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

October 4, 2009 |  8:55 pm

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