Iron Chef Gauntlet episode recap: Creativity on the fly but don’t overthink it


Only a select few chefs have earned the title, Iron Chef. In this Iron Chef Gauntlet episode recap, adaptability is tested. But, did one chef over think it?

As the Iron Chef Gauntlet finale is within their reach, the three remaining challenger chefs in Iron Chef Gauntlet have to prepare for the next challenge. This week’s Iron Chef Gauntlet episode recap focuses on adaptability. Can these talented chefs be creative on the fly or did they just over think the challenge?

The three chefs still standing in this week’s Iron Chef Gauntlet have been tested throughout the season. Each week’s theme has focused on an Iron Chef quality. Two of the three chefs have risen to the challenges and one chef has flown under the radar. Can accolades or being battled tested give a chef an advantage in the final challenge?

This week’s Iron Chef Gauntlet episode recap has a slightly different format than previous weeks. At the end of this episode two chefs will be eliminated from the competition. In the Chairman’s Challenge, one chef will be eliminated based on Alton Brown’s judgment.

For the first challenge, the chefs have to tackle some ingredients that are considered an Iron Chef most difficult ingredient to handle. Each chef must pair two unlikely ingredients into one composed, thoughtful dish. The key to this challenge is making both ingredients prevalent yet not compete with each other.

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Since the chefs chose ingredients for their fellow chefs, a bit of strategy was at hand. As the first chef to be assigned ingredients, Chef LeFevre received blue cheese and artichoke. While these two ingredients are difficult to pair because of their salty and assertive flavors, Chef LeFevre was smart in his dish.

Building on a classic spinach artichoke dish, he offered a bite that was both familiar yet elevated. Although the blue cheese was a little lost, his dish adapted the strange pairing effectively. A few blue cheese crumbles on top would have made this dish a homerun. Still, the pairing was clever and effective.

Chef Balloo received offal and beer. This combination didn’t seem too difficult, but the beer was a curveball. While the home cook may not cook offal, that ingredient is common in many restaurants. It shouldn’t have thrown Chef Balloo. His sweetbread with a beer gastrique sounded good, but Alton said beer flavor was missing.

Contestant Timon Balloo, as seen on Iron Chef Gauntlet, Season 2.

I wonder if the beer flavor was missing because of the type of beer used in the gastrique. It looked that Chef Balloo had to use a lager. Maybe if he had the choice to use a hoppy IPA or a bolder ale, the beer flavor would have been more pronounced.

While Alton suggested that a beer side car or a beer batter could have been used, those options don’t sound Iron Chef like. I agree with Chef Balloo for not using beer in that way. It would have been too obvious.

Chef Gomez has been the most creative chef all season. She has continually pushed the envelope with flavors, textures and ingredients. Her ability to adapt quickly has served her well in this competition. With her unusual pairing of oysters and pineapple, Chef Gomez proved that she is in it to win it.

The smartest decision Chef Gomez made was to cook the oyster. A raw oyster would have been too obvious. While her dish did have a little too much heat, the flavors did work well together. Alton cook taste both the oyster and pineapple. Although it may not have been her best dish in the competition, it was successful.

The chef leaving the kitchen after the Chairman’s Challenge was Chef Balloo. Since the beer wasn’t a forceful flavor in the dish, he will not cook another day. Throughout the season, Chef Balloo was just under the radar. While his dishes were good, they didn’t “wow” like some of the other chefs.

Judges Rocco DiSpirito and Cat Cora tasting contestant David LeFevre’s dishes as Host Alton Brown looks on, as seen on Iron Chef Gauntlet, Season 2.

The key to any Iron Chef battle is making the secret ingredient the star and showcasing that ingredient in different ways. From a progressive meal to a variety of flavors, these chefs had a tall order to fill with battle chops.

Chef Gomez’s meal was an interesting approach. Her opening dish, an elk tartare was creative. The flavors were both delicate and bold. While the dish appeared one way, the different textures and temperatures made it successful.

Contestant Chef Nicole Gomes, as seen on Iron Chef Gauntlet, Season 2.

Her best dish was the final course, a Milanese. While simple in both plating and execution, the dish was superb. Sometimes an Iron Chef dish doesn’t need 20 ingredients and tweezers, perfectly cooked food is always a smart choice.

Chef LeFevre’s meal was a journey of flavors and textures. His decision to showcase three very different style dishes was smart. The opening dish of a braised Chinese pork chop was a bold mixture of flavors and ingredients. While his pork chop might have been slightly overcooked, the brightness from the Thai basil saved a slightly dry protein.

Iron Chef David LeFevre, as seen on Iron Chef Gauntlet, Season 2.

His second dish, a roasted rack of lamb was perfectly cooked. While the dish worked well on its own, his overall menu progression suffered because he used basil again. Redundancy in a three course meal isn’t a good choice for a potential Iron Chef.

The final course, a Tomahawk chop was a bold move. Even though his presentation was simple and classic, the execution won Chef LeFevre big points. Who doesn’t love a gigantic piece of red meat? There is something primitive that satisfies with this indulgent cut of meat.

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With a final score of 37-31, Chef LeFevre won the battle. He moves onto to next week’s finale of Iron Chef Gauntlet. Will he be able to conqueror three Iron Chefs and earn the title? Check back next week for another Iron Chef Gauntlet episode recap.