Behind the Scenes of the Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs Premiere

Get a closer look at the challenges faced by a lineup of Super Chefs on this season of The Next Iron Chef on Food Network.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Leanna Creel/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Leanna Creel/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

First to Fall

Get an up-close look at The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs premiere with our rundown of top moments. First, an emotional reaction from the first rival eliminated (Spike Mendelsohn) and the chef who experienced a too-close call (Marcus Samuelsson).

The Matchup

Chef Spike drew the "lucky" match that gave him an advantage in the first Chairman's Challenge. He got to pick his partner and chose Marcus Samuelsson: "He's the best. I want to keep my toughest competitor close." It ended up backfiring when they ended up in the bottom and had to battle head-to-head.

In Sync

Alton also gave Chef Spike the power to assign teams for his fellow chefs. He tried to be strategic, but his Zakarian-MacMillan matchup turned out to be a very cohesive one. They took home the first win.

Frazzled

Chef Falkner was the calming force on team Falkner-Guarnaschelli. "Chef Guarnaschelli is kind of having a panic attack," she said. Their team lived to cook another day thanks to one stellar offal dish.

Friends Not Foes

It was no surprise that Chef Spike paired up Chef Burrell and Chef Irvine, who've faced off before on Worst Cooks in America and Chopped All-Stars. Their past battles didn't faze them: "Look at us, we're working so nicely together!" said Chef Burrell.

The Californian and the Canadian

Chef Chiarello and Chef Hughes were another team that landed at the top, with one dish that showcased Hughes's Canadian flavors and another that highlighted Chiarello's West Coast style.

Porktastic

The chefs knew their first challenge was all about "Heat and Meat," but what meat? They arrived to (happily) find a pig for each team: "Woohoo, little piggies!" exclaimed Chef Burrell. "I love pork, and it is also extremely versatile."

Can't Take the Heat?

Along with one whole pig, Alton gave each team all the essentials to create heat. Building those fires was part of the challenge: "I have 13 burns on me and no more hair on my arm," said Chef Spike.

A New Twist: Trick or Treat

This season on The Next Iron Chef, the bottom two chefs will fight it out in a Secret Ingredient Showdown. The two contenders must blindly pick one of two ingredients: "One you will love to cook with, one maybe not so much." Chef Spike and Chef Samuelsson ended up in the ring, but fortunately they picked the treat: fresh diver scallops.

Risking It

Although it's a notoriously risky choice, Chef Samuelsson decided to make two scallop dishes. "You never try to do a duo, because then they're going to be judging you against you," explained Chef Chiarello.

Going Molecular

Chef Spike used liquid nitrogen to freeze scallop roe and shaved it over his dish: "It's going to be a knockout punch in the face of scallopness."

Peanut Gallery

The remaining chefs, who are "safe", watched from the sidelines, coaching the battling chefs along. "It would have been a lot nicer if the peanut gallery had muzzles," said Chef Spike.

Last Judgment

The judges loved both chefs' scallop dishes, making for a very tough decision on who to send home. "Both of these chefs have redeemed themselves from the wilderness fiasco," said Alton.

Farewell, Chef Mendelsohn

"It was an honor to cook among such great chefs. Chef Samuelsson maybe just edged me out a little bit more," said Chef Spike, the youngest among the Super Chefs. "It was my soul on a plate in one bite, so I think I earned the respect of the other chefs."

The Lucky Ones

The remaining nine chefs felt relief, but they all know they must stay on their toes: "This is like a game of musical chairs with food, and they just keep pulling the chairs away," said Chef Guarnaschelli.

More Peeks Behind the Scenes: Ready for Battle

These all-star chefs are serious about their knives.

Plating

In the middle of nowhere, the culinary team made sure the chefs had what they needed to serve their food.

The Judges

British Iron Chef Judy Joo is the new judge this season, joining veterans Michael Symon and Simon Majumdar.

Burned

Chef Spike wasn't kidding about his burns from the fire.

Pantry Shopping

Bouncing back from the unsuccessful wilderness challenge, Chef Spike scanned the stocked Secret Ingredient Showdown pantry.

The Secret Ingredient

Chef Samuelsson and Chef Spike were relieved to cook with large, fresh diver scallops instead of the alternative "trick" — canned tuna.

Judges Speculate

The judges truly loved both dishes: "Spike's approach was very much the way I cook food in Kitchen Stadium: clean and simple big-impact flavors. What Chef Samuelsson put together in 30 minutes was just an incredible array of flavor and depth," said Iron Chef Michael Symon.

More from:

The Next Iron Chef

Next Up

50 Super Bowl Snacks

Food Network Magazine has game day covered! Choose from dozens of easy dips, snack mixes, sliders and more.

Chefs' Burger Picks

Food Network stars name their top burger spots.