So, was I right?  Questions and comments?  I’ll try to elaborate on the food tomorrow answer burning questions.

Monday Morning Update: This was a really difficult decision–Cosentino or Sanchez.  Symon was the clear winner from all of us, for the incredibly juicy salmon (he made a risky decision to finish it in the airplane rather than reheat), but his other dishes were on the money too.  Besh’s asparagus salad was a little lacking, just wasn’t all there.  And he told me why afterward.  In the rush to get all his food into the box he forgot one of his vinaigrettes!  This challenge was indeed really hard–the time, the number of dishes, the unfamiliar kitchen and the cameramen getting in your goddam way.  I personally thought Chris was being kind! And showing uncommon grace under pressure by not ripping the camera out of their hands and mauling them bloody–you have no idea what a drag they are when you’re trying to cook. They are of course required for a show, however.

Nicep4aaron5 Chris’s crunchy cauliflower and Aaron’s nasty fish skin hurt them.  Neither prepared dishes with the muscle Besh and Symon did.  We had an hour between when we actually delivered a verdict and Knowlton argued vociferously, actually taking me by the lapels and slamming me against a concrete wall way in the back of the hangar. He was persuasive. They were so close in fact that I had to take their overall performance into account. In the end, we all wrote down our choices and handed them to Alton, and it was unanimous.  Chef Schmitt did not judge but his comments and opinions were very important to our evaluation.

And yes the editing. It was kind to Knowlton this week. He’s just as much of an ass as ever.  Donatella just as elegant.  (Kidding about Knowlton!)  If anything, I was the snooty one this week, nothing but curled lip and disdain.  The consomme issue is important.  Besh used it to make the dish sound prettier.  But by doing so he’s diminishing the value of the word.  Soon it won’t mean anything. He trailed me in the Charles de Gaulle airport the next day saying, "Consomme was in quotes!"  He even dropped his bags to make quote marks in the air.

For the record, to respond to a grumbler, I do not and never have called myself a chef, because I am not a chef.  A chef is a leader of a kitchen.  I am a trained cook, and spent a very brief and not inglorious time as a line cook at a Cleveland restaurant owned by Marriott (which gave health bennies, thank god).  I make my living as a writer–perhaps the grumbler should check out my new book. Also, I don’t know who said it, but no winner was pre-selected.  We were told repeatedly by the producers to vote from our gut.  And if they had told me anything else, I would have said, f.u.

Now, after a falling out with these producers, I have decided to reveal the big secret from next week’s show:

Besh is in fact an undercover agent for the international police and arrests both Symon (frigging peacemonger, Besh was heard saying, as he put the cuffs on) and Cosentino for illegal foie gras activity, citing an obscure Chicago ordinance as his justification.

Read fellow judge Andrew Knowlton’s comments and picks for top three bottom three dishes, which i agree with.

And the inimitable Amateur Gourmet here.

UPDATE: I put this in the comments, but a reader suggested putting it here and I agree.  I got an email from Cosentino this morning saying this:

thanks for defending me with the camera guys. these guys were german and not understanding of space every time i moved my elbows touched someone. i thought i was going to hurt my self. also i found out later that eytan with this ear piece was telling the camera guys to get closer to me . In kitchen stadium they understand the dangers of being to close and they want you to succeed, in this episode all they wanted was the shot. that is why i got hostile i told them from the beginning to give me space since the kitchen configuration was really bad we had a very small pass way to get to equipment (like bowls, pans )and they were always blocking it and wouldn’t move when we asked them . thats when the hostility came. now that 1/2 the country thinks i am an asshole as some one put it in another blog. life goes on.


262 Wonderful responses to “Next Iron Chef: Hardest Challenge According to Chefs”

  • search_for_the_holy_gruel

    Hi Michael, just wanted to let you know that I dined at Comme Ca (Chef David Myers’ new restaurant) Sunday night. I wish I could report that it was perfect and everything was delicious. Unfortunately, I had an awful meal. I was really hoping for something excellent since Sona happens to be one of my favorite places. You can read the details here:

  • Sara

    “So is it ethical to be buds with a contestant when you are judging? If the competition is truly competitive then I think not… of course if the “Next Iron Chef” is fixed then I guess it is ok to be a “judge”.”

    I don’t think that being friends with a chef, or admiring him, will prevent Ruhlman being able to taste it if Symon cooks something elimination-worthy. Just because you like someone doesn’t mean you’re automatically biased in their favor, and I think all three judges deserve that kind of respect from us viewers.

  • Natalie Sztern

    You know this might not have anything to do with talent in the kitchen and cooking since i know very little about both but enjoy them nevertheless – but as a viewer who watches for the action rather than the performance i have to say that while all are very good looking men, for some reason Besh is the easiest on the eyes for me to focus on. Whether its his blue eyes or the fact that his face is clean; his on-camera presence and appearance is much more pleasing and appealing to watch….a thought probably no one but a producer would think about….

  • tokyoastrogirl

    In response to Kali’s comments about diversity- the high level of these contestants and judges overrides any need for the network to balance out the chefs or judges. In shows like Hell’s Kitchen or The Next Food Network star, I truly believe (but can’t prove) that the network has to consider if there are enough females or Asians on the show regardless of whether the top 10 qualified people are all, let’s say, white males. It’s annoying as hell to watch contestants of that show stumble theur way through cooking a steak when the prize is their very own RESTAURANT or COOKING SHOW. Give me a break.

    This show, however, seems to really be trying to pick top tier talent, regardless of race or sex, and frankly, it’s refreshing. I don’t watch this show to root for a female soley because she is one- I want the best chef to win. There are no “token” minorities on this show- they are all first-rate chefs that are well matched.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that this is the first season of this particular show- maybe next season they’ll mix it up with ideas like having three “international” judges but for now, it works.

  • Darclyte

    Hi Michael.
    You were right, this WAS the best episode yet. Stressed out chefs, Alton doing some “Good Eats” schtick, Donatella cleavage, and your facial expressions…priceless! It sounded like Sanchez at least had one good dish while Consentino didn’t. I read where you considered all their efforts so far, and that seemed a valid reason to kick off the last minority. So far, I was right with Final Four and Final Three. I’m betting it to be Besh and Symon like so many others here, and I hope if Symon wins they don’t hammer you for favoritism. I will call Bullshit on you though, Mr Ruhlman. They do NOT make beer mugs bigger than your giant cranium. Not in Germany, Austria or even Texas.

  • symon

    for those of you questioning my relationship with michael i feel it is important for you to know i also know donatella and andrew very well too!!…so i guess this whole thing must be fixed!!!..its a conspiracy theory i tell ya..i knew it all along..first will get rid of the women then marou and that damn aaron and then symon knows all those judges..the perfect storm!!..oh yeah one more quick note..we all knew the judges and they us..this is a small bussiness folks, very small…live to cook, ms

  • Brenda Mac

    Chef Symon……..Well Said!! Bravo!!

    For the record, you have had my vote from the beginning. Very refreshing to be presented with a “real” person. Thank you.

  • logicalmind

    Hey Symon, if that is really you. I had hear a rumor on another board that Ruhlman was actually at your wedding. Can you clarify whether this is true or not? Were Andrew and Donatella there as well?

    On a side note, nobody is questioning your skills as a chef. At least I am not. You could easily win whether ruhlman is a judge or not. My beef basically comes down to the fact that rulhman personally benefits from you being on the show. Whether that is because people wanting more information about you are going to buy more of his books. Or whether your success is going to benefit cleveland as a food city. Let’s face it, food network is new york based. Inserting a cleveland chef into that scene is going to be beneficial for you and ruhlman. I don’t see how any of the other two judges benefit from any other potential winner. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  • janet

    Ruhlman: “janet, please. you are investing a little too much of yourself in the verdict. this is not law, this isn’t journalism. if i was ever out of line, don’t you think it would be obvious?”

    No, not necessarily, especially not to the viewer, since, as has been pointed out ad nauseum, the show is heavily edited. But again, it doesn’t matter whether or not you were “out of line.” It doesn’t matter whether or not you try to be fair. Frankly, I would have thought that Symon would object to your being a judge, given how it will look to some people — especially people who dislike you and/or him — if he wins.

    Your only response to questions about sexism, racism, or favoritism on the show has been to be snotty. I can guarantee that if Symon wins, more people will be accusing you of favoritism, so you might want to come up with a better response. But that’s your lookout.

    And now, as you suggested, I will go do something more useful.

  • Warren Hampton

    Help me with this one. There is a specific discussion about how altitude and cabin pressure effects your ability to taste resulting in you having to season the dishes differently, more intensely. Why bother mentioning it and then have everyone dine on the ground in the airplane hanger.

    How exactly is an accurately is the consideration of how the dish is seasoned and whether it will be enjoyed on the FLIGHT if you eat it on the ground?

    While I might like Besh and have enjoyed his food, you get the impression the food was were not heavily seasoned. At 10,000 feet would his dishes been flavorless and Constentios or Sanchez’ better?

    I agree with you on the comsume issue. A Napoleon unfortunately now just means anything stacked on a plate.

  • Kansas City rube

    It’s not surprising at all that Symon knows all three judges. It’s the same in the world of law with nearly all the judges and lawyers knowing each other. And most judges think they will have no problem remaining completely objective during a trial but often recuse themselves because the rules say they must based on some financial/familial connection. Believe me, like Ruhlman, they all think they can remain objective and wouldn’t recuse themselves if they had a choice.

    The rules are set up to maintain the illusion of impartiality, which is just that: an illusion. To some, the recusal rules seem pretty silly but I think they are also useful in maintaining the public’s faith in our system. When judging something, we all come in with biases but that doesn’t mean we’re not capable of reaching the right decision.

    The Cleveland/”Soul of a Chef” connection is pretty substantial, though. Again, I think Ruhlman is perfectly capable of remaining objective and if I were him, I never would have turned down the job. But I am a little surprised that the FN people didn’t see the relationship as a problem and let it slide.

    I also agree that it is only TV and all in good fun, so the janets out there really need to lighten up. But I think you can also make the argument that to the chefs who are trying to win and the people who work at their restaurants, this is more than just a silly show. The opportunity to be Iron Chef could mean a great deal of money and exposure for a lot of people.

    Personally, I’m glad to see Ruhlman on there because I respect the hell out of him and I find his comments insightful. He is without a doubt one of the greatest food scholars out there. Whoever questioned his credentials either knows nothing about him or is flat-out stupid.

  • dan s.

    Janet, what about Andrew, Donatella and Alton? Didn’t know Mr. Ruhlman alone had the power to crown the Next Iron Chef.

  • Andrew

    I have a question about the ‘consommé.’ I often make fruit consommé by using gelatin and the freezer. Harold McGee recently wrote about this. Does this count as a real consommé?

  • janet

    For the record, I have never said that the show is a set-up. I have never said that Ruhlman would intentionally favor Symon. I have never said that there was a racist or sexist conspiracy. Please respond (if you must respond at all) to what I have said, not to a caricature of what you think I said. Kay?

    Now I’m really turning off the computer.

  • allie

    janet, you accuse him of being racist, sexist, and favoring one contestant, and you’re surprised that his response isn’t more pleasant?

    I think you’d be hard-pressed to find qualified judges/food critics who aren’t acquainted with at least one of the contestants. and they’re certainly familiar with the reputations of these chefs, so there’s no way to go into that situation completely unbiased. that aside, that’s why there are three judges, and I doubt any of them would take kindly to obvious biases on the part of the others. do you really think michael’s friendship with symon has had more of an impact on the competition than knowlton’s seemingly unreasonable dislike of sanchez?

    regardless, if ethics are of that much importance to you, I would suggest avoiding reality tv altogether.

  • Shelley

    I think it’s cool that Mr. Symon himself contributed to this thread. Just one more reason I’ll be rooting for him to be an iron chef! Now, if I could only find a legitimate reason to visit Cleveland…

  • Not gullible

    It seems as if anyone can pose as anyone on this here blog. I wouldn’t be so quick to attribute the above post to Chef Symon.

    Will the real Chef Symon please stand up?

  • LauraTheRed

    I think that both Ruhlman and Symon do possess the maturity and professionalism to treat this competition with objectivity and fairness. This whole “Youjustwonbecausehe’syourFRIEND!” stance is incredibly childish, not to mention this point of view obscenely overlooks the facts that these are grown, educated professionals just doing what they’re called to do, and also that Ruhlman is only 1/4 of the vote. It’s not like Michael Symon’s drinking buddies are on the panel. For christ sake, grow up.

    BTW, Allie, that last sentence was very well-said 🙂

  • Tags

    Not gullible:

    Did you not enter an email address when you posted?

    So did everyone else. If Michael R saw an email different from the one he corresponds with Michael S on, don’t you think he’d call him on it?

  • not gullible


    Are you assuming that Mr. Ruhlman has nothing better to do all day than to read the posts on his blog?

    Surely that won’t help pay the mortgage.

    Have you wired any money to a Nigerian prince lately?

  • Claudia

    Oh, dear God, it’s Monday, and the trolls are out AGAIN.

    Michael, I hope the beer mugs WERE twice the size of your head, writer’s embellishment notwithstanding. Has no one heard of satire around here?

    Please tell Cosentino I sympathize with him – the KS cameramen do know, from experience, how close in to get. Even Alton, who I snipped at just last week for getting too close to the chefs when they’re in the weeds and making them talk about it, wisely stayed out of Cosentino’s way. I don’t think CC is an asshole – I think he was working under tough conditions made tougher by the scoring of “video gold”. And I don’t think Cosentino got sent home because he was a Not Ready For Prime Time player this week, either. I really thing the judges (who didn’t see the camera issue) judged him on his food.

    The Symon/Ruhlman ethics issue is getting real tired. For chrissakes, Ruhlman busted him right at the beginning for using his pastry chefs’ recipe – which no other judge called him out on, or COULD call him out on, since Ruhlman has an encyclopedic knowledge of Symon’s cooking. Let’s give THAT one a rest, hmmm? Every freaking Monday with that issue . . .

    But Ruhlman, no matter what you say, a lot of us DO think Knowlton is a prissy little pudknocker. Sorry, dude.

    Oh, and Not Gullible – Ruhlman does check the tags occassionally. When there’s an issue.

  • gfweb

    This whole conflict of interest thing is interesting/depressing. By the reasoning of many of you, the more prominent a reviewer is… the less able he is to be impartial because he has met/known more people. So therefore only the inexperienced should be allowed to judge a competition?

  • thespian

    I completely understood where Cosentino was coming from on the camera issue; they also showed Symon almost running into the guy with the lights at one point, and while he didn’t swear, he sure looked like he wanted to. Everything I saw about the German crew said to me that they didn’t have the slightest idea how to shoot around working chefs. Cutting behind Symon, in front of a pot of boiling water? That was BEYOND unsafe; when I have to do something like that in a kitchen, I announce it from 3-4 feet away, “I AM GOING BEHIND YOU, CHEF,’ and I don’t do it UNTIL I know they heard me. I had wondered if Cosentino wasn’t overreacting, myself, until I saw that fuck up, and it became obvious that the camera team was being unsafe and foolish.

    Diverging: I recently discovered that when Kaysen was in France for the Bocuse d’Or, one of the reasons he was penalized was because a French dishwasher assumed that a couple of chicken wings for his plate were discards, and ate them. Following on the recent issue with the FN techs moving his cooler in a way that the food wound up submerged, I’m wondering if the issue isn’t that Kaysen should just keep his eye on his food AT ALL TIMES! Never let it out of your sight again, and you should be good to go! 😉

  • Natalie Sztern

    at least it’s not me this time….Kansas City Rube your first paragraph belongs on the bible in every courtroom in the country and in Canada, either you are a lawyer or a litigant but either way you are definitely no virgin of the justice system…

  • Kalyne

    First, I don’t think there’s a chance in Hell that post was really Symon’s. C’mon, people!

    Second, re: ethics. I’m enjoying Michael’s insider perspective, but I still have to give Janet some support for her point. If Cosentino was Knowlton’s good buddy, we’d all be griping like crazy about AK’s bias. It’s fair to question if anyone should be allowed to judge a contest where their friend is a competitor .

    Personally–no reflection on Michael Ruhlman–but I think the answer to that should always be, “No.”

    I don’t fault him for doing it (as he says, who could resist this opportunity?) But I do fault FN. There are many, many other people who could have judged this, untainted by close ties to any of the chefs. Whether friendship has impact or not on the outcome, it just isn’t right, in principle.

    Re: Cosentino. Thanks to MR for sharing the email. If it’s any consolation, I assumed FN had to use German cameramen who were being unusually annoying (innocently or on purpose). FN shouldn’t have edited it the way they did–but I’m sure a lot of the audience understood that the problem wasn’t Chris.

  • Dianne

    Michael, of the flowing locks, I’m amazed at your comments about the intrusiveness of the camera crew, but very glad you made mention of the problem.

    This seems to show a bias of some sort from the FN editors. Why in the world would they want to make Chris out to be some sort of nasty prima dona? I know that manufactured drama is inherent in any “reality” show, even a cooking one, but why would they do this? Prior to this episode, he was one of my faves. After this episode, I thought “If he can’t handle these guys, he’ll never make it on IC.”

    I think next years’ contest, if there is one, deserves a new editor and production crew.

  • logicalmind

    Imagine you are writing a biography of a person starting a business. You follow that person for months. You learn about their family, you meet their wife and kids. You live through their highs and lows watching as the emotional side of the business takes its toll on the person and his family. You would have to get really close to this person to do a good job. You’d be a robot if you didn’t. Most likely, in the end this person is a good friend of yours. Heck, you may even be invited to their wedding. May even be a drinking buddy that you meet up with at the velvet tango room on the weekends.

    If you were now asked to judge the person to which you followed and became so close with, could you do it impartially? Knowing of this persons struggles. Knowing of the impact that what you say will have on the life and family of this person? Rulhman says he can, so we all must believe that.

    But this is the kind of relationship we’re talking about here. This is basically what Ruhlman did with Symon. If you read the book(Soul of a Chef) you will see that they became incredibly close. So anyone trying to write this off as just some industry acquaintance is not correct.

  • JMW

    It’s definitely a shame to see Cosentino presented in this light. The producers have tried from the start to characterize him as somewhat irascible (as TC did to Hung from the start); the editing is preposterous.

    I can’t say I know the man, but I’ve eaten at Incanto a few times now recently and he’s not exactly charging around his (relatively small) kitchen with horns forward.

    At any rate — I have to reiterate that I just don’t get the point of this challenge. I understood the molecular gastronomy challenge because it represented the cutting edge that an Iron Chef should know. But why should an Iron Chef be good at using a blast freezer to preserve “product” in this way?

    Would it also be an appropriate Iron Chef challenge, for example, to have the chefs prepare the Next Generation of Keebler Snack plates with custom crackers?

    What bothers me about the TC connection isn’t that it’s the same challenge, per se. But rather it represents the same intention to infuse the show with blunt cross-promotion. The only thing missing is Padma’s deadpan endorsement — campy to the point of hilarity.

    So where are we going with this, Mr Ruhlman? Will you preside over the final challenge in a Campbell soup factory? Then the winner gets their face on their own Iron Chef-branded chunky soup?

    The first-class challenge is dangerously close to Chicken Ceasar territory. Ironic it almost brought down Cosentino; he represents everything airline food isn’t (and never will, or should, be).

  • ruhlman

    fyi, it was symon. the address on the post was symon’s e-mail address. I know this because we are so close (and because he’s promised to put my kids through private school and cover our mortgage–out of his own generosity, of course).

  • French Laundry at Home

    Ruhlman, I think you should shave your head and grow a soul patch tonight so that not only can you and Symon be BFFs, you can also look like twins since people here in the comments section think you’re joined at the hip. Maybe also exchange matching bracelets or something just to show your undying love for one another. I know — get a big ole bicep tattoo of a heart with Symon’s likeness on it. Precious. What’s that sound you hear? Oh, that’d be my eyes rolling.

  • JoPin Omaha

    I’ve been trying to bite my tongue, but logicmind got to me..

    I have read “Soul of a Chef,” and ya know what? I don’t doubt Rulman’s ability to judge the food, not the person. Not for one second. I have complete trust that Ruhlman’s opinions are based on the food. Period.

    Those who think otherwise should take their complaints to FN… does no good to complain here. Can we PLEASE move on to another topics????

  • logicalmind

    I don’t understand why you like to downplay your relationship with Symon. Clearly you two are close, or were close at one time. If it’s a non-issue in terms of your impartiality, why not just disclose what your relationship actually is rather than having people guess about it. If you haven’t gone to his wedding then say so. If you haven’t been to velvet tango room with him in two years then say so. Lets see some full disclosure. End the speculation.

  • Pablo Machio

    People don’t think they’re joined at the hip, but Ruhlman did write about Symon extensively in his book. There’s no denying it. Go ahead and exaggerate people’s concerns and comments without fact, French Laundry. You are simply a fanboy sucking up to Ruhlman and it’s rather transparent.

    What’s that sound I hear? It’s French Laundry wiping the brown off his nose as his eyes roll.

  • ruhlman

    logicalmind, sorry, i honestly didn’t know there was actual speculation. Michael and I have been friends since before soul of a chef. This is well known. I did go to his wedding, which coincided with soul of a chef work, as i recall. I have never been to velvet tango with him, though i wouldn’t hesitate to. happy to answer any genuine questions about this.

    but tomorrow… i have spent too much time with this post today, this blog will drive me crazy.

  • Brenda Mac

    Perhaps all of this “relationship” business, is none of ours. Please allow the gentlemen to get onto more important issues, such as having private lives.

    Now where were we…………? Oh yeh, TNIC.

  • Kansas City rube

    I don’t doubt Ruhlman at all but is it really that hard to understand why other people might perceive a problem? I find it difficult to believe that you all can’t even fathom that this reaction would come from certain factions. It should have been expected and that’s why I think it’s FN’s fault. I don’t think you have to think there’s actual bias to understand why some people object.

    JoP, the reason the discussion continues here is that some posters and even Ruhlman himself have been pretty flippant and dismissive.

  • Kalyne

    “Those who think otherwise should take their complaints to FN… does no good to complain here. Can we PLEASE move on to another topics????”

    Well, it’s a blog about NIC, after all. I think the comments about the ethics of the show definitely belong here (they can always be deleted if ruhlman gets sick to death of them. Until then, it’s a VERY fair discussion point, imo–even more so as the competition progresses.)

    And public criticism is the price of deciding to do the judging this way–with a close friend of one chef on board as a judge. (And if that’s really Symon, well the “Actually I’m good friends with ALL the judges” defense is a pretty ROFL one, when you think about it. That addresses the “fairness to all” question…how?)

    The concept of this show is fun, and they have great talent. I’m just frustrated with the producers because they’ve missed out on a lot of great opportunities to showcase these chefs by trying instead to be a “Top Chef” clone and cash in on TC’s popularity.

    To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, they should have showcased the talent they have, not the (lower-level) talent they (apparently) wish they had.

  • sailorgrrl07

    I’d like to suggest that we all keep in mind that Mr. Ruhlman doesn’t owe us this blog, we’re fortunate he’s devoting time to helping us get involved in the show. Remember gang this is, after all, *television*….I would like to see a little less sanctimonious-ness (not a word) regarding his involvement. Just my two cents.


  • The P/A

    Crisis, people, some of these comments went too far.

    Ruhlman, if you’re still reading these comments, you can dodge the daggers.

    The have-nots will always be gunning for you.

    Ignore them.

  • Dianne

    I agree! C’mon! Ruhlman is giving us a birds-eye view that we’d never see elsewhere. Let’s say “thanks!” and give him a break!

  • BiteNotBark

    If you think about how many of the chefs knew or worked with each other just in this group of 8, there’s little chance that they don’t have some connection to the judges. The food world is indeed a small place, and everyone knows everyone else in some way, either directly or indirectly.

    A good deal of the production team was based on the same floor as my office at the CIA during the filming, I can say from our observations that the judges seemed to take their jobs pretty darn seriously – I saw Knowlton going out of his way to re-route his walk to the filiming location because of where the contestants were, and also saw Donatella hanging around in wardrobe and hair/make-up because a few of the chefs were doing “confessionals” in a nearby room and she knew they were walking around. But the kicker? The day Ruhlman was forced to use the ladies room near my office because all of the contestants were mingling in the hallway he would have to walk down to get to the mens room, and he told my colleague “No, I can’t walk down there. I can’t interact with them, it’s not appropriate.” If the judges weren’t concerned about this production and their participation in it, I don’t think we would have seen anything like this.

    (And although I know my co-worker was a little surprised to “meet” you in our ladies room, I for one am grateful that you didn’t want there to be any impression of fraternization/favoritism, real or implied.)

  • Susan

    I’m not a chef and certainly not out to “get” you. In fact, I’m one of the people that buys and likes your books. However, I’ve had it with the overly critical eye of the judges. Give it a rest and go have a fast food burger. Maybe then the excellent food put in front of you might taste less than cardboard and more sublimely wonderful.

  • IGIF

    Thank you, Michael Ruhlman, for sticking with this blog and occasionally responding to a lot of unnecessary BS about “conflict”! In my opinion, you have the integrity to judge the food, not the chef, and in doing so, may even err on the opposite side just to be “fair”. And Chef Symon…God bless him! He is SO neat (sorry, I’m 65 — could have said swell)– such a gifted chef, entertaining personality, and, if I weren’t living on SocSec in FL, I would be happy to meet him for a couple of drinks and laughs, too. I’d even go to his renewal of vows, since I didn’t make the wedding. Give this up, you guys. Enjoy what back knowledge we get from Mr. Ruhlman’s blog and just email each other so this whole comment section doesn’t get overwhelmed by this holier-than-thou, you cheated!, he can’t possibly be objective, etc. contingent. Ruhlman rocks, and I love Bourdain, too! Rooting for Symon and Besh and don’t think one judge will decide the outcome. Thank you again, Mr. Ruhlman.

  • stephanie

    Well said, IGIF, and LONG past due.

    Mr. Ruhlman, I would like to thank you for your insider view of this show. I look forward to every blog post, NIC, or otherwise. Please don’t let the trolls stop you from providing your insight to those of us that truly appreciate it. Unfortunately, some people are so miserable in their own lives that they need to cause strife for everyone around them.

  • Christie

    It’s hard for me to be impartial when I’ve got the hots for Michael Symon. But after watching this last episode I can honestly say I’d be happy with either a Symon or Besh win. Either of those two will make a fine Iron Chef.

    I just wonder if either of those two can give us that stern, serious “Iron Chef look” in Kitchen Stadium. “Okay, take 56!”

  • WhatisCanadianCuisine?

    I also wanted to say thanks. I come here after every episode and during the week and truly enjoy reading this blog. I’m so sorry the trolls are trying to ruin it. Please do ignore them, they’re probably just bitter or looking for someone to blame(pathetic)!

    Seriously, there are a lot of us who enjoy all your updates, all your informative blog posts and your responses. The trolls will be long gone after TNIC is over, and the rest of us will still be around to enjoy your articles and comments.

    I for one, am grateful for you and Tony’s existance!

  • Francesca

    I am disappointed by the judges. I don’t think that the judges were picked appropriately. For me, I feel that these Chef’s should be judged by other respected and established Chef’s. It is a bit of an insult to be judged by people who have had no formal training to be a Chef. I would just expect the best to decide who is the next Iron Chef.

    I feel as if the audience has not received explanations for the elimination of the Chef’s. All I hear is whining from the judges, mainly Andrew and yourself. I have nothing to say about Donatella…she does not impress me either. I just want to put out there that I have had no formal training from a Culinary School but was raised in a family with cooking being a central part of our lives and my sister attended the CIA. I think she should be a judge…I mean she went to the CIA for longer than 9 months. I guess I should not be trivial but my point in being this way is because of how the judges have come across to me. I expect so much more and have been so disappointed by the judges. I feel FN could have and should have had a higher standard in picking the judges. These trivial fights are just tasteless. Nothing that you or Andrew have been bickering about has any merit…it is as if the two of you are having a pissing contest to come across as the most knowledgeable. Well, when critiquing you should have facts to back you up and not your opinion. That is how the judges are coming across….childish.

    If there will be another series for the NIC I hope that FN take the time to find judges who can be more detailed and factual about the elimination. As I said, the judges have been a disappointment.

  • Vanessa

    Loved it, loved it, loved it. Symon was excellent, Michael was too. I especially liked the shot of Michaels hand jotting notes as he ate…impressive skills you’ve got there my man…I can’t eat and write….I can eat and read though.

    Symon rules.

    Thanks Michael.

  • Shelley

    Francesca, perhaps you should READ this thread before you post a comment. Been there, heard that. And many of us couldn’t disagree with you more! What you see is all about editing, not about what actually goes on in this competition.

    I, too, am getting tired of all the snarky whiners here.

  • Todd

    I wonder how many people who are judging the judges have credentials as TV critics…

    This panel is better than 99% of the ICA judging panels (and light years ahead of any panel that has Mo Rocca on it, as funny as those might be).

    They’re all qualified.

    As far as this episode, why did Sanchez go? Uh, his fish was terrible. Yeah that got the snarky edit, but… if the judges agree that the fish skin was soggy, that’s enough to tell me they’re right in their choice. I’ve had soggy fish skin. It’s gross. You don’t need any culinary background to tell you it’s not a good thing.

    Why was Cosentino there at the last two? He threw a gallon of chives on undercooked cauliflower. It looked like crap on a plate and with those competing strong flavors, I can’t imagine it doing anything but overpowering the other ingredients (which, consequently, the judges implied). Raw cauliflower is unpleasant in all but a small handful of composed dishes. (And anyone who watched the top chef episode… cauliflower, planes? eew.)

    I think the show misses its mark only because these chefs are being asked to do things that they wouldn’t normally do as part of an Iron Chef competition. Well… that and I just don’t like andrew. Didn’t like him before NIC, don’t like him now.

    In the end, I really hope Symon wins it and I’m not really that big of a Symon fan. I think he’s played fair during the challenges where they could screw each other over (putting the unused proteins back, picking a wide range of ingredients for the paired chef) and his edits don’t show him insulting the others’ food.

    All of the other chefs have stumbled big at some point and the ones that haven’t (Besh, in particular in this last episode) have good sound bites where they’re bashing others’ food (“I guess I’ll just use olive oil and garlic like everyone else…”).

    If it comes down to who wins the last challenge, though, the fatal flaw will be revealed if that person wasn’t consistently at the top of their game. The chairman wants wins? Then they’d be best off picking the guy who won challenges 2, 3 and 5 and 6, and not the one who only won 1 and 8.

    Ugh… ramble. Thanks for the Forum, Ruhlman. The popularity of the show and your willingness exposes you to the snark. It’s a sad fact, but…

  • allie

    “Nothing that you or Andrew have been bickering about has any merit…it is as if the two of you are having a pissing contest to come across as the most knowledgeable. Well, when critiquing you should have facts to back you up and not your opinion.”

    francesca, as none of have tasted any of the food, it’s difficult to say which critiques have merit and which don’t. and since we only see about 5 minutes of their deliberations anyway, who are you to characterize it as a “pissing contest”?

    either way, claiming that food should be judged based on facts and not “opinion” is just plain silly. presumably you think food should be judged on taste, and that is, by definition, an opinion.

  • rmw

    ya know…i blogged long ago..I watch for the escapism (sp?) My family of 4 watch to get out of reality..our lives our busy, hetic, money pressures, bills, dues, kids sick, elder parents is too short to spend this amount of time on a damn TV show…..enjoy it for what it IS…FUN..escape….don’t judge….kick back…drink one…laugh…that is what TV is about….Ya’all BREATH….

  • rmw

    fun…you lost it long ago..if it were not for fun and laughter in life where would we be…some of you are LOST. It is not racial, sexist, YOU want it to be so you have purpose..not me…it is FuN…cooking, frenzy, cool “locks of hair” whatever…just enjoy it for what IT IS….man, I am glad I am not next to any of you in rush hour traffic!!! By the way where I live we have 3 stop lights …now that’s LIVING 🙂

  • Lovetheshow

    Frist off…Love the show.

    I agree with rmw…Breath folks, Ya have the actual people from the show blogging in. Some of you all have far too much time to write a book about the show, just enjoy, you’re not in entertainment, editing..whatever goes into the production of an actual SHOW..and if ya’ll did I’m sure it would fail cause you don’t know what it takes, so just CHILL. I’m from an entirely different profession, however it’s amazing how people are the same, they sit behind their computer’s and blog in but have no clue, or don’t want even understand what’s really going on. Great job to all the chef’s…I like all of them, it must be such a hard gig! Good Luck men!!

    BTW..I’m NOT saying I know what is going on, but I think I’ll listen to the people who ARE there…

  • rmw

    Thanks lovethe show…I on FN, like Chef MC, “Easy entertatining” the best…NEVER heard aything bad about him…he cooks…what everyone lost is… FOOD IS FUN…not politics…ya’all get your head out of your A@@ and ENJOY
    LOVE to all…rmw

  • AgentZer0

    I’ve got to call shenanigans on a couple of elements of this show.

    Firstly, there is NO WAY that each of the 4 chefs got done with their meals at EXACTLY the same time and ran EXACTLY the same speed down the hallway and made it into the room with 0 seconds to spare. This was obviously just a drama building point in the show, but I do not buy it for a second.

    Secondly, and more importantly, why all the drama about the difficulty of this challenge? And not the diffculty of the airplane re-heating, or the difference in tastebuds at altitude, but the diffculty of the time limit.

    Preparing a 3 course meal for 5 people in 90 mins is something any line cook at Ye Olde Waffle House could pull off. Simon was asked point blank how this could possibly be as difficult as a “200 cover Saturday night” and he just blubbered about how hard the challenge was. Puh-leeze.

    And no, I’m not saying I could do it. I’m not saying it’s not hard to cook world-class cuisine on a strict time limit. I’m saying that it IS easy for professional chefs to do it. It is in fact, the very DEFINITION of a chef to do it, every night. Hell even you could do it Ruhlman! Unless they made you wear a hairnet, don’t suppose you’d stand for that, eh pretty boy?? (kidding! much love!! french laundry 4 evah!!!)

  • Peter

    A few stray thoughts on reading this (wouldn’t want to be left out!)…

    I’m absolutely shocked that people have such difficulty believing that someone in their capacity as judge, has the inability to remain impartial despite their relationships with the contestants; especially when under the scrutiny of television, and their fellow judges.

    In fact, you could argue that these judges might be tempted to over-compensate for that familiarity and judge too harshly! Whatever! I quite like the mix at the judges table as it stands. How many times have I cringed watching “celebrity” judges (and I use that term loosely) on shows such as ICA, etc…

    I wouldn’t like to believe that the competition is rigged, but whoever picked the chefs that appear on the show is exerting an undeniable influence. From the first episode, both Besh and Symon came across as the most polished and charismatic of the group (w.r.t. food and TV persona), as many people have noted.

    As to comments on judging the food in the last episode at ground level, and not at cruising altitude – a bit of a storm in a teacup. Surely the judges are smart enough to adequately take that into account, and the Lufthansa chef was there to offer his expert advice / opinion. I doubt he does a trans-Atlantic flight every time his team develops a new recipe 🙂

    My wish list… less host time / more cooking time; more focus on what the chefs are doing, their thought processes, and techniques; clearer and more eloquent comments and judgments on the food at elimination; and get rid of the “Chairman” and his messages by video – what a joke!

  • Jeff

    When is this going to end? Why trash and try and tarnish the integrity of two well respected individuals in the culinary world? Who really cares that Symon and Ruhlman know one another, who went to whose wedding, who wrote about who and what ever else there is to dredge up on a couple of guys who live in the same town? The only ones who can bitch about this whole situation is FN and they knew about the relationship when when they picked Symon and Ruhlman to do the show. So if you’re offended by this relationship, don’t watch the show. It’s still just entertainment.

    P.S. Bourdain, time for you to weigh in on this and help put an end to this!

  • dmbfanmd

    Here is the bigger question.

    Isn’t the whole point of this show to find the next Iron Chef? Every episode of Iron Chef America that I’ve seen has been shot in Kitchen Stadium. While making these chef jump through rediculous hoops like making airline food is “fun”, wouldn’t a NCAA style tournament be better? Making them suffer through these challenges is like training a basketball player by putting him in a batting cage. Sure, basketball and baseball are played with a ball, but the basketball player should focus on making jumpers. These challenges are still cooking, but Iron Chefs should focus on their main goal of decimating challengers in Kitchen Stadium.

  • Claudia

    Hey, sportsfans:

    TNIC is TV. It’s a SHOW. It’s supposed to be entertainment. It’s supposed to be FUN. Can we finally lay off the the International Court of Justice at the Hague crap, and leave off the Ruhlman/Symon issue once and for all? It was thrashed to death last week and the week before – Symon knows all THREE judges – and I really wish those who are weighing in on it now had bothered to read all the other posts from the last week and the week before that) before dragging this up again, ad infinitum and ad nauseum.

    I don’t care if Ruhlman and Symon are buying each other jewelry and exchanging pinky promises. I don’t care if they’re sipping bacon ice cream milk shakes together. If you have a problem watching Ruhlman judge, then – hey! – don’t watch the show.

    Personally, I think the dynamic you should be watching is not whether Ruhlman can judge a Symon dish without wanting to go grab a pig trotter sandwich with him, but whether this will be the week that 6’4″ Michael actually bench-presses Pissypants Knowlton over his head and into a giant panini press. Croque Piss’iuer, indeed. Now THAT would be some damn fine TV, folks, don’tcha think?

    Somebody PLEASE tell Knowlton that whipstitching is SO 2 years ago, and white whipstich on a navy jacket is not whimsical, but tacky. Looks like his bespoke haberdasher did not finish the jacket before Knowlton picked it up . . dear God. He isn’t making a fashion statement – he’s a mess!

    Oh, and yes – as dmbfanmd said, could they please focus on the goal of terrific chefs trying to produce fabulous food on the fly, until tight time constraints, in Kitchen Stadium? Or were they too busy taping IC in it?

  • Kalyne

    From BiteNotBark above, in support of the Ruhlman/Symon connection:

    “The day Ruhlman was forced to use the ladies room near my office because all of the contestants were mingling in the hallway he would have to walk down to get to the mens room, and he told my colleague ‘No, I can’t walk down there. I can’t interact with them, it’s not appropriate.'”

    ROFL. If those of you who keep telling anyone critical of this show to STFU don’t see the…uh…irony…of that anecdote, what can I say?

    (Hint: It’s highly compromising to one’s ethics to pee at adjacent urinals, but not to be close personal friends away from the show.)

    And controversy is mother’s milk to blogs. Don’t worry about it!

  • Tom H

    In any competition, when the outcome isn’t going the way someone wants it to, their first refuge is always to blame the referees.

    I speculated last year on eGullet that the winner was pre-judged on Cooking Under Fire, and Ruhlman set me straight in a convincing and respectful manner. I’ve been a fan ever since.

    I completely believe he is judging this fairly and honestly, like the others. In many cases, having a relationship with a contestant will cause a judge subconsciously to actually be a little more harsh on a person than if they didn’t know each other. So, “Lighten up, Francis’es”.

    That of course was not an A380 in the hanger, esepcially since only Singapore Airlines will be taking delivery for the next year or more. The A380 is twice as tall as that jet with a pronounced bulge above the cockpit.

    And there ARE beer steins larger than a human head in Austria. I know… I’ve partaken from them many times! Made the poor choice to chug 2 liters of Kloster Muelln festbier from a giant stein on a dare once.

    Hang in there, Ruhlman. Don’t let the trolls frustrate you and cause you to lose interest in this blog. This is where I go first when I log on every morning and I appreciate the effort you put forth to keep it fresh and informative.

    And try the Bauernschmaus next…


    Tom H

  • Claudia

    I’m REALLY glad to hear there are beer steins bigger than a human head in Austria – talk about the “VOW” factor.

    The only thing funnier than Cosentino apparently understanding The Chairman’s last bit of instructions in German or John Besh’s drawled good ol’ boy German, was Symon’s crack to Chef Schmidt – “the VOW” factor. (“[[My] food has it], yes, Chef?”) Aside from being terrific chefs, the first-class riffing by and among chefs of this caliber (as well as the boyish competitiveness and trash-talking) is a riot. They are under such pressure but they are all such pros (and obviously buds) that it’s pleasure to watch just what kind of crap Besh and Symon might pull on each other. THOSE two need their own show. Right up there with the Clooney/Pitt ratpack. Or Sinatra/Martin/Davis et al. Or the Ruhlman/Bourdain rat pack. BTW, Symon posted this on


    This was the most difficult challenge so far. I have a whole new found respect for chefs that work at airlines, it is a brutal job. The thing that made this challenge so hard wasnt the actual cooking of the product but the packing of it and thinking ahead to the reheat. After watching the battle i am certain that Chris undercooked his cauliflower thinking it would finish on the refire but you have to reheat everything in the same vessel, so if he finishes his cauliflower he overcooks his venison. Which is why you really had to think about reheating in advance and how things would react to it. The way it worked was we had to cook everything and then pack it. It sat in a chiller for 24 hours and then we recooked it. That is alot of time for something to go wrong (its not like reheating Thanksgiving leftovers!!!>>lol) The strangest thing about watching these though is the editing. John and i were in seperate kitchens from Aaron and Chris for this battle so we couldnt tell what the other chefs were doing or their stress levels(Chris is really a great guy even it it seemed as if he was going to kill a cameraman!!)..its so interesting to see it all come together..The other thing that was hard to tell is that we were all completely exhausted at this point. Filming for about 18 hours sraight plus jet lag, etc..made this battle exceptionally difficult. In the end I was really bummed to see Aaron go he is one of my closer friends in the bussiness and a great chef. No one does Nuevo Latino better!!…So off to Paris we go, sleep deprived and ready for the next battle which dear I say was even harder than this one!!!…live to cook, ms


  • logicalmind

    Ruhlman, in all honesty it doesn’t really matter what I think. I’m just some random poster on your blog. The people that this should matter to are the contestants in the competition. If they feel they’ve gotten a fair shake then that is really all that matters. Do you talk to the other contestants on the show? Are they aware of this issue and do they care. I have a feeling that it will all depend on who wins. But it’s not going out on limb to say either besh or symon will take this. I would particularly like to hear how besh feels about it all. I would venture to guess that if he wins he won’t care in the least.

    P.S. how are “Soul of Chef” book sales lately? 😉

  • Sara

    “I’m REALLY glad to hear there are beer steins bigger than a human head in Austria – talk about the “VOW” factor.”

    EINE MAß, BITTE!!!

    (one small point — Munich is in Germany, not Austria)

    For the non-German speakers (and I include myself in that category) “Eine maß, bitte” translates roughly to “A liter of beer, please.” Those are the ginat steins, the ones the Haufbrauhaus is famous for, the kind you get all over Munich and Germany that are dangerous and unbelievably delicious. I was in Munich for about a week last summer (Ruhlman — did you guys get time to explore? Munich is one of my favorite places, ever) during the world cup, and I drank so many liters of beer I’m shocked I survived. There are several awesome pics on the intarwebs (on FACEBOOK, so no searchin for you guys!) of me holding four, five, six, a thousand of those delicious, delicious beverages.

    Even the hangovers felt good.

  • jsmeeker


    Thanks for these blog entries. I’ve really enjoyed reading them and have pointed them out to friends of mine that are also enjoying “Next Iron Chef America”. You provide a lot of good insight. I’m also glad you are able to share some comments from some of the contestants (Chris and Michael)

    I too trust your judging. You’re a respectable guy. The show is on commerical TV and is mostly (or entirely) about entertaining the audience. I think it delivers on that count (eventhough it suffers from some of the same elements that plauge other reality shows with eliminations)

    I’ll be in Cleveland on Friday, and you have pretty much everything to do with it. I have some friends up there, but probably wouldn’t be visiting if I didn’t know about Lola and Chef Symon and Velvet Tango room. Add in Bourdain’s visit to Cleveland for “No Reservations” and you made a guy get really jazzed up to visit Cleveland. Been looking forward to it for weeks!!

    (too much ass kissing here? Hmmm OK… Ruhlman.. Get a haircut!! 😉 )


  • Kansas City rube

    None of the chefs are going to complain. There are class acts and I’m sure all friends with each other by now. Complaining would just make them look worse and bring even more negative press to their restaurants. Their fans (whose dollars Food Network advertisers are targeting) will do their complaining for them. So I would think FN would be very worried about the public perception of the integrity of the judging. Again, I don’t think fair judging has been an issue at all but I’m surprised that FN didn’t foresee people raising an eyebrow. Ruhlman, how much did they talk about it with you before the show? Did they seem concerned about public perception?

  • syoung68

    chadzilla mentioned it in a previous post, but I was actually a little surprised that none of the chefs used the sous vide method for fish. It is PERFECT for airline food and is delicious. The one caveat is the texture is not the normal “flaky” fish.

  • logicalmind

    People keep saying this is “just a show”, but to these chef’s I don’t think it is. The winner is going to have a pretty big change in their life. I would expect additional income from being on iron chef regularly, the ability to promote their restaurant during their appearances, the possibility of getting their own show, book deals, increased tourism dollars to cleveland/new orleans for people wanting to visit their restaurants, etc. Not to mention the acclaim of being a food network celebrity. The difference between one of these chefs winning and losing means a lot to their career, the city in which they work, and the authors who have written biographies about them. It’s the difference between being just another competitor and being the next Mario Batali, Bobby Flay, etc.

  • NOLA source

    logicalmind asks a good question–

    “Ruhlman, in all honesty it doesn’t really matter what I think. I’m just some random poster on your blog. The people that this should matter to are the contestants in the competition. If they feel they’ve gotten a fair shake then that is really all that matters. Do you talk to the other contestants on the show? Are they aware of this issue and do they care. I have a feeling that it will all depend on who wins.”

    word on the street in New Orleans is that some people saw it as a problem during the competition. i’m sure that camp is too professional to say anything publicly.

    given how professional the contestants are, anybody else wonder if the producers decided to make the judges the evil ones? maybe the producers knew about the possible issue and thought it would be fodder for drama? did Ruhlman get set up?

  • stephanie

    Completely off topic…

    I visited my local Borders during lunch today, all excited to buy your new book, only to be disappointed to find it’s not being released until next Tuesday???!!!

    But, then I remembered, you had made mention of selling autographed copies thru your site…

    Is that still a possibility?

  • sailorgrrl07

    Francis, thanks very much for those photos. As a designer, the visual aspect of a restaurant is a huge part of my experience. Look at the lighting, the only word I can think to describe it is “seductive”. Like, sex is about to happen all over the place. Only it’s eating, not the other thing. I would love to experience this place. The ambience paired with Symon’s wicked laugh… what a special evening. Thanks again.

  • Claudia

    Sara, I’m well aware that Munich is Austria. But if they have steins bigger than a human head in Austria, chances are (as Ruhlman stated) they have them in Germany, too. Danke.

    And logicalmind – while IC might raise a chef’s profile a bit, it will NOT make or break them. Seriously. Do you think IC “made” Bobby Flay or Batali? They were both NY superstars well before IC, and already had their own nationwide “empires” in the works. Do you seriously think Traci des Jardins’ career is going to crumble because she got booted? The chefs may take the competition seriously – they may even want the IC gig for a while – but chefs like Cosentino et al. not only will do JUST fine if they don’t win, but will almost certainly have plans afoot to expand, to get into merchandizing, to Pr themselves heavily (by doing gigs like SoBe, for instance, not IC), without having a weekly show or their favorite cutlery flogged through the FN store.

    Here’s an even more startling thought – RUHLMAN’S career, too, will survive TNIC! (And this blog, the way it’s going this week.)

  • Frances

    I’m glad you liked the pictures of Lola sailorgrrl07. 🙂 You’ve given a very apt description of the mood conveyed in the photos! I forgot to include this one, which I think is the most striking one:

    When Chris Schramm was showing me progress photos of the plaster finishes (which I can’t lay my hands on, argh), I saw that red wall and my immediate thought was “REDRUM!” Of course I told him and of course he laughed.

  • mirinblue

    This is a television show…ENTERTAINMENT!! This is not a court of law, no one is on trial for murder here, Symon is FAB, Ruhlman deserves to judge, everyone knows everyone, who the hell cares if Cleveland breaks into the NYC market, and on and on and on!
    Food is fun, people, food is love! Stop taking this to court and RELAX! AB, MR, MS-love you all. Rock on Brothers~~

  • Christie

    Posted by: logicalmind [& others] / [multiple dates & times]

    “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, Ruhlman, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, Symon, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, Ruhlman, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, Symon, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, Ruhlman, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, Symon, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, Ruhlman, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, Symon, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, Ruhlman, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, Symon, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”

    Please remember people:

    This is Ruhlman’s blog, not The Food Network’s.

    The Next Iron Chef is The Food Network’s show, not Ruhlman’s. (Consequently, they hired him to be a judge, he didn’t hire himself!)

    If you have a problem with the integrity of the show take it up with THE FOOD NETWORK. Ruhlman doesn’t deserve this sh*t in his personal blog. Jesus Christ!

  • Claudia

    Seconding both Christie and Mirinblue. Time not only to stop beating a dead horse, but to climb off it and stop trying to ride it.

  • Sara

    Christie: WORD.

    Claudia wrote: “Sara, I’m well aware that Munich is Austria. But if they have steins bigger than a human head in Austria, chances are (as Ruhlman stated) they have them in Germany, too. Danke.”

    Eep! Sorry! I’ve checked these comments so many times (and so many people have had so many things to say) that I didn’t even realize Ruhlman had said Austria. I’d hazard to say they have beers larger than the human head in a lot of parts of Europe. I hope I didn’t come off as a Mega-Mega Bi-Atch (TM Cartman).

  • Auralais

    Ay Yi Yi,

    You people endlessly whining about judge impartiality really need to get a life! It’s a TV SHOW, for craps sake!

    Thanks for the blog, Ruhlman, nice to get the insider perspective. Especially because given the editing a lot of the decisions don’t seem to make any sense. Sanchez’s food was great but he still got booted?

    I wish we could see more of what goes into the judgment decisions and less of the FN fluff. I know they’re trying to up the drama and all, but after hearing your commentary on the food, the decision still didn’t make sense.

  • latenac

    I’ve been enjoying the show. I thought Costentino would be the one going though. I wish the show did show a little more of the judging but that’s my favorite part of these cooking shows.

    I know the challenges aren’t in Kitchen Stadium but I thought the show has done a good job in linking the qualities they look for in an Iron Chef with the challenges (see the episode titles). I don’t think you’d be able to link the qualities as concretely with a typical Iron Chef challenge. Frankly they’re also more interesting to watch than just a series of Iron Chef challenges.

  • The Professor

    Words are powerful. Harsh remarks can cause a destructive chain reaction, like a match in the forest during a drought. Kind comments feel like a light summer rain that brings relief from the heat of the day.Don’t be a hater…be a congratulator.

  • logicalmind

    I’m sure rulhman appreciates his fanboys defending him. And I’m sure you wish I would just drop it and return to discussing his hair. But if you forgot, this is ruhlman’s blog. He has the power to do whatever he wants. This is his turf. He can edit or delete anyones posts here, including mine. He specifically said yesterday “happy to answer any genuine questions about this.” So that is what myself and other people are doing. Believe it or not, I like ruhlman. I bought all of his books. I pre-ordered his new book. But that doesn’t mean I have to swoon over him and defend him. He’s a big boy, he can take care of his own business. He can handle it just fine when someone calls him out. How dare I judge a judge.

    The topic of this blog post is “The Next Iron Chef” and my posts are relevant to that topic. And like I said, if ruhlman doesn’t like it he can simply delete my posts. I really don’t care as much as everyone thinks I do. There are some people who care much more than I do. Particularly the contestants involved. But that will all play out in the end. Believe me, investors (including myself) are watching.

    And I never said that losing this show was gonna break anyone. But I absolutely guarantee that the winner will be made by winning. That includes significant increases in income and celebrity. And all that entails. If you don’t realize that the food network is a business and the food is secondary you are a bit dense. Just watch a few shows (ray ray, sandra lee, etc.) and tell me it’s about the food. Ruhlman ain’t judging this show for free my friends.

    And Mario Batali and Bobby Flay may have been known in new york before being on the food network, but the reason that people around the country know them and buy their books is because of the food network. You ask any random person throughout the country who Mario is and they’ll say “yeah, the guy from molto mario”. Then you ask them to name one of his restaurants. Unless they are a serious foodie or live in new york, they can’t answer that question. He has food network to thank for that celebrity.

    You guys think these contestants are simply fighting for the title “Iron Chef”? Really?