Tour the Iron Chef Gauntlet Kitchen
Peek inside the culinary arena in which the challengers will face off for the chance to run the gauntlet against three storied Iron Chefs and potentially earn the coveted title for themselves.
Photo By: Eddy Chen
Photo By: Eddy Chen
A Storied Scene
Dark and ominous, this kitchen is where seven hopeful rivals will come together for the chance to earn the most-coveted title in the culinary industry.
The competitors will make their way into the arena through this hallowed hallway at the back of the kitchen.
Though most of the kitchen is up for grabs and includes many shared electrics, each challenger will enjoy the freedom to work at his or her own prep station, which boasts a professional-grade range, an oven and plenty of counter space.
Multiple cameras line the kitchen as the crew works to capture each element of the action of competition.
With the help of these movable tablets, Alton can enjoy an up-close look at what is happening at each chef's workstation. They feed him the same shots seen from each of the cameras on set.
A Plentiful Pantry
With the freshest goods, the sharpest knives and the most-advanced equipment on the market, the Iron Chef Gauntlet kitchen is outfitted with everything challengers will need to execute dishes worthy of the judges.
A Garden of Goods
Fresh cauliflower, crisp celery and a bounty of herbs line the shelves of this deep two-door refrigerator.
Colorful and full of flavor, the bounty of produce on set includes a hefty amount of fruits and vegetables. "Two pallets of boxes ... come in every other day," the supervising producer told us. In addition to six kinds of potatoes, fresh artichokes, and both red and yellow onions, there are also plenty of peppers — both sweet and hot — and an array of squash.
Dry Goods Galore
See the panko breadcrumbs and spaghetti in the containers? Those are just a few of the dry goods that await the challengers. They also have access to farro, bulgur, couscous and four kinds of rice, among other items.
Black vinegar, fish sauce and coconut cream make up a well-stocked corner of the pantry that offers challengers an array of Asian-inspired goods.
More than two dozen spices, including such favorites as dried thyme and ground cinnamon, as well as specialty items like fennel pollen, line the shelves of the pantry.
Building Blocks of Flavor
No fewer than eight varieties of nuts are up for grabs, while seven types of vinegar, including sherry, rice wine and malt, are on hand.
Even Iron Chef hopefuls take advantage of canned and jarred items — sometimes. Items like canned beans, Dijon mustard and corn syrup line the shelves, just waiting to be plucked from their perch.
A Baker's Paradise
Though there's hardly enough time in Iron Chef Gauntlet battles to pull off elaborate baked goods, competitors have access to everything to do so, if they choose to go that route. Not only does the pantry feature milk, white and dark chocolates, but there is also yeast, unbleached bread flour and cream of tartar.
In addition to the requisite ranges and ovens, competitors also have access to professional-grade equipment like deep fryers, anti-griddles and ice cream machines. See that bin of water? It's called an immersion circulator, and according to the supervising producer for the show, it's used for "cooking proteins gently and at a consistent even temperature."
A Hot Spot for Frozen Works
Atop the blast chiller lies an item you likely have in your own kitchen — the microwave, of course — plus two canisters of something you probably do not. Those tall containers are full of liquid nitrogen, which is so cold that challengers are advised to wear protective eyewear and gloves while handling it.
Mission: Ice Cream
This is one of two commercial-grade ice cream machines available to the challengers. Their task is to use it in a way that benefits, not crushes, them.
For quick, easy access, all of the tools and equipment are displayed on open-air shelves, much like the items in the ingredient pantry.
Similar to what's likely lining your kitchen shelves at home, the Iron Chef Gauntlet kitchen is equipped with pots and pans — but a whole lot of them, about 125 to be exact. Nonstick, stainless steel and cast-iron skillets are on hand, along with casserole dishes and roasting pans.
An Expansive Equipment Setup
It's no secret that pressure cookers are often key to helping chefs — and home cooks — execute traditionally slow-cooked recipes in a hurry, and the Iron Chef Gauntlet kitchen is packed with them. There is also no shortage of food processors, rice cookers, blenders and stand mixers.
Hand Tools at Your Fingertips
Oversize racks are teeming with all manner of hand tools. Oyster knives, Y-shaped peelers, kitchen twine, potato ricers and offset spatulas are just a few of the many items available.
Competitors often make more dishes than what will ultimately be served to Alton and the judges, because one plate needs to make its way back here, where it will be filmed for up-close camera shots.
Beware of Contents Inside
There's no mistaking the directions secured to this humble cooler on set.
Ready and Waiting
All challengers have access to journals, which they can fill with not only on-the-fly notes during cooking, but also their thoughts about the competition as they live it.
This is the scorecard that the judges of each Secret Ingredient Showdown will use to evaluate the competitors' offerings — and ultimately determine who among them will advance to the following week of competition and whose journey will end.
A Signature Scene
The now-iconic knives of Iron Chef are on full display in the kitchen, with this well-lit wall piece drawing in the eye.