the recipe.