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'The Next Iron Chef': Back away from the ice cream machine!

October 26, 2009 | 12:58 pm

Chef Is Chef Jehangir Mehta insane? Or insanely determined? He swears he won't use the seemingly faulty ice cream machine again, but he calls it quits on a high note: It helped him win this week's challenge, to transform tamarind into both sweet and savory dishes, and employ a Mexican flair. The competitors did their shopping at Grand Central Market in downtown L.A.

Mehta juuuuuust managed to edge out Nate Appleman, who yet again takes this public platform ... to make himself look like a bit of a jerk. What is it with that guy? Does he just want people to dislike him? He admitted concocting more stuff just to endear himself to the judges -- "I'm just trying to say anything I think they want to hear ... they didn't catch me." Of the departing Chef Dominique Crenn, with whom he'd shared part of a work station, Appleman gloated: "I'm so happy I'm going to have the whole station to myself."

Crenn did herself in by making an under-flavored and under-salted entree, and a raw churro. That sent her to the bottom with Chef Amanda Freitag, whose served up tasteless, mealy shrimp and a tamarind eclair. Luckily for Freitag, the judges declared the eclair to be "better than most eclairs on planet Earth," which meant that Freitag lives to cook another day while Crenn was sent packing.

That eclair added insult to injury for the French chef, who seemed shocked that Freitag would even consider making an eclair in a challenge that was supposed to invoke Mexico: "I cannot believe the 'Mexican eclair' beat me. Being French, it's like a punch in the face."

I would like to hand out two special merit badges to Chef Seamus Mullens: He has not one, but two innovative uses for newspapers: One, to wrap freshly roasted poblanos, to help in the skin-removing process. And two, as a serving tray. I find that to be a great use of newspaper -- after you've read it, of course.

-- Rene Lynch 

Photo credit: Food Network