Chatting With the Latest Next Iron Chef: Redemption Exile

By: Sarah De Heer


Rival Chef Jehangir Mehta and Rival Chef Nate Appleman "Shrimp" 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 five 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.

This week, the remaining rival chefs traveled to the culinary mecca of Las Vegas. Faced with a challenge of marrying culinary odd couples, Chef Jehangir Mehta was sent to the Secret Ingredient Showdown for his bone marrow and candy dish. While Chef Mehta certainly proved that he belonged in this competition, Sin City was the end of the road for him. He lost the culinary gamble of a lifetime after falling to Chef Appleman due to over-spiced shrimp.

Throughout the season and especially in the last episode, there was a focus on spices and your passion for them. What are three of your favorite spices?

JM: My food is all about spices. I love pairing them in ways people would not expect, as I believe they totally transform food. Although I love them all, fennel, turmeric and cumin would be my top three. Not only are they healthy, but they are also very versatile.

What one or two spices would you suggest to readers to start using which are possibly under-utilized?

JM: I would rank cumin and asafetida (this spice has a flavor reminiscent of leeks) as the most under-utilized spices.

It seemed that you specifically disagreed with Donatella’s comments this season. Was that true or just the way viewers saw it?

JM: I have great respect for Donatella and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Most of the time, I use the judges’ feedback as a learning experience. I am a creative person, however, and I take risks. I make food that makes most people happy.

You came to this competition to redeem yourself. Even though you didn’t win, you certainly had a great run with some delicious dishes. What was your most memorable moment of the season and what’s next for you?

JM: Yes, I wanted this bad, but I respect the judges’ decision. Just look out for me, for I will be back. I think I received redemption in the very first challenge this season because that’s what cost me the title in 2009. Currently, I’m waiting on the liquor license to open my third restaurant, Graffiti Me & You, which is all about a personalized experience. Bring us whatever you want and we will create an experience around it.

Of the remaining rival chefs, who do you consider a serious contender for the title?

JM: I think Chef Guarnaschelli has been strong all throughout the season and has a great shot at it, but I wish Chef Appleman all the best, too, as he is a wonderful chef.

Read more about Chef Jehangir Mehta

Relive the episode and take a look at an extended preview of next week’s episode below (click the play button):

Next Iron Chef Ep. 6: Recap
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