Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Iron Chef returns!

There’s good news for fans of the original Japanese cult hit and cooking contest, Iron Chef. Food Network has taken on an American version that is absolutely top notch.

There was an earlier attempt with William Shatner in the role of “chairman” and it was a big disappointment. This time, producers do not so much rely on big names as solid production values and attention to detail. In an age when the trend is toward cutting corners, taking shortcuts, and jamming mediocrity in the consumers face, this is a big and pleasant surprise.

The set is a beautiful double kitchen known, as it is in the original, as “Kitchen Stadium.” The show does not take itself seriously, which goes a long way to catching the easy spirit of the classic. Each week, a challenger will cook original dishes using a secret theme ingredient under a one-hour deadline. It is true that the amateur chef and pick up a few little tricks along the way. I sure have.

Bobby Flay, Cat Cora, and Mario Batali join Iron Chef Morimoto, from the older hit show. Fans of the spoofy and witty Iron Chef with Chairman Kaga and his fabled Gourmet Academy will not be disappointed in Iron Chef America on Food Network.

(Broadcast May 23, 2007)

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