Iron Chef Showdown recap: Sink or swim to another victory?


Another Iron Chef Showdown recap shows that the Iron Chefs want to rule Kitchen Stadium with an iron fist. Can the challenger finally secure a victory?

In the first season of Iron Chef Showdown, chefs have used savory, sweet and a smorgasbord of ingredients. While several accomplished challengers have entered Kitchen Stadium, no one has been able to score a victory. Would this Iron Chef Showdown recap tell a different tale?

Iron Chef Showdown recap, photo from Food Network

Before the Iron Chef can even be revealed, the two challengers must battle for the right to face an Iron Chef. In this episode, Chef McCaskey faced Chef Landry. While these two chefs have very different backgrounds and culinary points of view, the Chairman’s Challenge proved very evenly matched.

In the Chairman’s Challenge, the two challengers had to face-off in pork belly battle. Luckily for the two challengers, Alton gave them an extra 15 minutes, total of 45 minutes, for this challenge. Cooking pork belly, even in a pressure cooker, is quite difficult. Breaking down the connective tissue in pork belly takes time. Time proves to be a bigger challenge than developing a flavorful dish.

Truthfully the pork belly challenge was a little unfair. No chef, not even an Iron Chef, should have to create a pork belly dish in 45 minutes. To create an amazing dish with that ingredient in such a limited about of time is tremendously hard. Both challengers should be applauded for their offerings.

Iron Chef Showdown recap, photo from Food Network

The Chairman’s Challenge winner was Chef Landry. Overall, his dish was a better presentation of pork belly. Or, it could have been that he made chicharrones, which Alton specifically wanted.

Awaiting Chef Landry in the Secret Ingredient Battle was the newest Iron Chef, Stephanie Izard. In the previous Iron Chef Showdown recap, Iron Chef Izard won because of her creativity. Could she keep the streak of winning Iron Chefs going?

In the Secret Ingredient Challenge, the two chefs had to use yellow fin tuna. The very meaty fish offers many tastes and textures for potential dishes. These two chefs have very different styles and cooking approaches. The five course progression should show the range that yellow fin tuna offers.

With the first course early presentation requirement, the choice of a tartare was an obvious choice for both chefs. Fortunately for Iron Chef Izard, she added variety to her tartare dish. The yellow fin tuna four ways highlighted the complexity of the fish. The layered flavors and textures helped to propel her ahead on scores.

Iron Chef Showdown recap, photo from Food Network

Chef Landry’s tartare was good, but didn’t compare to Iron Chef Izard’s dish. Without enough salt in the dish, Chef Landry’s plate was missing an extra burst of flavor. In these types of competitions, seasoning can make or break a dish.

Overall, the two chef’s dishes were very different. Chef Landry focuses on this creole cuisine. Nods to a mufletta and a tuna dip were smart opening dishes. The progression showed that Creole cuisine is quite diverse.

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Unfortunately, the judges felt that Chef Landry’s dishes lacked salt. Again, in these competition shows, the seasoning needs to be aggressive. Maybe what is done in the restaurant isn’t what is needed or expected in a competition show. Still, the home cook can learn a smart lesson. Seasoning is key to any successful dish.

Iron Chef Izard is proving herself to be a powerhouse in Kitchen Stadium. While she always succeeds in technique and execution, her dishes flourish with creativity. Again, in this Iron Chef Showdown recap, she excelled in the creativity factor.

What Chef Izard did well is translate yellow fin tuna into other well-known dishes. This type of thinking outside of the box is the key to success in Kitchen Stadium. Maybe that is why the Iron Chefs continue to dominate Iron Chef Showdown.

Iron Chef Showdown recap, photo from Food Network

Chef Izard presented a varied menu. By using all of the tuna’s parts, she could exact more flavor into each of her dishes. From the bloodline transformed into a pastrami like dish to the tuna rib dish, Chef Izard’s creativity proved that she earned that Iron Chef title. While a tuna ice cream may not be a must eat for the non-adventurous eater, the concept, and execution, propelled her to victory.

Again, another Iron Chef Showdown recap has the Iron Chef winning against the new challenger. Each week the challenger comes up short in the competition. This week’s episode had a huge margin of victory.

Does it really make a difference that the Iron Chefs keep winning? Many viewers watch this show for the creativity in the kitchen. Finding inventive ways to use a secret ingredient is an entertaining show. The final outcome of winner versus loser isn’t the thrust of the show. Sure, it would be interesting to see a challenger de-throne an Iron Chef, but that situation didn’t happen often on the original Iron Chef show. Why should it happen now?

Instead of a challenger winning, why doesn’t Iron Chef Showdown add some interesting secret ingredient challenges? So far this season, the ingredients haven’t been too unusual. Gingerbread for a savory dish was a little out of the box. Still, there hasn’t been an ingredient where somewhat was baffled. Where’s the crazy ingredients?

Another Iron Chef Showdown recap is in the books. Will there be another crazy dessert in the next episode? Check back next week to find out.