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'The Next Iron Chef': Whoa! That was fast

The hometown kid, chef Eric Greenspan, had barely stepped into Iron Kitchen Lite before he was bounced.

Felled by the grasshoppers.

The chef-owner of the Foundry on Melrose was among 10 of the country's best and brightest, summonsed by the Chairman to compete to become the next Iron Chef alongside the likes of masters Bobby Flay and Cat Cora. The elimination was a brutal one: Chefs each were assigned a food item -- some might call these item edible delicacies, while others would try not to wretch looking at them. We're talking jelly fish, stinky tofu, sea cucumbers, and, perhaps worst of all, unlaid eggs still attached to their fallopian tubes. Or maybe they were attached to intestines. There was debate about that.

Chef Greenspan, 34, earned himself dried grasshoppers. He prepared them two ways. One was an elegantly presented salad that included cojita cheese, avocados, almonds and yucca cream, and the other was a grasshopper gremolata with a pork cutlet milanese.  

In the end, the judges determined that Greenspan merely used the grasshoppers as accents. Said one: "He really didn't try to transform the grasshoppers and also really didn't try to engage the ingredient in any meaningful way." Worse, though, was Greenspan's pork. One judge said it was "almost inedible."

And then Alton Brown intoned: "Chef Greenspan, you will not be 'The Next Iron Chef.' I'm sorry."

Greenspan was clearly disappointed. "I can't believe that it's going down like this," he said. "I haven't had a chance to do what I do. ... I kinda felt like it ended before it even started."

-- Rene Lynch

Photo: Alton Brown, left, and chef Eric Greenspan. Credit: Food Network

Comments () | Archives (12)

ewww the ingredients are not very good but he is the best

it was "cotija," not "cojita" cheese...

sad to see him go, he seemed cool and funny.

I feel that there were many Chef's that did not perform above and beyond for Iron Chef status. There seemed to be many other dishes that were in one way or another not cooked to the Judges liking. However, Chef Greenspan was the one to go. He I feel was unfairly eliminated.

Well, that stunk, but the judges had him dead to rights. Sadly, he struggled all the way through.

I'm sorry, but please explain why ten talented chefs would put up with Alton Brown condescending attitude and don't even get started on the judges petty reviews.

"Chefs each were assigned a food item -- some might call these item edible delicacies, while others would try not to wretch looking at them."

I'm too resigned to point out other grammatical problems of the above sentence. Perhaps a task for a Times blogger/Twitterer/Facebooker/Redditer, etc.?

This show has neither the charm nor the interesting setup of the original show. Alton Brown is about the only thing that kept me actually watching it. They say derivatives are never as good as the original and wow is that ever true. Spend some time with the chairman and learn how to do it right.

An Iron chef must make the secret ingredient the main part of the dish. Chef Greenspan failed in that regard. Also, his pork wasn't prepared well (at least according to one judge), so he messed up there as well. Serves him right for choosing pork just after honoring his Jewish family heritage with matza ball soup.

Honmono - I don't agree with you. NIC is a very entertaining interpretation of the original Japanese Iron Chef on which it is based. It’s more entertaining than top chef because contestants have to literally fight with each other for space. My favorite contestant so far has been Chef Jehangir Mehta and my least favourite one has been Chef Nate Appleman. One is an artist and the other is well… a butcher. Why does Chef Nate Appleman need to add meat to everything? In the second episode he had to add meat to the very vegetarian ‘ratatouille’. The judges thought it was very daring but I thought it was so predictable of him.

I love the show. I watched the Moremoto vs- Anthony challenge and felt that the Iron chef Moremoto was not given the points he clearly deserved. The challenger served tiny safe items and the iron chef presented larger meal size meals with wonderful presentation. It was sad to see the judges not recognise this nor his innovativness. IRON CHEF MOREMOTO RULES!(sorry im spelling it incorrect.)

I think the chef that stole the grape leaves and put the other chef at risk was totallly wrong. It might be a competition but poor sportsmanship should not be forgotten. He has shown me he dose noty desirve the title of an Iron Chef. An Iron Chef has respect (which he lacks).

I was sad to see Greenspan go. He had a sense of humor and his expressions were theatrically comical. But he may not have been the best cook on the show. His matzah balls preparation in the first test didn't turn out the way they were supposed to and in the second test Jeffery Steingarten thought his pork was 'inedible'. Maybe he was just unlucky but I think the odds were equally against some of the other chefs, yet they sailed through with flying colours. Consider Jehangir Mehta's Duck Tongue or Nate Appleman's unlaid eggs. Chef Mehta is a pastry chef by specialization but his prepapration of Duck Tongue placed him amongst the top three contestants on the show. Chef Appleman is a pizza chef yet his preparation wowed the judges as well.
Being creative under pressure is kind of the whole point of the show.


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