The History of Iron Chef

Get the back-story on Food Network's hit show.

Iron Chef History

  • Iron Chef America is based on a hugely popular Japanese show once aired on Fuji TV.

  • Japan's Iron Chef began airing in October, 1993 as a half-hour program.

  • Salmon was the very first secret ingredient ever used on Iron Chef.

  • Iron Chef America became a favorite in the United States in 1999 when it was picked up by Food Network and dubbed in English.

  • Iron Chef quickly became a cult favorite in America. The show was lampooned on Saturday Night Live.

  • Takeshi Kaga was Japan's chairman. Iron Chef America's Chairman, Mark Dacascos, is Kaga's nephew.

  • Before Japan's Iron Chef, chefs in the country did not have a high position in society. The show helped to elevate recognition and respect for chefs in Japan.

  • America's first Iron Chefs were Bobby Flay, Mario Batali and Wolfgang Puck.

  • The original Kitchen Stadium in Japan is where six tons of rice, five tons of eggs, a ton each of chicken, beef, pork and assorted seafoods were combined with over two tons of tomatoes and a ton of mushrooms. All of that was topped off with ten pounds of caviar.

  • In total, Japan's Kitchen Stadium used approximately $8 million dollars worth of groceries over the show's run.

  • Keiichi Tanaka directed all 297 episodes of Japan's Iron Chef.

  • Over the history of Japan's Iron Chef and Iron Chef America, injuries have included Masaharu Morimoto being bitten by a monkfish and Hiroyuki Sakai being bitten by a squid. Bobby Flay was the most badly injured when in one episode, he seriously cut his finger and was nearly electrocuted.
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