Iron Chef Showdown recap: Bison, potatoes and missing judges


Was something amiss in this week’s Iron Chef Showdown recap? Kitchen Stadium had bison, potatoes, and only one judge.

Just when Iron Chef Showdown was looking a little bland, this week’s Iron Chef Showdown recap had an interesting twist. Did you notice something different in this episode? One big element was missing from the cooking competition.

In any Iron Chef Showdown episode, the Secret Ingredient Challenge, where the challenger takes on the Iron Chef, features two judges. This week’s episode only had one judge. What happened? Food Network edited out the second judge. Why? That second judge was John Besh.

Iron Chef Showdown recap: Bison, potatoes and missing judges, photo from Food Network

Even though Besh was featured as a judge in the first episode, the cultural climate has changed. With sexual allegations pending against him, Food Network chose to edit him out of this Iron Chef Showdown episode. Anyone who is a fan of the show knew that something was funky with the editing.

Even though Food Network did a good job of referring to “a judge,” there was no way to re-score the battle. Fans know how the cooking competition works. As the first dish scores were revealed, everyone watching knew something had been editing out.

Of course, Food Network, like Bravo before them, had the right to edit out Besh. The alternative, not airing the show, wouldn’t be fair to the challengers. Who would want to be the chef who battled Bobby Flay and never get to brag about it? Based on the choices, the funky editing is the better choice to no show at all.

With the twist out of the way, let’s get back to the Iron Chef Showdown recap. This episode had two Midwest chefs battling in Kitchen Stadium. The Chairman’s Challenge featured potatoes. The humble ingredient didn’t prove too challenging for these acclaimed chefs.

Iron Chef Showdown recap: Bison, potatoes and missing judges, photo from Food Network

Chef Miller, from Wisconsin, created a dish that anyone would crave morning, noon or night. The potato was used in multiple ways. But, the hash browns were the dish’s biggest feature. Who can resist a crispy, crunchy hash brown? The combination of a runny egg, chorizo and mushrooms was a flavor explosion.

Chef Tomaska took a more creative approach. The rhubarb, potato foam was a bold choice. While a beautifully plated dish, the highly acidic apples overshadowed the potato components. Although he earned high creativity points, the potato wasn’t the shining star.

Heading onto the Secret Ingredient battle against Bobby Flay was Chef Miller. This task was a huge challenge for the Kitchen Stadium new comer. Could a challenger beat the ultimate, veteran Iron Chef?

The Secret Ingredient battle featured bison. The lean, red meat protein can take on a wide variety of flavors. From classic American to Asian dishes, the choices are many. Both chefs were able to show the versatility of the bison.

Iron Chef Showdown recap: Bison, potatoes and missing judges, photo from Food Network

Chef Flay’s most successful dishes were his opening Bison slider and his final dish, a play on steak and eggs. Both dishes featured classic Flay components. Flay is known for creating amazing burgers. Being able to balance flavor, texture and perfect execution is key to a good burger. Flay’s burgers are always on point.

His final dish, the riff on steak and eggs, featured the Flay staples, flavorful sauces and oils. The red and green sauces are old school Flay favorites. The dish excelled in colorful presentation, bold flavor and clean execution.

Chef Miller’s approach was clear. All of his dishes featured Asian influences. From a deconstructed bibimbap to a riff on pho, these dishes were true to his influences and cooking styles. What was most impressive is the special details.

Iron Chef Showdown recap: Bison, potatoes and missing judges, photo from Food Network

Each of his dishes had nuanced touches that elevated them. For example, super crunchy rice added texture to a dish. The beet ponzu was an unexpected flavor combination that awakened the palate.

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Additionally, Chef Miller’s dishes were visually stunning. The colors were bright. The plating was clean. His presentation was on point.

When the final scores were revealed, another twist occurred in this unusual Iron Chef Showdown recap. Chef Miller beat Iron Chef Bobby Flay. Who would have thought that in a season of numerous Iron Chef victories that the most successful Iron Chef would be taken down? Congratulations to Chef Miller for accomplishing a feat that few have done.

It appears that the Iron Chef Showdown season has ended. There are no more new episodes on the schedule. Again, Kitchen Stadium is closed.

Did you enjoy Iron Chef Showdown? Would you want to see it return?