This isn’t really a critical, in-depth review of Iron Chef Gauntlet. Why not? Well, first of all, I won’t be finishing the show, so it’s a bit unfair to really go at it. I know what you want to ask so I’ll give you the answer… because it’s not about the cooking, and that’s the problem… it never is… anymore.
Food Network is more of a drama-based entity than it was in the past. As a child growing up, I watched Emeril Live, Iron Chef, East Meets West, and many other shows when they were airing. Food Network was, even as a 5 year old, my cartoons and I couldn’t miss a single episode.
Back then, there weren’t all these competitive shows, and while Iron Chef existed, it was the pure Japanese version (with English subs and even some dubs) that still seemed to focus on the cooking.
Fast forward to Iron Chef Gauntlet and everything wrong with Food Network shows its ugly face. The show is all about drama and ego, which is painfully evident in this past episode where *SPOILER* Chef Nakijima is eliminated by Chef Izard. Here are my three main issues.
- It isn’t really a gauntlet, or well constructed, at all.
- Early advertising was misleading… surely, on purpose.
- Food Network’s more interested in drama than cooking.
Watch the show and you can figure out the first one, if you know what a gauntlet is. It’s just not well put together as it creates a system that allows Chef’s to go, more or less, untested into the finale. There was a way to do it right, and they just didn’t.
They made it seem like it would focus on Iron Chefs that are established in the very beginning of marketing efforts in order to get you to watch the first episode, and you’ll be disappointed when you watch the premiere.
And as for the most significant issue, since it has taken over Food Network completely, they try to trick viewers into not being able to guess who won rounds by editing in the worst way possible.
You can see that in this past episode, when it seems painfully obvious that Chef Nakijima would win by a landslide. Cat had one bad thing to say, about his meatballs being dense, but other than that they praised him on creativity, plating, and taste.
As for Chef Izard… she was blasted on every dish. Boring plating on the chicken feet, typical cooking of the chicken thigh, and missed opportunities to feature the secret ingredient in the desert. Yet, she destroyed Chef Nakijima.
I remember being able to enjoy all of the programming on Food Network, but now I’m stuck with having to tolerate many of the shows on Food Drama Network, and I can’t wait for the day that it’s about the food again… not drama, ratings, or egos.
And as for the egos… don’t even get me started on the personalities they feature who can’t even cook. And remember, this is all coming from someone who doesn’t hate Food Network, but rather, is disappointed in the changes over the years. We saw Alton at his show recently; we took a tour of Thai Town with Jet Tila; we visited Eric Greenspan’s eatery on Melrose. We just want to see Food TV be what it should be… honest, and about food!