The Next Food Network Star: tipped off?

During this week’s episode of “The Next Food Network Star,” we may have been tipped off about who would be eliminated this week before they were eliminated. But more on that later.

The Final Four made it to New York City, where they would be duking it out for real to see who would have their own show on Food Network. The finalists? Aarti, Aria, Tom and Herb. And this week they would be battling Iron Chef-style. Alton Brown was waiting for them, as well as Iron Chefs Bobby Flay, Cat Cora, Michael Symon and Masaharu Morimoto. They would be competing in groups of two, making three dishes each based on the secret ingredient. When they weren’t competing they would be floor commentators ala Kevin Brasch.

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3 questions with Iron Chef Jose Garces

Chef Jose Garces was not new to the Iron Chef brand before he was cast as a contestant on Season 2 of “The Next Iron Chef” on Food Network. He had competed against Iron Chef Bobby Flay in an episode of “Iron Chef America” and had defeated Flay in Kitchen Stadium, something that may have spring-boarded him into his role as the newest Iron Chef after winning Season 2 last week. Garces defeated Jehangir Mehta of New York City in the battle of ribs and racks to win the crown, and he owns and operates several restaurants in both Philadelphia and Chicago.

We had the chance to ask Chef Garces a few questions after his big win last weekend….

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The Next Iron Chef: Asian re-creation

Last night on Food Network’s “The Next Iron Chef,” the contestants were asked to re-create a few different Asian dishes that were the signatures of various hot spots in the Los Angeles area. The chairman hand-picked these restaurants and dishes, and since chef Mullen won the previous challenge, he was allowed to pick his teammate and the other teams, as well as choose which of the four cuisines/dishes they would be re-creating.

He chose chef Appleman as his teammate, and the two of them had to re-invent a Korean hot pot dish, which has all sorts of meat and vegetables over rice. Chefs Trevino and Farmerie were paired up and had to make two kinds of Chinese dumplings–pork, and vegetable. Garces and Crenn were assigned to remake Vietnamese pho soup. And Mehta and Freitag had to make Thai green curry with fish balls (heh heh, I said fish balls).

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The Next Iron Chef: making more with less

The theme was a bit different on “The Next Iron Chef” yesterday than it was last week. Last week, you’ll remember, the chefs had to create meals with some, you know, delicacies. Yesterday’s episode featured the idea of making more with less–simplicity. And that’s a theme that a really great chef can do a lot with.

For the initial challenge, each chef had to make something with a cooking vessel that they might not necessarily use normally–tagines, steamer pots, Mongolian hot pot, etc. With what they chose (they had a mad scramble to the table), the chefs could make anything they wanted–the traditional dish for that vessel, or something else unique.

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The Next Food Network Star: and then there were three…

Is it just me or is this season of “The Next Food Network Star” flying? We are now down to the final three contestants, which means that in a couple of weeks we will have our new champion. I also have that same feeling I had last year…that is, that there is no clear-cut, Guy Fieri-like favorite. In fact, I think the network struck gold with Fieri and may never find anyone like him in this venue again. But that’s okay, because the producers and execs have to know that anyway.

So last night’s episode continued in Miami where the final four of Melissa, Jeffrey, Debbie and Jamika were greeted by Iron Chef Michael Symon at their hotel, the Eden Roc. Symon assigned them their first challenge of the day, a live cooking demo on a Miami network TV morning show. But what Symon didn’t tell them was that each of the chefs would be sabotaged in one way or another during their demo.

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