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

November 8, 2010 | 10:13 am

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