The competition kicks off with Alton Brown's Chairman's Challenge that forces the seven chefs to show their resourcefulness by using a single protein in as many ways as possible. When one chef takes too many risks and another isn't risky enough, one of them ends up in the bottom. Then, things get real when two chefs fight to avoid elimination in a fishy first Secret Ingredient Showdown, and judges Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian and Ching-He Huang send one chef packing.
The six remaining chefs are breaking bread together as they're tasked with crafting an innovative sandwich in the Chairman's Challenge. An underdog impresses the other chefs, and the winner of the challenge hones their strategy by pitting two front-runners against each other in a Secret Ingredient Showdown featuring a colorful root vegetable. Their dishes are presented to judges Iron Chef Marc Forgione and Judy Joo, and one chef is sent home.
The five chefs must prove their versatility as they take on the Chairman's Challenge to create a dish that epitomizes the cuisine of one of five countries: Thailand, India, Spain, Greece or Japan. It's clear that no one is safe when a previous week's winner lands on the bottom. Then, the competition is neck and neck when two chefs face a particularly tough Secret Ingredient Showdown featuring a game meat, and judges Iron Chef Jose Garces and Anne Burrell send one chef home.
The final four chefs are tasked with showing their ingenuity by creating an inventive breakfast for the Chairman's Challenge. One chef reimagines steak and eggs with a modern Asian twist, while another competitor might not have made their dish ingenious enough. Then it's on to a Secret Ingredient Showdown with shellfish, where a solid contender must go up against one of the most creative chefs in the competition. Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli and Simon Majumdar judge their dishes and decide which chef gets eliminated.