Last night I watched Next Iron Chef on Food Network, and with the final 4 chefs battling it out for that coveted spot in the finale things got very intense. I didnt think it could top last weeks episode where Chef Anne Burrell was forced to be one of the judges against her peers (which backfired when she was faced to go up against probably the most experienced chef in the group, Chef Zakarian), and was beaten out and forced to exit the competition. What surprised me the most was that the episode she was eliminated from was identified by which chef was willing to take the most risk, and she clearly identified her willingness to do so by selecting sardines as her ingredient to work with while the other chefs had much easier ingredients (with the exception of Chef Falkner who had tuna jerky).
Last night the final 4 chefs which consisted of Chef Falkner, Chef Zakarian, Chef Guarnaschelli, and Chef Chiarello were pitted against each other in a bout of which chef could exhibit the most passion using seafood to feed 20 guests in the Hamptons (Could you pass me the lobster Muffy? Why certainly Biff!). After the smoke cleared (literally and figuratively), Chef Zakarian and Chef Falkner were the only 2 chefs left to go against each other in next weeks finale.
Whats very interesting is that the Food Network blogs are buzzing with gossip that this competition has been fixed from the beginning to pave a way to replace Iron Chef Cat Cora since shes left the show with another female chef, presumably Chef Falkner. While Chef Falkner is a decent chef, I find it very bizarre that she is still in the competition while legendary chefs like Chef Burrell and Chef Irvine have been eliminated who have over the years proven to be far more superior in their skills as chefs. I can clearly see why Chef Zakarian has made it to the final round, but if he gets beaten by Falkner who doesnt even have a fraction of his knowledge, experience, or passion, then the buzz of this being a fixed competition will have proven itself.