Next Iron Chef: Inside the Rivals' Journals, Episode 2

Peek inside an eliminated chef's top-secret journal from The Next Iron Chef Season 3.

Photo By: Leanna Creel ©Leanna Creel Inc.

Photo By: brad swonetz ©brad swonetz photography

Photo By: Leanna Creel ©Leanna Creel Inc.

Photo By: Leanna Creel ©Leanna Creel Inc.

Photo By: Leanna Creel ©Leanna Creel Inc.

Photo By: Leanna Creel ©Leanna Creel Inc.

Photo By: Leanna Creel ©Leanna Creel Inc.

The Next Iron Chef Journals

Upon arrival on set in Los Angeles, each rival received a red journal to use for dish planning and reflection.

Two Weeks In

Mario Pagan, one of Puerto Rico's top chefs, was the second rival eliminated. The first several pages of his journal are filled with notes and sketches from the four challenges he faced.

Sandwich Stumble

For the very first challenge, Chef Pagan's journal reveals that he initially planned to make a lamb sausage sandwich. It may have fared better than the chorizo baguette he ultimately prepared.

Where's the Meat?

Chef Pagan ended up going with Pain Tostado on Baguette With Chorizo, Onions, Manchego Cheese and Tomato. The judges — fellow rivals — voted it their least-favorite sandwich.

Chef Pagan, Ready to Battle

"I want to become an Iron Chef because I want to expose Puerto Rican modern cuisine."


While many other chefs had named proteins as the ingredient they couldn't live without on a desert island, Chef Pagan had the added challenge of creating a dish around limes.

Chef — and Artist?

Chef Pagan's sketching skills are impressive; his final desert island dish closely mirrors this quick drawing.

Island Inspiration

Chef Pagan's desert island dish: Santa Barbara Prawn Ceviche in Lime-Coconut Milk-Mint-Cilantro Mojo Over a Pan-Seared Ripe Plantain With Papaya-Lime-Honey Relish.

Envisioning Breakfast

In the coffee-and-doughnuts breakfast challenge, Chef Pagan knew he wanted a sweet-savory combo. He sketched a plan for a sweet filled doughnut alongside a savory doughnut "tapa."

Layers of Flavor

A closer look at the doughnut "tapa": Pagan topped a doughnut base with ricotta, pine nuts and sage.

Final Plan

Chef Pagan maps out his two coffee-and-doughnut dishes and even the long rectangular plate he will use to present them.

Sweet-and-Savory Doughnuts

Alongside the doughnut "tapa," Chef Pagan presented an oatmeal-and-peanut-crusted fried doughnut filled with banana. His feedback was more positive this week: "Love the double-deep-fry. Naughty." — Chef Estes

Planning Ahead

Chef Pagan wrote out some favorite dishes he hoped to make at some point during the competition.

Diner Innovation

To put his own spin on diner-style meatloaf and mashed potatoes, Chef Pagan aimed to accent the dish with island flavors.

Meatloaf Miss

The dish that ultimately sent Chef Pagan home: Pork Belly Meatloaf With a Tropical Twist With Red Potatoes, Caramelized Fennel, Shallots and Crispy Bacon, and a Red Wine Mango Caramelized Fig and Grape Reduction.

Fond Farewell

"I guess it wasn't my day. You can say you're the best chef in your kitchen, but here it's a whole different ball game." — Chef Pagan

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