This was indeed best challenge because we truly got to know the chefs–and they all cooked to their level.  Briefly, Besh’s stew with the coxcomb was the best dish of the night–very deep complex soulful flavors, beautiful dish.  Coxcomb is more about texture than flavor and i was glad he got it in there.  I think over all even Symon would agree that if there had to be a choice of a winner, it would have gone to Besh.

That said, Symon’s two forcemeat preps were impressive, delicious and smart choices.  Sausage was delicious, but too much bread so this very special creation was kind of a lost dog.

The guy to my left of Tour d’Argent was young and opinionated, that’s all.  I loved hearing all comments from the French–especially the residence chef next to Andrew.  They enjoyed the food and were unfazed by donatella’s decolleté (unlike Americans, the French have a healthy understanding of sexuality).

Most interesting was the response to Symon’s float.  They winced and shook their heads, but then started smiling till the last slurp.  They’d never encountered a carbonated ice cream drink, it seemed.  That was cool.  And the dessert was delicious.

Cosentino, so sad to see him go. What a great spirit and great visceral cook!  I liked his melon and booze dessert.  Donatella thought it showed deceptive finesse.  In the end though neither his first or second courses delivered the flavor the way Besh and Symon did.

I don’t know why i didn’t like eating besh’s dessert–the awesome berries, the great presentation.  maybe it was because he used store-bought biscuits!  (we didn’t find out till after judging.) Symon had a rough time in the kitchen with ovens going out and equipment failures and difficulty working with the sous.  Besh was cooking really strong, and his flavors were excellent.

Read Adam Roberts’s post at Food Network.

Serious Eats commentary here.

Andrew Knowlton has been quiet this morning over at bon appetit blog. Theory about this: Donatella I believe was actually turned on by Andrew’s bizarre outburst over the lobster roll and the two were seen leaving together that night; no doubt last night’s ep rekindled the smoldering, but undeniable embers.

The penultimate challenge–and one chef gets sent back to the States.  Will it be Cosentino–the clear underdog judging from people’s comments–or will Cosentino reach deep into his offal soul and pull off an upset?  Have the producers pulled a Bachelor and only made Cosentino LOOK like an underdog?  Will I continue to do nothing more than curl my lip and wince and make snotty comments about insignificant details of these great chefs’ cooking?  Find out Sunday at 9 on the Food Network.  (And don’t miss this good article on Besh, chef, restaurateur and family man, from Wednesday’s Times).

Guaranteed I’ll be opening my big fat mouth.

Post Show UPDATE:  The battle in kitchen stadium is set.  Was the result inevitable?  I have my thoughts on this, but what i loved best about tonights competition was that each chef got to cook what they wanted and each chef showed exactly who they were through their cooking. Why they had to make those damned platters that gave them so much grief, I don’t know.  But the food was who they were.


180 Wonderful responses to “Next Iron Chef in Paris”

  • ba

    sorry, my vote is definitely for donatella’s cleavage in an upset victory.

  • gfweb

    Alton looks old/angry in this photo….wrinkled brow…bulging forehead vein…jowly.

    Of course this photo was not selected for *his* blog

  • meg

    Looking pretty dapper there, Ruhlman!

    And keep up the snotty details, please. I live for snotty details.

  • Sara

    I think Ruhlman’s hair and Donatella’s cleavage should fight it out American Gladiator style for the win.

  • Rebecca

    Totally unrelated to this post:
    You appear to be coming to my culinary school (Art Institute of Seattle) soon. Yay! Do you know if there will be a cap on how many books we can bring with us to be signed?

  • artnlit

    You’re just a big tease and you know it, Ruhlman! We know all about the big, bad tv monster and its trickery. I’ve been pulling for Besh since the second episode anyway – there’s just something ON about him. That being said, he’ll probably be eliminated…

    As for the photo above, how about a contest for the best caption? Donatella is SURELY not invested in the discussion, but rather, your now beautifully maintained coif. Breck Boy has NOTHING on you, my friend!

  • brandon_w

    Cosentino for the win! I’m still wishing he would have poured hot grease on the cameraman’s head, and then threw a skillet at the producer in the last episode.

  • Tags

    All signs point to a Besh victory, especially since the FN PR machine knows who the winner is already and arranged some exposure in the Times.

    The fact that he’s a Marine can only help, especially considering his exploits after Katrina.

    But that just might be a feigned feint.

  • artnlit

    Caption for above photo:

    Michael Ruhlman, gesturing in a circular motion with his finger, explains his latest hair care technique to fellow judges on The Next Iron Chef series.

    “Beat the egg white until foamy and apply to scalp…”

    Donatella, gazing tentatively at the newly restrained locks, “Hmmm. It still could let loose and attack.”

    Knowlton, with contempt, “How DID he learn of my secret??!! Only I can have beautiful hair! Mental note – call Breck and confirm spokesmodel gig.”

    Alton, feeling the effects of multiple weeks of nonstop shooting and wondering why he is STILL there, “If only I had an egg AND vodka in the imaginary glass I’m holding – I’d SLAM it down and show all you woosies!”

  • Natalie Sztern

    There is nothing wrong with your hair, i happen to like long hair on a man unless it is in a ponytail, however i am against what looks like a comb-over on top…alton on the other hand FEH!…very nice tie, that must have been your artistic half…but next time if you are wearing a plain suit and shirt, your tie should not be a solid color, but the color is nice in that it makes a statement…and since men do not have a pair of breasts with which to speak a suit and tie need be special

  • misterybus

    I would be pissed if I was a stockholder in Breck because Knowlton’s hair always looks like it could use a good washing. Have you ever wondered what AB would look like with a full head of hair? (No, not on his face, silly, on top of his head). Isn’t it strange the things one thinks about while waiting for tomorrow night’s episode? Thank you, Ruhlman, for an enchanting and thought provoking diversion.

  • artnlit

    Misterybus – I hear ya. But Knowlton does have that shake-your-hair-out-in-slow-motion-Breck commercial-look. He must add something after shampooing to keep it so, uh, greased down. As for AB, have you not seen the photo of him in the late 70’s as a new chef? He had a ‘do’ that rock musicians would love!

  • The Place in France

    If I were Chairman, all Iron Chefs and their assistants, as well anyone else who worked near the products in Kitchen Stadium, all – would be dipped in Nair ™ the morning before competition, then buffed to the highest sheen possible.

  • Teah

    I don’t know if I get a say, but please tell Sarah to wear her hair down and straight again, like she did at the BBQ challenge. She looked fabulous that way, and it really softened her up.

    Not that I get a say.

  • fiat lux

    “… a pair of breasts with which to speak …”

    WTF? My late grandmother spent the last 25 years of her life without any breasts at all, thanks to cancer surgery. Somehow, she managed to speak just fine without them.

  • Skawt

    Everyone knows that Donatella’s tits are prehensile and have teeth. Ruhlman, your hair is doomed.

  • Christie

    Speaking of bad hair, look at that guy in the painting on the wall. Yikes!

    Besh vs Symon. That’s my wish. Then Symon for the win. I’m hypnotized by Symon’s laugh. Oh – and he’s a damn fine chef too. Think I may need to make a trip back to Cleveland soon.

  • Christie

    Hey, where’s Bourdain these days? Busy changing diapers? Tell that boy to get his priorities straight.

  • john atkinson

    i think symon and besh are americas two best semi celeb chefs. these guys both deserve to be on the podium. can’t we trade the two of them for bobby flay? is it just me and every chef i know or is bflay as bad as ruhlman’s hair?!?

  • cheesewhiz

    hair schmar…who cares??? (although Rhulman’s is better than Knowlaton’s any day) it’s all about the food. this will come down to Besh and Symon. I am undecided about who to root for- i started out a Besh fan but Symon is really showing creativity and initative. Makes me really look forward to sunday nights! To everyone reading this- if you have family recipes that are treasured by all means make sure that you get them written down. I was too young when my grandparents passed away and have spent a lot of time trying to recreate those dishes that I remember. After numerous tries I think that I finally managed to duplicate my grandfathers potato pancakes tonight! Saved the history!

  • thespian

    misterybus: I know what Alton looks like with hair; they showed a 10-year-old episode of Good Eats last Monday, and I was having problems paying attention to it because I kept marvelling how YOUNG he looked.

  • CalloohCallay

    “Hey, where’s Bourdain these days? Busy changing diapers? Tell that boy to get his priorities straight.

    Posted by: Christie | November 03, 2007 at 07:25 PM”

    Mr. Bourdain seems to be in the midst of a break from the early days of his No Reservations book tour, as posted in comments here by Claudia (bless her heart). So, yeah, he probably IS changing diapers just now, before heading back out on the road(!!!)…but I’m hoping for some commentary after tomorrow night’s NICA.

  • Shelley

    Two comments: First, there must be something wrong — horribly wrong — with me. I watched last Sunday’s episode twice that night. And again Thursday. And it’s on again now. After the exhaustive string of snarky postings a week ago, I guess I keep looking for episode details that I might have missed. That isn’t sane, is it?

    Second, when the new episode airs tomorrow night, I half expect to see Remy the rat make a guest kitchen appearance in the Paris kitchen. He’s got a new DVD to promote, right? I’m just sayin’, Ruhlman…

  • Shelley

    I wish I could edit my posts here. I didn’t mean to say kitchen twice in one sentence. Urgh.

  • Todd

    “sorry, my vote is definitely for donatella’s cleavage in an upset victory”

    There’s nothing upsetting about her cleavage at all.

  • Tags

    If it’s not too late for a write-in campaign

    I vote for Brian Polcyn

    The Wizard of Pig

  • Lisa

    Cleavage…hair…blah, blah, blah. Can we talk a minute about how beautiful all those copper pans are in that Parisian kitchen? Merveilleuse! My ugly American cookware is cowering in the cabinets in shame.

  • Skawt


    Ruhlman’s lip curling and snotty comments are due to his desire to replace Jeffrey Steingarten as the ICA chef that everyone loves to hate. The real test, however, will be to see if he can make Karine Bakhoum and Ted Allen cry on camera.

  • Vanessa

    I love the first photo…I can see the steam, the colors are great…love, love love it.

    Did you notice that the steam curls through the air…just like Ruhlman’s hair!

  • Screen Actors Guild

    We have a membership card ready for pickup in the name of Ruhlman’s Hair. Seems it’s had enough air time to quailfy for SAG membership and health benefits.

  • gfweb

    “is it just me and every chef i know or is bflay as bad as ruhlman’s hair?!?”

    Flay is fine by me, but Cat Cora??? Yucky food, and a weirdly unattractive person (which is odd, because she isn’t a bit ugly). Probably she’s very nice etc etc

  • JoP in Omaha

    Looking forward to tonight’s episode. I just can’t get enough of Symon. I gotta taste his food, so a tip to Cleveland is inevitable.

    Michael, could you please post an updated book tour schedule? I’ve ordered your book, and I can’t wait until it arrives. I’n hoping a Plains states leg has been added to your itinerary.

  • Sara

    On a slightly more serious note — I think I might actually be rooting *against* Besh now. I came home from a party last night (terrible idea to go out, I was in one of those anti-social moods that should have kept me at home, but I tried to go out and be cool and it was a disaster), and turned on the TV before I finished downing a bottle of wine and going to be. I realized I couldn’t find my remote, and spent the next fifteen minutes looking for it while the end of the last episode of NICA played on my TV. They gave the win to Symon, and then told Besh he would “cook another day” (least favorite TV catchphrase, EVER, btw).

    I guess I wasn’t paying attention last time, or something, because this felt like the first time I really heard Besh bitch about not winning. The whole thing about not trying too hard and drizzling everything with olive oil really made my blood boil. It was just such a bratty, sore-loser comment when he had lost to someone who has been (in my view) very admirable and focused on winning and losing based on food. I mean, I really think Symon would be competely at peace with leaving the competition if he was sure that his food was inferior to that cooked by his peers. Besh’s annoyance that Symon’s more “traditional” dishes (although, frankly, Besh’s didn’t really seem that revolutionary to me) beat his — especially after admitting his were “subtly flavored” in a challenge that had specificly asked the chefs to over-season — came off as childish and made me really, really dislike him.

    I’d like to see a Cosentino/Symon finale. I bet they could go offal-to-offal, too… that’d be sweet!

  • Natalie Sztern

    Fiat – u shouldn’t make assumptions based on what anyone writes in Ruhlman’s blog, nor take them seriously…so have i

  • Benny Gunn


    How ’bout coming out to Lolita tonight and answering publicly for your pompous posturing?

  • Frances

    Michelangelo would have painted you with your finger pointing up. Oh, and with sculptor’s hands.

    Looking forward to the show tonight.

  • Kansas City rube

    Best episode yet in my opinion. I’m so excited for the finale.
    Ruhlman, I think I heard that you guys thought there was a clear winner, but I couldn’t really tell from the comments who that might be. Who was it?

  • Francesca

    Well, it is the finish of yet another episode of NIC. I have an observation which I posted on the amateur gourmet blog on Ok, I know what some might think, but it is an observation and if in the end I am right, I will be disappointed with the NIC series. Ok, you know those KIA commercials? If you look back, each chef that did the commercial was eliminated the following week. So, last week it was Cosentino and now, it is official he was eliminated. This week they showed Besh in the commercial and I think that next week he will not win the title. I don’t know, it is just an observation. If it is true then I will be disappointed that this series was not as exciting as it could have been. This has been predictable. Was it meant to be this easy to guess who the next IC will be? I like these reality series but feel that this has been weak. I don’t foresee that there will be another NIC series, well not until another IC decides to leave. Anyway…I guess we will see next week.

    As for this weeks episode I thought the judges were great. Ruhlman actually has a nice smile. I saw more of it in this episode then any others. What can I say, you are growing on me.

  • Kali


    Your observation about the Kia commercial makes perfect sens and fits in with what we’ve heard elsewhere.

    Very smart! (Of you, that is. Not of FN–but no surprises there. It’s been obvious for years that they think their audience isn’t very bright).

    A pretty good ep overall, although I still can’t wait to see Besh and Symon unleashed to COOK THEIR BEST menus, unfettered by any and all gimmicks.

  • Shelley

    Wait, Francesca — didn’t they have Symon in a Kia commercial tonight, too?

  • Frances

    Oh. My. Gosh. I have never been so nervous over a TV show. I was so wound up by the time it was over that I was up doing Iron Laundry afterwards. Sorting. Folding. With razor sharp precision. I hardly do any housework in the daytime let alone at night. Sitting here now, I can even imagine commentary. “What’s that she’s doing there?” “Well she appears to be pretreating a shirt collar.” “I dunno. That’s pretty risky. And I don’t think Fran’s ever attempted that before. We’ll see if she can pull it off…”

  • LosGatosGirl

    The idea of strawberry shortcake made with watermelon sorbet really did not appeal. I wish Cosentino had gone one, but sadly, I didn’t get to taste the wonderful meals.

  • Victoria

    It was interesting to hear the guests widely varied opinions on the dishes and what they loved and they hated (or at least what that one guy hated. About everything Symon put out). But from what we saw at the judge’s table, it didn’t seem like the comments from the other guests had a lot of play, especially with the dislike of the “Iron Chef-y-ness” of the drunken melon dish. It’s a simple and common thing here in the states, but it seemed like a few of the French folks were impressed at the idea and how well it worked. What’s “not Iron Chef” about simply presenting some high quality ingredients?

  • stuckiniowa

    Ruhlman – what was on the back of Symon’s black “peace sign” shirt? Food Network blurred it out in the opening.

  • Annie

    Michael, what does a cock’s comb taste like? I’ve always wanted to know. And what do you think M. Terrail, the gentleman on your left, was using to hold his hair in place? it was a little scary, and made yours look even better by comparison. Also, were the other ladies as decollete as Donatella, or was it a purely American thing?

  • Meredith

    About the Kia commercial observation….

    There was a Symon commercial for sure, if there was a Besh one I missed it. If they did one for both, maybe it’s so we’ll wonder…

  • Meredith

    About the Kia commercial observation….

    There was a Symon commercial for sure, if there was a Besh one I missed it. If they did one for both, maybe it’s so we’ll wonder…

  • James

    Best episode yet! Loved seeing more judging discussion, including with the guests at dinner. Can’t wait for the final!

  • DCchef

    I’m fairly confused, exactly how did Cosentino lose again? I’ve seen Bobby Flay throw out the most repetitive dishes, with practically zero differentiation between ingredients save the secret ingredient itself. Yet Knowlton somehow decided that a good, if not great judging by some of the comments, fruit dessert was not “Iron Chef Material.” The Lobster roll, the Philly Cheese steak, great ways to elevate american street food, and what judge doesn’t immediately start raving when an Iron Chef (often Cora) does a street-food-esque dish?

    I’m probably just venting, but first Morou, then Cosentino, I’m crushed.

  • JMW

    I feel bad for Cosentino; from what I saw it looks like he got the “after carefully considering your resume …” line.

    But it did seem pretty obvious that the “fruit soaked in liquor” approach wasn’t going to work in that venue. That seemed his undoing to me.

    Chef Besh seems amazingly technical and precise. Putting him next to Symon and Cosentino was like pitting a chief neurosurgeon against the residents. Was there anyone of his caliber on the show from the start? Maybe Traci des Jardins was as precise, but not nearly so creative.

  • Shelley

    Thanks for the post-show update, Ruhlman. I was wondering about those silly platters myself. What was the point? Did they have to explain them to the diners? What little we saw, it looked like they were mini-pantry tables in Kitchen Stadium.

  • sailorgrrl07

    Getting the sartorial comments out of the way:
    1. Ruhlman and Knowlton: thanks for dressing like grownups.
    2. Donatella: why hold back, next time I’d just go ahead and break out the number that Barbra wore in The Owl and the Pussycat, with the big white hands cupping the breasts 😉 I’m sorry, but that dress just screamed “SCREW THIS, LOOK AT *ME*”!!!
    3. Alton! I’m sorry to see that Lufthansa evidently mixed up your luggage with a fifth grade teacher from Burbank—all brown with a purple tie? Huh??!? I love you, don’t let this happen again!

    It felt like there was too much time spent on the shopping and (as usual) not enough time really seeing these guys cook. I didn’t really get a feel for the interaction with the sous(es?) either, considering this was so much about leadership.

    Besh is clearly got this thing in the bag. All his stuff was gorgeous….regrettably, that sausage thing Symon did looked like hell. And ICA is about photogenic, and complexity, as well as taste. It’s kind of funny that the points system (plating, originality and so on) that they use in ICA haven’t been seen recently, considering we are so close to the end and chefs are being sent home…

    At least I learned what Burrata is 🙂

    We will miss you Chef C.


  • pnwfilmgeek

    Victoria: “But from what we saw at the judge’s table, it didn’t seem like the comments from the other guests had a lot of play”

    The way it looked to me, the consistent response from the guests was that their response was inconsistent. We heard from our judges, more than once, that the diners in their vicinity were fairly divided on their preference for the various courses. One thought the BLT riff was delicious; another thought it was misconceived. One thought the meat loaf was phenomenal; another thought it was mush. I find it difficult to believe that these professionals would have produced plates that varied so much in quality of presentation, so you have to chalk it up to personal preference. At the end of the day, other than the drunken fruit salad that seemed to get the same listless shrug from everybody, the apparent lack of consensus from the guests seems to suggest the judges were pretty much left to their own determination.

    Oh, and Mr. Ruhlman, your new book looks spectacular. Amazon Ho!

  • realitybites

    That dining room is gorgeous. Though I’m sure that Cosentino’s melon ball dessert tasted great, it looked a bit out of place in the posh surroundings. But he was being true to his style.

    I think Symon’s lobster hot dog looked delicious–once plated.

  • thespian

    my end conclusion: this show has made me want to go to SF and Cleveland and eat Cosentino and Symon meals.

    I really haven’t the slightest interest in Besh’s cooking. I’m certain it’s good, excellently executed, etc. But none of it is grabbing me and making me think, “*this* is an Iron Chef.” There’s no intrigue to it for me.

    Uhm, and having spent a good bit of my life in the south, if anyone ever gives me a coxcomb and ravioli and tells me it’s chicken and dumplings, I will throw my spoon at them. It may well have been tasty, but he’s so freaking lucky he had ex-pats and french citizens at the table.

  • doodad

    I thought last night was great. And there was a Symon KIA ad. Did not see a Besh one, but they were driving me crazy after the 30th one.

    I fell out laughing at the lobster roll spat. “Do you know what you are talking about, have you ever had a proper lobster roll?” LOL

  • JoP in Omaha

    Great episode, but again, I wished it were 90 minutes. I loved watching them shop and pick ingredients. More cooking would have been welcome. And, the displays…we never got to peruse them slowly with a clear identification of whose was whose. Nor did the displays receive comment in the judging we saw. The chefs were required to do them; I think the viewers deserved a wrap-up of that part of the task.

    Were the sous chefs of fairly equal skill level? Did that factor in the results? It didn’t seem to because there were no comments from the chefs about the sous letting them down, but this was another aspect of the competition that production dropped the ball on.

    It was interesting indeed to see the diners’ reactions to the dishes. Especially to Symon’s float and Donatella’s comment that diners near her initially didn’t know what to make of it, but in the end came around to thinking it was pretty good.

    Now, the match I’ve been hoping for: Symon and Besh head to head. But I fear I’m going to have an issue with the outcome. I REALLY want Symon to win this. His passion shows clearly on screen; Besh is no doubt equally as passionate; he couldn’t be operating 4 (I think) restaurants without passion, but he doesn’t let his passion show. Symon makes me want to get in the kitchen and try new things (like the lobster hot dog–could I do that? I want to try); Besh doesn’t do that for me. I want to be Symon-ized on a regular basis, and I’m gonna be downright hostile if he’s booted.

    Symon, I want you to blow Besh’s socks off. Go get ‘im.

  • Frances

    I was giving my husband a recap of the show, telling him about Cosentino’s dessert, and how it was enjoyable, but deemed “UnIronCheffish.” I told him, “You know, this is The Iron Chef. You can’t win by just making meat and potatoes…well, actually you can!”

  • monee

    It should be interesting to see how all of this plays out. As a Clevelander, I am so rooting for Symon to take this. Both Besh and Symon are so philosophically different… It seems to me that Symon has been a narrator of sorts throughout the series. Is this because of his personality or is he getting a blatant winner’s edit? As I said, should be very interesting…

  • Harlock JDS

    I remember thinking about the Kia ads showing who would be out in the next ep (i noticed it a few eps ago) but the only one i saw was the Symon one… Did Besh have one too?

  • Maggie

    I keep telling myself…”this is television, this is television.” So why the heck am I investing so much emotion in a TV cooking show? I hated to see Chris go. He is a superb chef who is very creative and his talent is obvious. But Symon has those soulful, and very expressive, “BAMBI eyes.” He wants to win, and the expressions on his face and in his eyes are very readable to the TV viewer. He has this sort of “soul” and warmth that just comes out from the TV screen. His natural cooking talent combined with his engaging on screen persona has me rooting for him. But I admire Besh, too…his calm, disciplined style has provided much contrast. I want BOTH of them to be Iron Chefs…waaa!!

  • spork

    Whomever is in charge of the promos at food network should be shot…revealing the secret ingredient in the teaser already. Like, somehow, we won’t watch it because we don’t know what the secret ingredient is! The weekly Iron Chef America has really descended into general suckage, I’ll be sorry when Next Iron Chef is done because it’s been much more interesting.

  • artnlit

    One of the best episodes by far. I enjoyed ALL of it, which I can’t really say about previous ones. Perhaps the addition of other voices regarding the reviews helped, if only to make the judges truly consider each dish a bit more thoroughly. (BTW, despite his mini-rant about lobster rolls, which he was correct about, the prize for pompous d-head goes to the fellow sitting by Ruhlman insisting that caviar cannot go with bacon. He missed the point totally.) Ruhlman, your comments were right on this episode and you came across well (no multiple cringing face shots this time!) I look forward to next week. I’ve been pulling for Besh most weeks, but must admit that Symon has truly impressed me the past two – so much so that he too would deserve to win the big prize.

  • Ruby

    Agreed – Best episode! Love Besh’s food but, being from Cleveland, definately pulling for Symon. Come on Ski King! BTW… Anyone really planning on visiting Cleveland for Symon’s food – he has donated a private, 3 course cooking class for 10 to a local charity. Great opportunity and a great cause. Currently listed on E-Bay: Cooking Lesson For 10 With Michael Symon NIC Finalist. Check it out!

  • Tags

    If the secret ingredient is walleye – Symon wins.

    If the secret ingredient is catfish – Besh wins.

    I think Besh is going to win because the NY Times article shows the FN PR machine tipping their hand.

    I also think the Browns are going to win the uper-Say owl-Bay after seeing the way they moved the ball against the Pats in that first drive against them. They have a long time to get over being spooked by that INT in the end zone. And beating the Steelers in Pittsburgh will be sweet revenge.

  • Suzette

    AK’s comment to Donatella about the lobster roll just confirmed my suspicion that he is a jerk and a twit. You can claim “editing!” all you like, Mr. Ruhlman, but they didn’t edit IN his contemptuous tone or attitude. Feh on Breck Boy, I say!

    I’ve been rooting for Symon all along. Not only is he a great chef, he’s got the personality to match. He’s perfect for television. That laugh is so infectious, I love it!

  • FoodPuta

    It was nice to see Donatella bring the whiney bitch out of AK this episode. Shows that the judging has depth.

    I actually really enjoyed this episode. It was really about “Food”.

    Sorry for Cosentino, I thought his dishes look wonderful.

  • Kansas City rube

    I thought I saw a huge swordfish in the previews. Should be an interesting finale.

    It seems to me that most chefs are almost always pretty positive when reviewing each other’s food. I was surprised to Andre Terrail being so snooty and critical, even by French standards–especially since the word on the street is that La Tour d’Argent has really suffered under his management. Was he really that negative or was it the editing?

  • Sara

    I definitly thought I saw swordfish, too.

    This was a fabulous episode. My friend was coming over to watch the new Treehouse of Horror XVIII (Simpsons forever! And, thanks DVR!!!), and walked in just as the chefs had started shopping. I couldn’t help telling him, “You want to see someting amazing? These are three high-end chefs shopping for ingrediants in Paris.” We were transfixed.

    I’m all Symon, all the way. Honestly, I would not want to watch Besh compete in Kitchen Stadium. I feel the same lukewarm, mostly-contemptuous feelings toward him that I feel toward Flay and Cora (though my annoyance with Flay has been tempered by watching normal people whoop him on Throwdown). He seems so superior, so full of himself– bah! Give me Symon, in his badass black shirt, any day.

  • Francesca

    I didn’t know that Symon had a commercial also….so, let’s look at that….I guess the order of the commercials as to who’s commercial was seen first will determine who wins? Hmmm….well, let’s see, I am thinking that Symon’s was first and then Besh. Well, then Besh will win. Kia gave it away.

    As for Cosentino, I actually teared up for him and Morou. I liked both of them. I was so hoping that there would be a twist that was unexpected, like Cosentino going home.

    You know when you think about it….is Iron Chef really the pinnacle of a Chef’s career? Is it the final say in what determines a great Chef? I look at the other Chefs who didn’t make it. I look particulary at Chef Morou who was let go cause he didn’t change his art for the judges. So, look at Besh and Symon…yes, they are diversified but does that mean that there food is better than the other Chefs? I can’t say that I am impressed with what Chef Besh has put out…but that is only my personal preferences and in no way reflects on his skills. I look at what Symon has made and would be more than willing to try his food one day. So, my point is that just because the other Chefs were sent home does not indicate that they are not good at their craft. It is all based on opinion, the judges taste. I know that the Chefs that have gone home have had fantastic exposure. I don’t need a judge to tel me if something is good or not. As far as Cosentino was going with his dessert, well, I am Italian and what he made was a traditional Italian American dessert. My parents used to do the same with the fruit and grappa. So, his dessert wasn’t loaded with fat…was that what it should have been? Like I said it is just based on your own taste. I would have loved to try that dessert…..grappa has such a good flavor. My father uses a dab in his espresso every now and then. Some good stuff there and with a little bit of honey…well, it sounded tasty to me. It showed the diversity of America. Is there just one true American dish that has not been inspired by Europe? I thought he did a good job.

    Well, now I don’t know who is going to win based on the Kia commercial, lol. We shall see next week. I am in the process of moving and hope my cable will be on that night. I am so anxious to see who it will be. Have a good week to all of you. Ciao!

  • Francois

    With the Chairman having so little dialogue, couldn’t some FN genius have clued him in to the correct pronunciation of the “bonne” in “bonne chance”? Then he got everyone else pronouncing it wrong, too.

    Sacre bleu!

  • Claudia

    OK, so Knowlton’s gone flowing locks-to-flowing locks with both of his fellow judges already – does next week’s finale have the added bonus of an Alton/Knowlton smackdown? Will Knowlton have Besh cryin’ into his jambalaya? Seems we were promised that . . .

    And let’s hear it for Donatella aiming her big Italian bazookas at the condescending Knowlton and vaporizing him. Does she KNOW what a lobster roll tastes like? Has she ever had one -“in Maine”? Oh, c’mon, Michael, admit it – Knowlton is due for a whupping. Or should I say a “whupstitchin'”?

  • Lisa

    Donatella and Knowlton? Quelle scandale! Just how much grappa was in those melons? Cosentino’s melons, I mean. Dangerous stuff, that likker–stay away, kids, or you might do something really stoo-oopid that will end up on somebody’s blog…

    Really, Michael? Donatella and Da Brat?

  • French Laundry at Home

    If ever there was an ad for how much fun it is to food-shop in Paris, this was it. I spent all the commercial breaks researching flights to France for the spring because I think it’s time for a trip! Freedom fries be damned! Vive le Besh-Symon finale!

  • JoP in Omaha

    Symon’s eBay auction: oh, man. What a cool thing for him to do and oh, man, how I wish I could bid. Maybe today’s the day I’ll go buy a lottery ticket.

  • chicoca

    Forget Iron Chef altogether…come up with a show that includes Besh, Symon and Sanchez working together. These guys are fun to watch. (Sorry, but Cosentino whining in the van about being faster on a bicycle, etc. just confirmed for me that his behavior in airplane challenge was not unusual, but rather his nasty self.)

  • annarbor

    Knowlton needs to be knocked all the way to Maine. I’ve never seen such a sniveling little pischer in my life. I’m certain he would eat all of that lobster roll before you’d catch him in the sack with Donatella.

    Does anyone know the names of the markets the chefs frequented last night? I was trying to read the names, and missed them. Haven’t been able to find them online today.

  • Darclyte

    Well, I guess there’s no real surprise that it’s Besh versus Symon for the finalé. I think Besh and the way he thinks, cooks, and presents is a better fit to ICA, but Symon may pull it out with his flavor profiles. As for the Iron Hair America, Ruhlman defeats Knowlton, but Donatella’s breasticles take them both out to win it all.

  • sailorgrrl07

    “Uhm, and having spent a good bit of my life in the south, if anyone ever gives me a coxcomb and ravioli and tells me it’s chicken and dumplings, I will throw my spoon at them.”

    Ha ha…thanks thespian this reminds me: how did the non-consomme become such an issue last time, yet this non-dumpling didn’t get the same treatment!?

  • Lisa

    Breasticles! I love it! Do you have a patent on that term, Darclyte, or should we feel free to, ahem, milk it for all it’s worth?

  • rockandroller

    I agree with the PP, why was Besh’s “consomme” called out but not his pasta “dumpling?”

  • Sara

    “I agree with the PP, why was Besh’s “consomme” called out but not his pasta “dumpling?” ”

    Didn’t Alton call it out? They called on him for his expertise as a Southern boy, and if I remember correctly he quite instantly said “That was pasta.” No bones about it. They just seemed to.. not care.

    Ruhlman, did we get cheated out of a pasta/dumpling debate?

  • rmw

    unfortunatly there are these long nasty pasta out there that try to be good ‘ole southern dumplings. You can find them in the frozen section and now I saw them in the pasta section the other day….what a shame..

  • chefwannab

    Thanks for the update, Michael. I enjoyed this episode but really thought the editors cut short the deliberation to determine who was going home. I didn’t really understand WHY Cosentino was eliminated, especially after everyone seemed to like his Philly cheesesteak and obviously Knowlton was in love with his lobster roll so much. Also I had no idea that Besh’s chicken and dumplings were the favorite dish of the night – it was hardly mentioned!

    I am relieved to see that the finale will be a true Iron Chef competition, which is what I wish we’d had all along. I’ve grown tired of the airplane, outdoor barbecue, MG, et al gimmicks and wish we could have seen all the competitors cooking more their style of food under fairly normal Kitchen Stadium conditions and time pressure. Nice leak of the secret ingredient by FN, though. They deserve a slap. And Knowlton too. Seriously, a dubiously qualified food editor takes on a successful restaurateur and accuses her of not knowing what she’s talking about? What a brat!

  • The Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons

    I’ve watched this episode 273 times since last night. I can say with authority that the KIA ads are a red herring and do not forshadow the final outcome. However, 48.75 minutes into the episode, for a split second the blueberries being scattered on the display by Chef Symon spell “I WIN” for a split second.