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'Next Iron Chef' recap: And then there were four

Caswell What's more shocking? That the linebacker/ballerina got the boot? Or that chef Marco Canora is still standing?

No offense to Canora, but he seemed to struggle early on, and I wouldn't have predicted that he'd be in the final four. Conversely, the imposing chef Bryan Caswell seemed to be wowing the judges, leading to one of the more memorable lines of the season: Caswell looks like a linebacker and cooks like a ballerina.

But fortunes change, as they often do in the quest to become the next Iron Chef. Canora is coming on stronger and stronger each week. Sometimes, it's not necessarily for his food, but for his execution, as it was this week. And that deadline execution is crucial: A chef at a restaurant can fiddle with and perfect a dish before it's ready for prime time. An Iron Chef does not have such a luxury. All things being equal, execution could make the difference between winning and losing. And that is where Canora is whipping the competition.

Conversely, Caswell stopped wowing everyone and kept sliding to the middle of the pack. That led to his elimination this week when the cheftestants arrived in Las Vegas to find that their challenge would be to elevate the much-maligned buffet into something Iron Chef-worthy. I thought Caswell's plates looked fab -- I'd definitely chow down at that buffet -- but the judges were underwhelmed. Caswell was supposed to have company for his ride out of Sin City -- host Alton Brown had warned everyone it would be a double-elimination week -- but in the end the judges reached a three-way tie after handing victory to Canora.

A.B. decided that all four -- Canora, Marc Forgione, Ming Tsai and Celina Tio -- would move on. But that two would definitely, absolutely, positively go home next week.

Who do you predict will be the last two standing? And, gulp, will Tsai be one of them?

-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: Bryan Caswell. Credit: Food Network

Comments () | Archives (11)

Too bad for Houston. Unfortunately I could NOT watch it because the Foodnetwork is trying to shake down Uverse for more money. Therefore At&T cut them off the air. (As well as the Cooking Channel)!!!

I sure hope that Chef Tsai is in the finals. The regular Iron Chef competition, as of late, is not nearly as gooad as the origianl show. I've never been a fan of adding Symon to the mix. And, with Garces as the latest addition, it's really grown boring for me.
I would start watching again with Chef Tsai, though.

I liked Caswell, but oh well ! I too think that both Symon and Garces are boring and I dont wanna watch IC when they are on and being challenged.
I think last years runner-up of NIC, Chef Mehta would have brought a fresh perspective to IC and this year Chef Tsai will do that if he survives to cook...competition is getting really tough and though Canora is a cry baby, he serves food with the volume turned all the way up and is the one to watch out for.
Symon isn't even a very good judge for NIC, Donnatella has a problem with chilly/spicy food -- take her out...bring Jeffrey Steingarten back, I say.

how could judges be that personal, so what do we have here, a Bri who does not likes pineapple with protein, an Italian gal who lost her spicy bud and Symon Symon says.... It's no surprise if they driving IC to it's grave. No wonder Garces was picked last year instead of Metha. What a lousy investment , a year later, nothing happened with Garces. The way editing goes , I'm not surprise if Ming Tsai is next to leave... they just want to keep Canora as Batali Italian IC replacement . a definite sham.

I think all three judges are going for Italian foods. It's so lousy! They need to improve the judging system, not only based on their personal taste. Everything Canora, every show Canora! So boring! It looks like the verdict has already been made from the beginning!

I'd like to see Chef Tio and either Chef Tsai or Chef Forgione go to the finals.

Yeah, what's the deal with pineapple...get over it Simon.
True, Canora has that Mario Batali thing going on...hairdo, beard et al.
Tsai and Forgione will be a good final...distinct styles of cooking, both kinda daring and both low on the complaining.
Well, let's see who triumphs...it will be clear in a couple weeks.

I have NO idea why Ming Tsai is competing this season. IMO, he should have been an Iron Chef LONG AGO! He is such a good technician and such a good communicator -- great fun to watch his shows on CREATE.

If he doesn't win, there is something seriously wrong with this show. There might be anyway! Just kidding -- I do like the show!

I'd like Forgione vs Tsai battle. They're both calm, cool, and collected.

I'd thought that Caswell would be in the final with Tsai; now I think it'll be Canora and Tsai. I look at it two ways: Canora could be replacing Batali or Tsai could be replacing Morimoto IF Morimoto leaves because he's building his own restaurant empire. I'm already bored with Garces and Cora, never watch Morimoto, like Symon but will only watch dependent upon the secret ingredient; usually like Flay. The mistake FN made was in not giving a slot to John Besh, who really won season one according to 2 of the judges. Besh would bring in the female audience because he's a cutie and he has a great culinary viewpoint. FN should give him his own show - A Culinary Tour of New Orleans. I think that would be a hit and would bring much needed tourism dollars to the area. He already has a restaurant empire going down there.


Ming Tsai shouldn't have even had to compete.

Nobody wants to battle a "no-name" chef and I don't want to watch them. I never watch Simon or Garces battle.

Ming Tsai is an established personality and he would be perfect in this platform. He should be the next Iron Chef!

I'm not even going to watch the finals.


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