Do you like Iron Chef America?

I am pretty much obsessed with the show. Then again, I do watch the Food Network pretty much all the time…

They say that ICA is one of the most popular shows on the Food Network right now. But I always wondered…how many of you people enjoy the show? To me, it seems like a cult-kindof thing; Something that FoodNetwork fans would really enjoy. But has is been drawing in people who normally wouldn’t watch the food network?

I often skip playing poker with my friends because I have to watch one of the new episodes that airs on sunday nights. Its pretty hilarious.

I’d rather play poker, but I watch it now and then. Most of the dishes are pretty far out in left field for me, but at least I’ve heard of some of the ingredients. Still, the “camp” of the original is mostly missing from the American version, that was one of he things the original had going for it.

I watch it if I’m channel surfing and it is coming on. I’m trying to catch an episode with Iron Chef Cat or whatever her name is. But I don’t schedule it on my tv watching.

I don’t see the point of it. I mean, we already have the original Iron Chef. Was there really such a need for an American version? Eh. And Alton Brown doesn’t have the same flamboyant charisma of Chairman Kaga. I miss Kaga.

Also, why do the judges on the American version eat all of the dishes? I was under the impression that you’re only supposed to take a few bites-- not finish it. Or, maybe I’m just crazy and not remembering the original correctly. I don’t know. :\

I’ll watch it when I come across it, but I don’t make it a point to watch.

Funniest ICA moment: During Flay-Tsai (Battle Duck,) Flay combines honey and dijon mustard. My immediate reaction: “He’s making duck nuggets!”

Alton Brown is not filling in the role that Chairman Kaga did, AB is the announcer (I don’t know the name of the announcer in the original version.) The Chairman Kaga character is played by “the nephew of Chairman Kaga” (obvioiusly since both are just actors, he’s not really his nephew, but they have it be that way to sort of continue along with the tradition of the first one.)

And just because the original might have only showed the judges taking a few bites, doesn’t mean they didn’t scarf them down later off camera. :wink:
Hell, I like the American version of for no other reason that the fact that none of the judges are a freakin’ fortune teller :rolleyes:.

I watch the Food Network quite a bit, and I enjoy Iron Chef America. Good Eats is my favorite show overall, so the Alton Brown presence on ICA is a plus for me. I do not enjoy the original show; I feel like I’m watching a Godzilla movie about food.

That’s local chef Cat Cora. She was XC at a restaurant called Postino, but AFAIK, she’s too busy with television (in addition to ICA, she’s had another show at Food Network, plus one on NBC, and strangely, she’s also shilling for Insinkerator) and isn’t grabbing too many pans in a kitchen these days.

I loved the Japanese Iron Chef and really can’t stand the American one. The original was just so exciting to watch; the editing was expertly done, the “stadium” itself was attractive, and there was of course the cheerfully cheesy, flamboyant edge to the whole thing, exemplified by Kaga.

By comparison, the American version seems so dry and serious. It feels as though they’re alone in a huge warehouse; the audience is neither seen nor heard. Also, none of the American Iron Chefs is very charismatic or sympathetic.

Other gripes:

  • I love Alton Brown on his own show, but on Iron Chef he’s pedantic and distracting. He manages to talk more than the two Japanese hosts put together.
  • Bobby Flay is an arrogant asshole. I don’t know what’s more forced: his awkward hug of opponents he obviously dislikes, or his apparent contractual obligation to try and make tamales out of every fucking secret ingredient they throw his way. I know that both make me uncomfortable to watch.
  • I don’t like the direct conversation between the chefs and Alton. It’s probably just a pet peeve I picked up because of the Japanese version, where that very rarely happens.

I’m a huge fan of the original, and I think that ICA holds its own. If you ever caught the Iron Chef USA specials with William Shatner as the chairman, you know that it could be far worse. I think ICA is about as good a translation as one could do, and I watch it often. I still hate Bobby Flay, and I don’t understand why they dub Morimoto’s english (I deal with far heavier accents at work.) But AB is perfect (although he could use a co-host, Dr Hatori for example. :slight_smile: ) and I love Ted Allen as a Judge and love to hate Jeffrey Steingerten(sp?) as a judge. Mark Dascasos(sp?) does an admirable job as the chairman. I thought he was perfect in The Crow TV series, and he gives just the right manicness to the ingredient reveal (FROzen Peas! Pizza DOUGH!) and Allez Cuisine! Though I wish he had a few more ways to say “what was your approach/theme to the secret ingredient?”

I have a few responses:

**Gonzoron: **I heard that Morimoto himself requests that he be dubbed on TV, so that he comes across clearer when he describes his dishes. And you are right, his english is good, since he does live in NYC and all.

Clockwork and Candy: Genreally, they do not eat all of their dishes on ICA. At least the food critics and the judges who know what they’re doing. I think you might be thinking of Mo Rocca, the one comendian judge who did eat quite considerably on the show (including other people’s unfinishes dishes!). He’s quite an unusual character, but I think, like Steven Colbert, he has created a personality on the show that works.

My favorite Mo Rocca line, “This dish is Jurrasic-tastic!” lol…

OneCentStamp: What makes you think Bobby Flay’s hugs are forced? He commonly pits himself against his friends (which i assume he “hooks up” onto the show). And frankly he has yet to make one Tamale on the new season. Although I am kindof peeved that it seems Flay is on ICA more than half of the time. I guess it must be a scheduling thing.

Because FoodNetwork is running the show, they take the cooking and competition element of Iron Chef more seriously than ICJ. ICJ tended to lavish on storylines and epic characters, whereas on ICA, its all about the chef’s ability to cook and their food.

I agree the original is a lot more campy, which maybe unintentional for the Japanese. I find myself laughing at that one a lot. ICA is a bit more serious. I still like it in that I love watching people use their imagination and create art on the fly, but it does not have the same appeal as the original.
I also can’t stand Bobbie Flay. He seems to be a competition junkie. Now he has some new show where he runs around “surprise” challenging other chefs in their specialty, he calls it “throwdown”. In a clip I saw he is going to learn how to make wedding cakes and then challenge some woman who does it for a living. This just seems like a big ego stroker to me. “I’m such an awesome chef that I can do anything and beat the pants off people who do that specialty for a living.”.

The forced hugs thing is purely a gut reaction. I could be totally wrong. It’s an opinion of Flay I formed the first few times he appeared on screen with Emeril Lagasse, and his appearances with Morimoto after their first battle. He just seemed to be smiling it up but secretly gritting his teeth while hangin out with these guys he didn’t really like. It’s colored my impression of all his interactions since.

The tamale thing was a generalization I drew from the first season (the only one I watched with any regularity). It may have no basis in reality today. It also always used to bug me that Sakai would dump truffles, foie gras and caviar on anything and everything, and the judges would all coo “Oh, it looks so luxurious…” :rolleyes::smiley: No it doesn’t. It looks gross.

There is no doubt a large faction of people who hate Bobby Flay, but I think its just the kindof people who write in message boards, apparently, lol. I saw a general poll on a news site asking “who’s your favorite Iron Chef?” which included ICA and ICJ Iron chefs. Flay was winning the poll.

I mean…there has to be a reason why Throwdown was started, right? People obviously love to see the guy competing. As far as his ego is concerned (In Throwdown), I think he clearly expresses the fact that its not about who wins, he’s just there to casually compete and have alittle fun. In all four competitions, he’s basically said that. He’s very humble to show that point, because otherwise people WILL think he has an ego, and that is the last thing FoodNetwork wants to portray.

Another reason I think people dislike Flay on IronChef is that he seems to be doing the same things. It is true that of all of the Iron Chefs, Flay is the LEAST creative. That doesn’t mean that he isn’t creative…its just that the other three take creativity to a new level. Flay tends to concentrate his battle efforts on things like perfectly cooked meats and such. Unfortunately, perfectly cooking your protiens doesn’t exactly make good TV, but it is his strategy and it has shown to work over numerous battles. Ultimately, food is about flavor and taste, but that is the ONLY thing we can’t experience as viewers of ICA. We can make our own judgements about the plating and creativity, but we can obviously never taste it.

I prefer the America version because I like the food better. In ICJ I was always waiting for them to use the innards bleech. There were many shows that I wouldn’t eat anything on the menu. Flay makes the most dishes I think I would like closely followed by Mario. ICJ I watch for the campy drama and ICA I watch for the food. And Alton Brown. (too much raw meat in both versions but there is more cooking in ICA)

I forgot to add that I find it annoying that Food Network replays the same ICJ over and over. I flipped through the Iron Chef book once and was surprised by how many episodes were made. Only a fraction have been shown here. It seemed like Iron Chef Japtalian had the highest winning percentage but he was hardly shown in the translated version.

Thank God ICA got Jewel to judge. I hear she used to make great poptarts in her van by the river.

Aww man! I was hoping to be the first one to bring this up.

There is a book and no one told me? :eek:

I’d also like to throw in some hatred for Flay. I can’t stand Rachel Ray either but I understand why she gets 5 shows, she is really perky and isn’t bad to look at. I will never understand why they give Flay so many shows though, I don’t think I’ve once seen him not look/act like an arrogant smug jerk.

I prefer the original show better but one plus of the American version is I don’t think I’ve ever once cringed at the dishes. I’m an adventures person when it comes to food but there are certain things I won’t even look at, especially if you turn it into ice cream.

Whether I hated the American version or not I am happy it exists because it lets me hold on to my dream of someday winning an episode of iron chef.

The book had a list of every battle, every ingredient, every contestant and every outcome. It also went into some of the back story and off camera stuff that is edited out of the translated version. Apparently there are a lot more soap opera elements to the show in Japan. The chairman takes it very seriously when “his” Iron Chefs lose.